The North Luangwa Conservation Programme strives for long-term success by reaching out to the local communities. The overall goal to conserve wildlife and ecosystems hinges on their engagement. Involving communities in management decisions generates pride, social capital and socio-economic benefits to help improve conservation outcomes. Communities deserve greater ownership and benefits from wildlife so they can live harmoniously within their ecosystem. NLCP works to create an attractive investment culture based on localised revenue retention and decentralized decision-making. NLCP provides technical assistance to aid community-based natural resource management.
There can be no successful conservation without the support and participation of local communities, to encourage ownership, engender pride, and develop empathy for conserving nature for their future generations.
By providing education programmes for alternative livelihoods to boost locally-owned businesses, a sustainably managed ecosystem can multi-generationally benefit the entire region.
NLCP delivers community-based livelihood projects in Mukungule, Chifunda, Nabwalya and Chikwa Chiefdoms.
Alternative livelihoods projects are a common conservation intervention. They are designed to conserve biodiversity by substituting one livelihood activity that is negative towards a species or habitat (such as bush meat hunting or firewood collection)with another conservation-neutral or, better still, positive activity. This serves the dual purpose of alleviating threats to biodiversity and improve the well-being of communities living around protected areas. The donor community has invested in alternative livelihoods activities for decades as a means oflinking conservation and development; and developing alternative livelihoods is supported by our numerous community projects such as bee- keeping and forest initiatives.
Our Community Projects
Community Conservation Bank
The Community Conservation Banking (CoCoBa) initiative is a self-regulated village banking system that supports village-level micro-finance systems to kick-start conservation-compatible small-scale business enterprise ideas from within the communities surrounding North Luangwa.
Currently there are 25 supported groups throughout the area with increasing interest from more communities as it has proven to be so successful. CoCoBa helps communities benefit from living around protected ecosystems while encouraging alternative livelihoods to build a future for themselves and their families.
Since 2018 more than 170 bee-keepers have been trained in sustainable farming methods and how to improve incomes by promoting alternative livelihoods in areas surrounding North Luangwa National Park.
Each farmer was given five Kenyan top-bar hives,a swarm box, a smoker, a knife, overalls and protective veil, gloves and boots.The training covered basics in bee handling and management as well as harvesting,processing and packaging.
The NLCP has been working with the Department of Forestry to develop two community forests in Mukungule Chiefdom, to the west of North Park. The goal of the community forestry is to end uncontrolled forest loss and incentivise community-driven sustainable forest management by strengthening the stewardship of forests on customary land through communal control, use and management, while balancing responsibilities with legal rights. The two community forests set up are Nkomba-Mutekwe community forest (685.94 Ha) and Mukungule-Menshi community forest (755.34 Ha),with more being planned.
Sustainable Fisheries Management
Local fisheries provide an important source of protein for communities and in the past were ungoverned by any sustainable principles.
A fishery catch assessment survey on socio-economic data was completed to understand the contribution offish to livelihoods; information on catch rates; catch volumes; species composition and seasonality; numbers of fishers and community members in the area; and to collect information on fish being sold in existing markets. Using this information, NLCP formed seven village-level fisheries management committees. The committees were trained to conduct sensitization meetings on legal and illegal fishing methods and the benefits of well-managed fisheries as well as carrying out patrols along the Luangwa River. Representatives from the seven committees visited Bangweulu Wetlands to witness first-hand the benefits of a well-managed fishery; and understand the consequences of an overused resource.
The NLCP has been working with local communities to equip them with the tools and training they need to be able to self-manage their natural resources for future benefit.
With the formation of village action groups in each area, it means that each village has a united voice on issues or community decisions that help with developments. A Village Action Group represented from household level.
Human Elephant Conflict Mitigation
With successful conservation comes other issues for communities living around North Park.Nearby farms can often be too much temptation for elephants who sometimes raid crops as an easy food source, leading to human-wildlife or human-elephant conflict(HEC). This can be devastating to low income families and often leads to retaliation. The HEC programme helps local communities deal with these issues in a non-lethal manner, while promoting alternative sources of incomes to benefit from living near protected wildlife areas. Growing chilli plants, which are not edible for elephants, has shown success. The crops act as a deterrent and the harvest is retained to make chilli oil to use as deterrents against the raiding elephants. Community guarding groups use chilli blasters as another way to discourage elephant raids; and to protect the precious annual harvest of grains concrete grain stores are built.
Deforestation and destructive farming methods have a proven link to climate change. The NLCP is supporting communities in horticulture programmes; promoting and training local farmers in conservation farming methods as well as providing infrastructure to sustain these methods while improving lifestyles. The initial phase has completed the drilling of four boreholes for horticulture and household use
Lolesha Luangwa (LL; meaning ‘look after Luangwa’ in Bemba) is a conservation education initiative begun in 2003 in 22 schools for 1,500 Grade 6 learners spanning three districts. The schools were selected to be part of the programme based on their proximity to North Luangwa National Park. LL has four elements: a teacher-led course taught throughout the year to students;multiple outreach visits from NLCP to reinforce conservation messages; school park visits; and community events. Lolesha Luangwa aims to promote community based natural resource management to motivate local school children, conservation teachers and individual resource users to participate in management and sustainable conservation of natural resources. LL aims to improve knowledge of the environmental and conservation and to support ecosystem management and biodiversity. Lolesha Luangwa encourages participants to take responsibility for managing their own natural resources to create benefits for their communities.
The NLCP advocates for devolved user rights and direct benefits from natural resources for the communities that live in and look after the rich Luangwa ecosystem. Improved revenue sharing with recognised and respected management decision-making powers are the only way towards true ownership and long-term sustainability.
Ensuring community leaders are held accountable through transparent processes that are understood by leaders as well as the wider community they represent is a critical step towards self-governance and sustainable use of natural resources to provide tangible benefits now and in the future