In May this year, De Beers and Debswana’s Diamond Trust, signed a P10 million agreement with the Letloa Trust for the implementation of the Tsodilo Hills UNESCO World Heritage Site Integrated Management Plan.
The project funding, which covers a period of five years, will support the development and management of about 16 000 hectares of land surrounding Tsodilo Hills.
The project will enable the residents of the villages to benefit meaningfully from future developments targeting tourists to the site. This project is managed by Letloa Trust in collaboration with the Botswana National Museum, the communities and local government authorities.
This week, at a ceremony held in Tsodilo, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, officially launched the start of the project.
Present at the launch were members of the community, government officials, local authorities and the Chief Executive of De Beers Botswana, Sheila Khama, who represented the founders of the Diamond Trust, De Beers and Debswana.
It is envisioned that the project will add to the already extensive tourism offering in the region as well as benefitting the residents of the surrounding communities
“The Government of Botswana is grateful that the Diamond Trust found it appropriate to fund the Tsodilo Community Initiatives Project. Let me take this opportunity to applaud Debswana and De Beers who realised the importance of synergies and partnerships between the government, communities and the private sector in rural development and conservation,” said minister Mokaila.
The Chief Executive of De Beers Botswana, Sheila Khama, said this is a very exciting project for Debswana and De Beers.
“We are pleased that the money donated by the Diamond Trust will improve the livelihoods of the communities around Tsodilo through job creation and income generating opportunities,” she said.
“It would be good if this project could serve as a model for other communities in Botswana with eco-tourism potential.”