DO YOU LIKE WILDLIFE?
It seems an odd question, but if you are a resident of a conservancy where wild animals threaten your crops and cattle, you may be forgiven for being sceptical about the value of wildlife. Yes, it attracts tourists and trophy hunters, and benefits go to conservancy members, but attitudes to wildlife vary considerably. For the WWF and other NACSO members, it is important to know about those attitudes, so it comes as good news that Nuria Störmer has been finding out.
Nuria, pictured with research assistants, is studying for a master’s degree in education, anthropology and culture in Jena, Germany, and her field research has been conducted in 18 Namibian conservancies in Kunene and Zambezi. Entitled ‘A survey of values and attitudes towards wildlife in communal conservancies in Namibia’, the research aims to find out what influences people’s attitudes to wildlife.
Conducting a scientific study over such a wide area is quite a challenge, but a team of UNAM students was assembled, consisting of youngsters who spoke the languages required. A user friendly questionnaire was designed using smiling and sad faces as well as colours to help people to identify their feelings towards particular animals. Conservancies were chosen on the basis of their income from trophy hunting and from tourism, and their maturity - conservancies that have been established for a long time. As a check and control, two other conservancies were selected in the two regions; these were fairly new and did not have high incomes.
It might be assumed that residents of well-established conservancies which have a good income and distribute benefits, would have a more positive attitude towards wildlife than those of a newer, poorer conservancy. Not so, according to the research. The picture is much more complex. There are many reasons why people may like wildlife, ranging from utilitarian – you can make money from it – to scientific interest, a concern for ecology and even theistic: people are related to wildlife through clans. What emerged from the research was that people in all conservancies had a high interest in wildlife as part of nature, and that most people had a generally positive attitude towards it.
The scientific analysis of the survey will take time to complete, and should show which factors influence people’s attitudes to wildlife the most. Is it the benefits accruing from tourism and hunting, including meat distribution? Is the sense of ownership that people now have over their own resources, or perhaps traditional values? The research should be completed sometime next year and will be a valuable contribution to our knowledge about people, places and wildlife.
16 November 2015» See more news items and press releases.
What is NACSO?
The Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (NACSO) is an association comprising 9 Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and the University of Namibia. The purpose of NACSO is to provide quality services to rural communities seeking to manage and utilise their natural resources in a sustainable manner.
The philosophy of forming NACSO was to harness the wide range of skills available in Government, NGOs and the University into a complementary nation-wide CBNRM support service. The rationale behind this is that it is unlikely that any single institution houses all of the skills, resources and capacity to provide community organisations with the multi-disciplinary assistance that is required to develop the broad range of CBNRM initiatives taking place in Namibia. These skills could include advice on governance and institutional issues, on natural resources management and assistance with financial and business planning.
The NACSO concept was conceived in 1996 under the title of Communal Area Resource Management Support (CARMS).
However, it was not until August 1998, when a meeting of CBNRM support organisations was convened, that the CBNRM partners began seriously developing the NACSO concept. In September 1999 the CBNRM partners approved the constitution for the CBNRM Association of Namibia (CAN), and the CBNRM Association gained legal status. However, in February 2001 CAN was required to change its name to NACSO because the Cancer Association of Namibia, also with the acronym of CAN, justifiably complained that two organisations in Namibia should not be operating under the same name.
The important work carried out by NACSO on rural development projects, in conjunction with NGOs such as IRDNC, Namibia Nature Foundation, NDT and international associate member WWF continues today.
The constitution comprises 14 sections in which NACSO's formation, operations, procedures and membership are defined, and it is provided in full here. An introductory paragraph and section 1 describe the broad structure and objectives, whilst the aims, objective and functions are listed in section 2. The 12 objectives mainly concern the promotion and development of CBNRM, and the 8 functions illustrate the activities NACSO may undertake.
In sections 3, 4 and 5 the organisation, the founding membership and the rules for representation on NACSO are given. The powers and functions of the organisation, in supporting the objectives, are given in section 6. The functions of the Management Committee and Working Groups, and the Secretariat are described in sections 7 and 8 respectively. The procedures for grant management, conducting meetings, and financial management are given in section 9, 10 and 11. In the final 3 sections dispute resolution procedures, dissolution and constitutional amendments are specified.
Policy and legislative basis of CBNRM in Namibia
Since independence in 1990, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has pursued a legislative policy to support the introduction and development of Communal Area Conservancies and this led to the creation of NACSO. The following policies and legislation have been enacted to support the Conservancy programme.
These policies and the accompanying legislation have supported a nation-wide conservation and development movement so that, by 2014, less than 20 years after the first conservancy was gazetted, there were 82 registered conservancies, a similar community association operating in a national park and over 30 community forests, which together cover almost 20% of Namibia. While government has passed many new policies and legislation since independence, few if any, have had the marked impact this MET programme is having.
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