Posted on 03 August 2022
WWF Zimbabwe, in July, launched the COVID-19 SOS programme in Binga and Hwange Districts. Field equipment and patrol rations to support community based conservation in the respective areas was handed over at the event, attended by Rural District Council Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) for both districts, traditional leadership, and other stakeholders.
“We are excited about this development that is going to assist us in conservation issues. Management of wildlife is an expensive business that requires resources,” said Phindile Ncube, Hwange RDC CEO.
With the onset of Covid-19, the tourism industry has witnessed unprecedented cancellations that have ground it to a halt. Threats arising from Covid-19 in the Community Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) areas where WWF is working include; loss of CAMPFIRE income by buffer districts bordering Hwange and Chizarira National Parks, reduced capacity to support routine conservation efforts caused by loss of CAMPFIRE income by RDCs; and, reduced engagement of Protected Areas personnel with the local leadership and buffer communities for relationship and trust building caused by the Park’s loss of tourism revenue. The latter contributes 60% of the Parks income receipts.
The programme is aimed at supporting wildlife protection operations threatened by loss of CAMPFIRE revenues due to the impact of COVID-19. This intervention aims to support wildlife conservation operations threatened by loss of CAMPFIRE revenues through the relevant RDCs, cushion buffer communities who lost CAMPFIRE incomes; and, support continued engagement of Park authorities with local leadership and buffer communities.
WWF Zimbabwe is implementing conservation initiatives in Hwange district which share their boundaries with Hwange National Park. In the Sebungwe region, WWF Zimbabwe is supporting the protection of wildlife in Chizarira National Park and buffer communities in Binga Districts. Both districts are involved in CAMPFIRE, largely through sport hunting, commercial timber logging and fishing. WWF Zimbabwe is facilitating community mobilisation and awareness, provide technical support on Human Wildlife Conflict, capacity building and ensure that communities' socio-economic safeguards within the project are promoted.