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BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
The Chairperson of Botswana Community Based Organizations Network (BOCOBONET) - Douglas Lecholo has said that his network is well in its five year plan of reinforcing its participation in Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) policy development and implementation.
BOCOBONET also want to improve information, education and communication systems about CBNRM as well as empower communities on sustainable natural resources/land management/ conservation for utilization and income generation.
For the Agriculture sector, Lecholo said their network aims to facilitate community participation in development of new crops (Climate Smart), mobilize community participation in agricultural value chain in production; input supply, value adding, packaging and marketing. Furthermore they aim to foster formation of community commodity and consumer cooperatives and facilitate community participation in agricultural programs and projects for food production and energy security
“We do this through training Board of Trustees and employees of all CBOs and developing standard policies for human resources, financial management and strategic plans to be used as templates for CBOs,” said Lecholo
Project Officer for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) project of the Nagoya Protocol under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Dineo Gaborekwe has highlighted that her office undertake policy and legal analysis of ABS related components including Traditional Knowledge (TK) to determine gaps
They have drafted the ABS Legislation and developed a capacity-building plan and training materials to address training needs of key stakeholders, including communities, and the training of legal personnel on ABS issues, implementation and negotiations as well as to develop Code of conduct for research on TK.
“We developed and implemented a Communication strategy and Plan targeting policymakers, researchers, local communities, and relevant industry. We forge participation among government, Indigenous Knowledge (IK) holders, and practitioners to allow them to participate in the formal sector and also with NGOs that are involved in the development of IK -commercialize IKS,” she said.
She gave an example of the Tswapong based CBO as beneficiary of training in protecting the patent of the Morula products and other natural resources which they have commercialized in their region.
The main government ministry that is relevant to the development of Marula trade is the Minis-try of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. Within the Ministry, the Department of Forestry and Range Resources, is the entity responsible for the commercial harvesting of Marula fruits by rural communities for onward trade for processing. The department has extension offices throughout the country that are actively involved in the district economic development plans and with community groups that want to commercialize their natural resources.