Managing with experience

Jerome Mwilima
Jerome Mwilima

This week IRDNC will bring the 15 conservancies in Zambezi Region together for the bi-annual meeting, to review successes, problems, and strategies. Jerome Mwilima is the manager of Bamunu Conservancy. Together with Chairman Chunga Chunga and Vice Chair Liebelo Maani, he spoke to NACSO about managing the conservancy.

It’s all about experience, said Mwilima. “If people just take turns in management, and we do not look for experience, we will not rise up.” The skills required, says the Vice Chair, are administration, auditing the books, checking the game guards’ event books and keeping good records. “If you know where all the resources are, you can protect them better.”

Mwilima has professional experience. He worked as a lab technician in Rundu, Oshakati and Katima Mulilo, and he now farms. Transparency is very important, he believes. “Everybody knows what I am doing and the way funds are used.”

Financial management is most important. The Chairman and Vice Chair both said that the conservancy needs financial skills, and in order “not to favour somebody”, they asked the MET to interview candidates for the Conservancy Treasurer position. To ensure a good outcome, the job was advertised, several candidates were interviewed, and training was made available to the new treasurer. The MET also offers the services of its accountant to audit the books.

Bamunu can’t afford to pay good salaries to its management, and it believes that people should be willing to volunteer. The conservancy can’t afford a Vice Treasurer, so they elected a financial adviser to add oversight – a school inspector who used to be Conservancy Treasurer; in other words: somebody with experience.

The conservancy doesn’t offer jobs for life, although some people would like that. The committee has reduced its tenure from five years to three. Managers serve for five years, but can be fired if they don’t perform.

Exchanging management experiences will be useful at the bi-annual meeting. The Bamunu management believe that conservancies should organize exchanges, to learn more from each other, and improve conservancy management.

Steve Felton
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