Opuwo meeting recognises women’s role in community-based conservation
Governance and transparent accounting are two key issues for the effective functioning of the Community Based National Resource Management Programme (CBNRM), one of the main drivers for the very successful conservancy based nature conservation initiative for rural communities.
It was a celebration of the hard work and perseverance of the women in these communities when last week, at a special event of the Kunene Women for Conservation group based in Opuwo, recognition was given to their commitment and successes.
The celebration was part of the annual agenda planning organised by the Namibia Nature Foundation, the Namibian Development Trust and the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation organisation.
Financially supported by the European Union Delegation to Namibia, the Women for Conservation project is coordinated and implemented by the three organisations in cooperation with NACSO, the organisation that provides support to community-based conservation groups.
The Kunene meeting was opened by the Nature Foundation communications officer, Disney Andreas who discussed the benefit that conservancies have through their right over wildlife and the opportunity the Women for Conservation group has in ensuring these are sustainably utilised for the benefit of conservancy members.
Strong governance, accountability and equitable distribution of benefits are the priority areas for the partners who want to work closely with women groups to strengthen conservancies and the wider programme. The discussion was then lead by Women for Conservation chairperson, Ms Tjavarekua, who expressed her delight at the official recognition of their work by the EU.
The Women for Conservation movement was started in 2018 during a field trip to Ombonde People’s Park when the role of women in community conservation drew the attention of some leading conservationists, amongst others, John Kasaona, the IRDNC founder and the late Garth Owen-Smith.
The Nature Foundation’s Senior CBNRM Coordinator, Nabot Mbeeli, explained the nuts and bolts of the programme to the participating women at the Kunene meeting, emphasising that women are often the only champions to carry the voice of conservation in rural communities.