First Transboundary Community Game Scouts training held in KAZA
In June 2019, community game scouts from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia met for the first time in the Lake Liambezi area for a cross-border exchange and joint training. The workshop provided a platform where game scouts from all three countries could share experiences on community-based efforts in combating wildlife crime and approaches to wildlife management.
The workshop was organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Namibian Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) under the project “Strengthening Community Law Enforcement and Sustainable Livelihoods in Kavango Zambezi (KAZA)”. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented in the Lake Liambezi area in Namibia, the Silowana complex in Zambia and around Chizarira National Park in Zimbabwe. It increases the contribution of local communities to wildlife law enforcement in the area.
This workshop, conducted on a transnational basis, helped to implement on the ground the core philosophy of KAZA, namely cross-border nature conservation, and to establish best practices in wildlife protection. It provided an opportunity for 40 community game scouts to understand the community-based anti-poaching strategies being used by their neighbouring countries. They looked at similarities, and challenges, and explored effective collaboration. Furthermore, community game scouts shared important experiences in the mitigation of Human-Wildlife Conflict, one of the most complex and urgent challenges for wildlife conservation around the world, and received training on respecting Human Rights in the context of nature conservation.
Community scouts, together with the state rangers, are the backbone of anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring in KAZA. To further strengthen cross-border cooperation in the KAZA system, this successful transboundary experience-sharing and training event will be repeated within the framework of the project.