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06 May 2020
In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families living within and along the buffer zone of the Maputo Special Reserve (MSR) and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve (PPMR) struggle with food shortages due to restrictions that prevent them from carrying out their normal subsistence activities. These families rely on the sale of their agriculture yields, honey and fishery products in the City of Maputo and on the sale of handicrafts to tourists who visit the reserves.
In response to this, the Community Association for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Ahi Zamene Chemucane (AZC), through its own funds, distributed 8 tons of food to support 144 families in the communities of Tsolombane, Muvukuza and Mabuluku in the Matutuíne District, Maputo Province.
AZC is a community association that was formed in 2009 to promote the interests of conservation and sustainable development of communities, having received an 809-hectare concession at Ponta Chemucane, within Maputo Special Reserve, from the Government of Mozambique for the development of community-led ecotourism initiatives. This landmark agreement marked the first time that a Mozambican community received long-term concession rights to a prime tourism site in a major nature reserve.
In 2010, AZC signed a partnership agreement with the Bell Foundation, becoming a co-owner of the Anvil Bay tourism project, which was financed by the World Bank and the Ford Foundation. Peace Parks Foundation assisted the communities with the creation of a community legal entity and with the tender process for the ecotourist lodge development. The community benefits from the lodge through dividends paid to AZC to address crucial needs. The lodge also provides full-time jobs and opportunities for professional industry training, whilst the tourists staying there help spur local growth in an area that traditionally has had few opportunities for formal employment.
The food distribution initiative relied on logistical support from the Maputo Special and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine reserves to transport the food from Maputo to the beneficiaries’ homes. The reserve management has been supporting the AZC throughout with organizational development and promotion of good governance mechanisms. A training action sponsored by Peace Parks was also recently carried out to assist AZC in promoting the engagement of members and the organization of Assemblies, as well as to train of members in matters of financial management, list of accounts, leadership and transparency in the use of resources.
MSR and PPMR are managed by the National Administration for Conservation Areas in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation that provides technical and financial support for the development of conservation and tourism development activities in this vital component of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area.
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