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Community Development, Kavango Zambezi TFCA, Simalaha Community Conservancy

Simahala Community Wildlife Monitors Deployed

On 15 May the community wildlife monitors trained to work in the Simalaha Community Conservancy celebrated their passing out parade. The 22 wildlife monitors will replace the Sekute Community Trust and Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) rangers who had been monitoring the wildlife and the wildlife sanctuary fence since the first animals were translocated in October 2013. The financial support secured by Pifworld will be funding the monitors for two years.

The Zambian Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts, Mr Lawrence Evans, arrives at the stadium

The Zambian Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts, Mr Lawrence Evans, officiated the proceedings. He said:

“One of KAZA TFCA’s specific objectives is to develop and implement programmes that shall enhance the sustainable use of natural and cultural heritage resources to improve the livelihoods of local communities within and around the KAZA TFCA and thus contribute towards poverty reduction.”

“Through collaboration, the two visionary leaders (Chief Sekute of the Chundu chiefdom and Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta of the Sisheke chiefdom) envisage that the Simalaha Community Conservancy will through ecotourism be able to create alternative sources of income and wealth generation for the people affected by the establishment of the conservancy. This will ultimately lead to improved livelihoods, as well as instil the understanding and value of wildlife as a valuable resource and conservation of natural resourses as a land use option. This initiative will leave a legacy of conservation in the area, as well as entrench the rights of the community to be masters of their own destiny, that is closely linked to wildlife and prudent management of natural resources.”

“Our cooperating partners provided financial support to train community wildlife monitors or village scouts. These trainee village scouts were selected from the communities that live within the Simalaha Conservancy area.”

“The positive programme outcomes achieved by the Zambian component of the KAZA TFCA through the financial and technical support from Peace Parks Foundation have attracted other partners to Simalaha Conservancy such as WWF Germany, MAVA Foundation, Swedish Postcode Lottery, Kadans Foundation and Cleveland Zoological Society. I wish to take this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to Peace Parks Foundation and its partners for their role in making the Simalaha Conservancy a reality.”

“Finally, I wish, on behalf of the government of the Republic of Zambia to invite stakeholders, the local communities in general and community scouts in particular to passionately cherish and jealously guard the conservancy. We look forward to a future where the newly established sanctuary will start receiving some tourists and improve the livelihoods of the communities.”

Background

Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta and Chief Sekute at the launch of the conservancy

The Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) TFCA has many distinguishing features of global importance, among them the largest contiguous population of African elephant on the continent, numbering approximately a quarter of a million animals. Of significant benefit to both the local communities and this huge elephant population is the establishment of one of Zambia’s first conservancies, the Simalaha Community Conservancy, spanning the Sisheke and Chundu chiefdoms. Simalaha is one of Zambia’s first conservancies and will be an important area in KAZA TFCA to re-establish wildlife populations and their migration routes. This will benefit the community by enhancing livelihood options, increasing wildlife numbers and promoting tourism development.

On 22 October 2012 the Simalaha Community Conservancy was officially launched by Chief Sekute of the Chundu chiefdom and Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta of the Sisheke chiefdom. A game proof fence was then erected around the 24 000 ha wildlife sanctuary, thanks to funding by MAVA Foundation, the Swedish Postcode Lottery and the Cleveland Zoological Society.

Following years of the depletion of wildlife, the first ever wildlife translocation to the conservancy took place on 6 October 2013. The Zambia Wildlife Authority, in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation, translocated 100 impala and 135 blue wildebeest from parks in Namibia and Zambia to the newly fenced wildlife sanctuary. Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta said that this was an historic moment in the development of the conservancy and that it would soon again teem with wildlife so that children of the area would know the animals not from books, but from seeing them in real life. He also said: “The success of tourism in Zambia should not be measured by the volume of tourists passing through our airports, but in how many employment opportunities are created for local communities. This will be a true measure of success. The Simalaha Community Conservancy holds the promise of many such employment opportunities, not only in tourism, but also in many other sectors such as agriculture and fishing.”

Greet Habasimbi is one of the farmers involved and he is excited about bigger yields

Other major projects in the conservancy include one funded by the Swedish Postcode Lottery, to develop a wildlife sanctuary and improve the local people’s human rights, including their food security, by training them in better farming methods. The Kadans Foundation, with its partners Hitachi Data Systems and Hercuton, is also funding conservation agriculture in the conservancy. The project aims to reach at least 350 farmers in and around Simalaha. Stichting Energo funded the construction of teachers houses for Mwandi School.

 

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