Sunday, November 28, 2021
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USAID moves to empower communities surrounding wildlife corridors

 

…injects millions of dollars towards resilience in
seven wards

Beatific Gumbwanda

CHIREDZI – The United States Agency for International Development
(USAID) has pumped in US$19 million to help communities living in wildlife
corridors and protected areas surrounding Save Valley Conservancy, Gonarezhou
and Bubye sin Chiredzi and Bikita districts.

This has been done to help the communities manage
their resources and draw economic benefits from those resources thereby
reducing their vulnerability to climatic shocks and economic stresses.

The project somehow fills the gap left when the European
Union (EU) withdraw its US$15 million funding for the Save Valley Conservancy
project in early 2020, citing lack of progress due to the absence of political
goodwill.

The Save Valley Conservancy project was aimed at
creating a wildlife corridor to separate wildlife and landless communities who
occupied parts of the park.

With Resilience Anchors, people in Bikita Rural
District wards 24 and 26; Chiredzi wards 1 and 23; and Chipinge 30 and 29 will
benefit in capacity building towards management and protection of their resources
for economic benefit.

The US$19 million resilience project was launched last
week through a programme dubbed Accelerating New Community-based Holistic
Outcomes for Resource Sustainability (Resilience Anchors).

The five-year-long project is aimed at reducing the chronic
vulnerability to climatic shocks and economic stresses of those living in
communities around protected areas and associated wildlife corridors.

USAID says Resilience Anchors can provide economic
opportunities for vulnerable communities to improve their ability to cope with
and recover from shocks while conserving the natural resource base for
sustainable livelihoods.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Principal
Administrative Officer in the office of the Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC),
Edmore Mangure, who stood for the PDC Dr Jasper Sakupwanya, said the initiative
will go a long way in empowering the beneficiary communities.

“In for years, wildlife corridors and protected areas
will be anchors of development, meaning they will provide opportunities for the
vulnerable communities in our province. Simply put, this means the project will
improve the quality of life for Masvingo community.

“The role of this project is to reduce community’s
chronic vulnerability to climatic shocks and economic stresses. Masvingo is
blessed with wildlife and vast tracts of vegetation. However, these species are
at risk as the human population around protected areas grows,” said Mangure.

He said there were many threats to wildlife and to
people living around protected areas and these include poaching, illegal
wildlife trade, human-wildlife conflicts, unreliable revenue streams,
unreliable water sources and minimum private sector investment.

“Disasters hurt the poor and vulnerable the most.
Resilience Anchors, as the project name says, seeks to put resilience at the
heart of our communities. An important way to achieve this is through
community-based management programs for the poor and vulnerable,” said Mangure.

African Wildlife Foundation, which is the lead
implementing partner for Save Valley Landscape, was represented by projects
manager Serial Moyo who expressed optimism in Resilience Anchors’ potential to turn
things around for the better.

“When we look at economic benefits, we are looking at livelihoods.
We are looking at how we can help strengthen communities so that they are not
susceptible to these (climatic) shocks and when these shocks happen, people are
resilient. They are able to withstand, absorb, adapt and transform their
communities. That is the objective of the Resilience Anchors project.

“We can effectively use the natural resource heritage we
have by applying good governance and oversight and thus build resilience within
our communities. We intent to work with our communities to ensure there is an
understanding of good land-use practices,” said Moyo.

The project’s key objectives are centred on the
improvement of economic benefits from strengthened community-level resource
governance and oversight of conservation enterprises.

It also aims to increase sustainable and sufficient
supplies of quality water to meet human, economic and ecosystem need, as well
as strengthening locally-led development and private sector engagement.

 

 

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TellZim News is the leading news organization in the Southern region. It provides candid, balanced and timely news from the communities. Keeping it real. Committed to tell Zimbabwe.

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