LETLHAKANE: A Makgadikgadi project, the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) initiative set up to improve the ecosystem and livelihoods of communities dependent on the range land in the area ends next year on December 10, 2016
It was funded by the UNDP through GEF to the tune of US$935,677 (P7 485 416) and implemented by Birdlife Botswana.
Other involved institutions are the Department of Forestry and Range Resources (DFRR) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as well as the land boards.
The past Monday, camping mattresses, tents, solar camping lanterns, computers and printers were distributed among beneficiaries who covered GUMAKOTSHAA Trust and Giang-O-Community Trust at Mikele Motel, Letlhakane, as a sign that progress has been made in the implementation of the project.
“The camping material and tents are going to be hired out to tourists visiting the trusts’ sites. The agricultural equipment was distributed for usage in conservation. Altogether the equipment cost around P600 000,” said the Project Manager, Virat Motshereganyi Kootsositse.
Head of UNDP, Dr Oduetse Koboto, informed attendees of the event that their aim was to involve everyone in development.
“We have selected some regions. Our responsibility is to advise on governance and to work with the people on the ground. What we want is for people to have management skills of land and natural resources. Next year we will reduce partnership with government and work with communities,” said Koboto.
The project, launched in March, 2015, covered environmental management and sustainable development at the district (Boteti sub-district) and ecosystem-levels (Makgadikgadi wetland system); enhanced capacity of communities in southern Sua Pan (Mmea, Mokubilo, Mmatshumo and Mosu).
SLM principles are to secure the ecosystems for current and future development and maintenance of biodiversity,” said Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Felix Monggae.
He pointed out that effectiveness of the project is currently hindered by inadequate knowledge and skills for adoption of SLM in arable farming, livestock management and livelihood support systems.
He said under-utilised veld products; lack of integrated land use plans and inadequate user-right priviledges for resident natural resource users should be looked into. These barriers prevent the government and the local communities to achieve the long-term solutions desired for range lands.