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BUILDING BETTER LIVES FOR THE WORLD'S POOREST PEOPLE

J1029N Peace Parks – Support Simalaha Community Conservancy.

South Africa, Africa

Project Description

Peace Parks seeks to re-establish and preserve large functional ecosystems that transcend man-made boundaries – protecting and regenerating natural and cultural heritage in southern Africa.

The Simalaha Community Conservancy, situated in south-west Zambia, was officially established with support from Peace Parks in 2012 and is an essential link in an envisaged wildlife corridor between Chobe National Park in Botswana and Kafue National Park in Zambia within the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area – the largest terrestrial ‘peace park’ on earth.

In Simalaha, the current focus is on developing a wildlife economy, as well as alternative livelihoods to provide food security and additional forms of income to the local community, who in turn assist in protecting this critical conservation landscape.


First Transboundary Fish Protected Area in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Part of the Conservancy includes the Simalaha floodplains which links to the Upper Zambezi River (+-50km), with the local communities relying heavily on fishing activities for sustenance and personal income. In the last decade, unsustainable fishing practices such as the use of monofilament nets, and a general lack of regulation, have resulted in critical depletion of fish.

Peace Parks has embarked on a project to prevent further degradation of the local fishery, promote regeneration of fish numbers and species, better the catch per unit effort of fishers (an indirect measure of the abundance of a target species), and thereby better the prospects of fishing for subsistence and personal income.

Support is needed to strengthen the governance of the fishery through the formal gazetting of two Fish Management Committees which will drive the administration of regulations, allow for the banning of detrimental fishing equipment, and, through meetings with the Namibian Fisheries Committees, promote harmonisation of policies and regulations. Additionally, funding will be used to reimburse local committee members mandated to clean the river of discarded monofilament net and check the legality of fishing equipment.


COVID-19 Response

Currently, the world is experiencing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019). Never in our lifetimes have we experienced a deadly virus spread globally within the space of a few months threatening the lives of our elderly and vulnerable populations, almost crippling health services in many countries, and disrupting the international economy. But, in the face of this crisis, government, civil society, private institutions and individuals are uniting to support each other in fighting this unseen enemy. Many of the communities based in the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in which Peace Parks works are largely impoverished, relying on subsistence agriculture and other alternative livelihoods. Most have limited means to protect themselves from the virus, specifically their inability to afford the most basic of hygiene material to stave off infection. Many live remotely, unable to easily access health care and essential services, while some live in and around community hubs allowing for easy spread amongst village populations. As such, Peace Parks is now leading a social protection initiative to assist TFCA residents to fight against the spread of COVID-19, so demonstrating the caring nature of the conservation fraternity in the spirit of “ubuntu – humaneness”.

In the short-term Peace Parks is planning to assist 87,200 people located in the target areas of the Silowana Complex[1] and Simalaha Community Conservancy in Zambia), as well as provide essential items to community hubs in these areas. Assistance package items will include government endorsed information pamphlets, soap and face masks. Peace Parks will support mask-making efforts to provide as many masks as possible to both households and healthcare workers (as well as provide N95 type masks to clinics), while community hubs will receive government-endorsed posters, sanitiser, hand washing mechanisms, and no-contact thermal thermometers as needed.

In addition to these preventative measures to curb the spread of the virus, many people have lost the ability to conduct their regular livelihood support activities in these communities, while the tourism sector has experienced lay-offs due to zero income from restricted movement, loss of international tourism and the closure of borders. In the medium-term, Peace Parks aims to offer assistance through support from its partners to the job-related casualties of COVID-19 by way of cash-for-work interventions in these specific protected areas and affected tourism facilities; and to compensate for park revenue losses due to border closures and loss of tourism.

Phase I will require an investment of EUR 284,520 while Phase II will require an additional investment of EUR 308,709, with a total budget cost of EUR 717,807 (including administration costs and contingency). Peace Parks kindly requests donors’ support to address the need in these areas so together we can fight back to protect vulnerable communities.

[1] The Silowana Complex is a vast ecosystem in south-western Zambia incorporating parts of the Zambezi and Kwando Rivers. It covers an area of approximately 11,500 km² and includes Sioma Ngwezi National Park.


Simalaha Schools

Kasaya and Sankalonga’s schools are based in the Simalaha Community Conservancy, Zambia. Kasaya is a local primary school, while Sankalonga is a primary and high school. These two schools are completely under resourced and require the most basic assets to assist in making the school life of hundreds of children more educational, enjoyable and comfortable.

NEEDS AT KASAYA SCHOOL

Previously, at Kasaya School the teachers and school children had very little furniture in the classrooms; the children mostly sat on the floor and the teachers often stood all day as they didn’t have a desk or chair. They also wrote on the wall as they didn’t have a blackboard. Most of the teachers commuted every day from Livingstone (four hours return drive on terrible roads) as their accommodation at the school was not finished, and many of the children also slept on the floors during the week as it’s too far to walk to and from school every day. Luckily funding was recently received to meet many of these needs, but additional funds could still be used for further items to make the lives of the teachers and children more comfortable. Such items include further:

  • Furniture,
  • Completion of teacher’s accommodation,
  • Computers – the school currently has ten laptops and is urgently in need of more,
  • Funds to provide internet connection to the school, and
  • Solar panels for power.

NEEDS AT SANKALONGA SCHOOL

Sankalonga School has slightly better facilities than Kasaya School but is also missing certain necessities. The Zambian national curriculum has recently changed, meaning part of the high school syllabus is taught on a computer. Although Sankalonga also recently received funding for the below, further support would be welcomed for:

  • Computers – the school currently has ten laptops and is urgently in need of further computers,
  • Funds to provide internet connection to the school, and
  • Solar panels for power.

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