Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS) Environmental Programmes Officer, Onkemetse Joseph, has said the estimated P3 million National Environmental Fund donation for the Khumaga and Mathathane villages’ pilot project should justify natural resource revenues as a next best livelihood alternative for rural communities.
Addressing a Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) one-day training seminar held in Kumakwane recently, Joseph said the pilot projects which NEF has philanthropically channeled a whopping P2 771 450.00 ensures a viable initiative where other Community Trusts (CT) will certainly be taken for exchange visits to provide hands-on-learning.
“Botswana’s natural resources management sector is led through the CBNRM programme and this approach puts a lot of stewardship in the hands of communities hence community empowerment will always be a highest priority in all projects within these sectors,” he said.
The government implements the CBNRM strategy in collaboration with local communities, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private sector, to foster sustainable utilisation of natural resources. The CBNRM programme ensures that communities leaving within and near natural resources rich areas accrue benefits from such, hence promoting conservation by locals.
According to KCS, the NEF-sponsored KCS/CBNRM forum has been designed as a capacity building training to Community Based Organisations (CBOs) Board of Trustees (BTs) representing Kumakwane, Molapo Wa Bojang and Ramakutlo.
The appointment of the respective BTs is in preparation of the United Nations (UN) declaration of 1 000 monuments as cultural heritage sites spearheaded by the Department of National Museum and Monuments.
Botswana’s grand CBNRM strategy was on the premise the economy is dependent on natural resources, especially minerals and tourism.
For this reason, the government strategies are designed towards the protection and management of these resources.
Notwithstanding the participation of KCS in the National Development Plan (NDP) 11, development thematic working groups, the 2017/18 Budgetary allocation remains government desecration based on priorities and the current development challenges.
The project targets all CBOs operating within the natural resources management sector in Botswana, and the necessary government departments.
The project period is 24 months and basing on the KCS and partnering stakeholder’s capacity “we optimism to meet the project time frame in delivering all activities”. Joseph said.
CBNRM by large is facilitated by the Department of Wildlife and Natural Resources (DWNR). “We continue to face realities of low participation due to lack of resources or associated challenges,” Joseph said.
The confidence and commitment of communities per village and CBO is very important and the project will be banking on their true participation and determination to see through change and improvements of developments at CBO level.
Botswana Community Based Organizational Network (BOCOBONET) Executive Secretary Douglas Lecholo says the abundance of untapped natural resources in Botswana resurrects political instinctive thinking empowering local communities to adapt clearly defined environmental conservation strategies.
Lecholo is abuzz about natural resources potential especially at village set-up. As a starting point, government through DWNR should initiate human/animal conflict resolution in prone areas such as the Central Kalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR). Under this ecological dais, each village should be empowered to recognise national sovereignty of adjacent communities. Henceforth the camaraderie should provide panacea for further conflict.