Lubombo Community Development

In 2005 the Mozambican government appointed Peace Parks Foundation to provide assistance with a community development strategy that would bring about the sustainable economic development of communities living in and around Maputo Special Reserve and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve in the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area through nature-based tourism and conservation enterprises.

We currently execute this responsibility through two specific collaborative endeavours – the Community Development Facility and the Mozbio Project.

Community Development Facility

In 2013 the Community Development Facility (CDF) was launched as a joint initiative between the government of Mozambique, COmON Foundation and Peace Parks Foundation. The CDF enables both foundations to capacitate and develop the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area.

Mozbio

In 2015, Peace Parks in partnership with the Joaquim Chissano Foundation won the World Bank’s Mozambique Conservation Areas for Biodiversity and Development Project (Mozbio) bid as service provider to support the development of projects to enhance the livelihoods of communities living adjacent to Maputo Special Reserve and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve.

Funding from the CDF and Mozbio goes towards developing key aspects of the Mozambique components of the Lubombo TFCA, as well as creating opportunities; conducting training; building capacity; improving livelihoods and ensuring sustainable natural resource use for poor, vulnerable communities living within and around this protected area.

This is being achieved through various projects, which include reserve revenue distribution, reproductive health, alternative livelihood, as well as education and awareness projects.

FULLSCREEN

OUR WORK

Water

One of the first projects to be completed was the provision of fresh drinking water to ten communities, providing water to 3 375 people and their cattle, through boreholes. Pumps linked to solar panels are used to pump the water. To manage the water-supply project, a water management committee was established for every borehole.  These water committees have been created and capacitated for the operation and maintenance of constructed water points, which includes multifunctional solar panel borehole systems for agriculture, human and cattle use, and five hand-pump boreholes. Agriculture activities linked to the boreholes advance the production of food resources that provide security and generate incomes.

Conservation agriculture

The introduction of conservation agriculture projects in the buffer zone of the reserve has resulted in a 99% increase in awareness of biodiversity conservation and sustainable conservation-friendly farming techniques. Community farmers received training on how to improve yields (in poor soil conditions) by teaching them how to make their own compost and how to retain water in the soil. They are given additional space under shade netting set aside to nurture a variety of seedlings, and are trained in pests affecting crops and which pesticides to use.  These techniques greatly contributed to food security as agricultural production has increased by 70%. These schemes have almost 200 members, supporting nearly 1 000 people.

Chili farming

Farmers involved in commercial chili farming have greatly benefitted from this initiative. Within the Tchia community, 33 families with 165 beneficiaries are involved in an irrigation scheme; and in Matchia, 19 families with 95 beneficiaries participate. Through technical assistance from Piri-Piri Elephant Mozambique, farmers paticipating in the chili project were trained in good practices for soil management, seed bed preparation and management, planting, fertiliser application, disease control and post-harvest quality control. A second seedling nursery was established and the chili project was extended from three to seven hectares. An agricultural extension officer, with experience in chilli production, was appointed and a better price was negotiated for the harvest. Crop rotation between chillies and potatoes was also started, to provide communities with a year-long harvest, while ensuring food security and the sale of surplus crops.

Many of the chilli farmers now have bank accounts, brick houses, are able to send their children to school and even provide employment to other community members.

Beekeeping

Three villages and a total of 64 families are involved in a beekeeping project that see them manage honey production from 270 beehives. All the members members trained in production techniques. To assist with project implementation and monitoring, Peace Parks Foundation partnered with SEPPA, a local Mozambican non-profit organisation, who conducts site visits twice a month and assists with bringing the honey to market. To further promote community engagement and communication, community members who have proven their commitment and interest in the project have been appointed as beekeeping activists and team leaders. These activists now provide technical support, motivation and leadership to other beekeepers. They serve as a liaison between SEPPA and the beekeepers, and actively monitor honey production per community.

Family planning

In recognising the link between unmet family planning needs, food security and environmental degradation a reproductive health programme was launched in 2106 through a partnership with AMODEFA, a Mozambican-based non-profit organisation that specialises in community health projects. Seventeen communities around Maputo Special Reserve now have access to family planning and community health workers, known as activistas, visit thousands of households informing both men and women about the importance of family planning.

Sustainable fishing

A six-year sustainable fishing project commenced in 2015 when it was estimated that at least 70% of the population living along the coastline of the marine reserve was relying heavily on an exhaustible fish resource. The initial phase of the project was grounded in research, ensuring the development of informed plans and strategies upon which project interventions were built.

Livelihood interventions include cold storage provision that enables individuals to store their catch to sell more and higher quality fish; tilapia farming which provides an ideal low-impact, high-yield alternative to fishing; and vocational training which is the main driver to break the cycle of poverty.

A Fishing Management Programme was put in place to ensure sustainable fishing practices. It was decided that fishermen have to register with the Fishing Community Council and obtain a fishing license. In consultation with community fishermen, a Fishing Community Council was established and monitors appointed. The monitors were trained and tasked with collecting data on fishing practices to guide the further development of the programme.

Community lodge

Anvil Bay is a private and exclusive barefoot beach camp on a rare untouched stretch of coastal wilderness in Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve. The resort is owned by the local community and operated by the Bell Foundation – a trust established for the community’s benefit. This is the outcome of the Mozambique government’s landmark decision to grant the Chemucane community an ecotourism concession in the Maputo Special Reserve. Anvil Bay beach camp has already created benefits for the community in terms of skills transfer, construction and hospitality jobs, and the purchase of local materials, produce and services. In an area with little previous economic opportunity, a sustainable enterprise now exists. The lodge employs 31 workers, 29 of whom are from local communities. The bar, restaurant, housekeeping and logistics are managed by local community members who received their training at the SA College for Tourism thanks to funding from the CoMoN Foundation.

Created with the smallest possible footprint to preserve the wilderness and special sense of place, the eleven accommodation units are nestled in the canopy of the coastal forest, just a few steps away from the secluded white sand beach. The units blend natural materials and local craftsmanship with simple functional furnishings and fine linen. The thatch and canvas design takes advantage of the cooling ocean breezes, while outdoor lighting has been kept to a minimum in order to better see the majestic African night sky and so as to not disturb the turtles in nesting season.

Anvil Bay community lodge © Kim Steinberg

Environmental education and awareness

A broadcast radio programme is being used to raise awareness of conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources with an emphasis on the community’s role and responsibility. Programmes are aired in the two predominant local languages – Ronga and Shangane – and included live broadcasts that engage an estimated 4 000 community members directly.

Kutsemba, a local community theatre group, performs shows in various communities to also raise awareness around sustainable use of natural resources, conservation, and responsible water use. The group’s routines have been received well and it will continue to share environmental awareness messages in communities through

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