From : Mmegi.bw
By : EPHRAIM KEORENG, Staff Writer
6 December 2011
Apprising the United States of America ambassador to Botswana Michelle Gavin last week, manager of Chobe Enclave Community Trust Frank Limbo, said his organisation has distributed P150,000 to each of the five villages of Satau, Kavimba, Mabele, Kachikau and Parakarungu to finance projects aimed at promoting natural resources conservation in the area.
Limbo said that some of the money went into financing wildlife and tourism activities in the village which in turn has provided employment for the areas residents. Some of these activities include ceding hunting rights to those who hunt trophies at a fee charged by the community through the trust. Limbo said that as a result of the profits accrued from the tourism activities in the Chobe area, villages have managed to buy a tractor, ploughs, construction equipment and other farm implements. The manager said besides farming, the villagers also use tractors for transporting firewood for weddings and funeral services.
He revealed that in Mabele they have a shop run by the community through the Village Development Committee (VDC) which offers secretarial services and a vending machine for Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) unit cards in Satau. They also have a grinding mill in Parakarungu, all sponsored through proceeds from tourism activities.
This has fostered a feeling of ownership among the residents who instead of poaching the wildlife, will safeguard them against any destruction.
Besides the government, Limbo explained that the US government donated more than P2 million towards the construction of Ngoma Safari Lodge, which is owned by the Chobe residents. The lodge started operating this year.
Limbo said the lodge hires 40 permanent workers, most of whom are locals. He added that during the hunting season (from April to September), 15 residents are engaged as escorts for professional hunters.
“The photographic area, where professional tourists engage in photo shoots, employs 31 permanent employees,” he said.
Asked by the ambassador what inspired their success, the trust manager said they benchmarked with their counterparts across the Chobe River in Namibia and Zambia as they share similar natural resources.
“We work together to find out how we can conserve the natural resources. We are also professional in our handling of this work. We ensure that our books are audited. The other thing that works for us is that most of the board members are retired professionals with wide experience in various fields,” he said