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Omaheke communities take charge of their own Devil’s Claw projects

Omaheke communities take charge of their own Devil’s Claw projects

The Eiseb and Omuramba ua Mbinda Conservancies in the Omaheke Region took over ownership of the Devils’ Claw harvesting project, for the communities to generate their own income.

The project promotes self-employment, strengthens conservancy management structures and improves the members’ ability to manage natural resources in line with the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme. This approach support the Devil’s Claw harvesting project by assisting conservancy residents with quality control and buying point coordination, and to support game guards’ resource monitoring activities.

Senior Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Coordinator at the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Nabot Mbeeli said through a total of 139 beneficiaries have been reached on different levels at annual general meetings, through participation in game guard training, financial trainings and Devil’s Claw harvesting training. “Furthermore, the project’s medium term impact was to ensure financial accountability in a transparent system. This includes assisting the conservancies with compliance in risk management,” added Mbeeli.

Manager at Social Security, Olga Katjiuongua said the NFF is doing outstanding work, especially what the project beneficiaries managed to accomplish. “We are so pleased to see how projects such as these and the outcomes presented in the final report, are definitely worth noting,” she added.

The NNF stated that during the project period of three harvesting seasons, about 11,613kg was sold from both Conservancies, which is almost 6 times more than set out by the project team and project beneficiaries, a major achievement that the project had not anticipated. “An estimated total income of N$672,800 was generated of which N$627,400 went directly to the harvesters, contributing to household income. The remaining N46400 went into maintaining conservancy activities to ensure functionality of conservancies and continuity of the Devils Claw project,” they emphasised.

The Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is known for its medicinal properties that treat inflammation, and sore joints. For years, it has been used by indigenous people and has been exported to large international pharmaceutical companies.

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.