The global COVID-19 pandemic has had various effects on people’s livelihoods, including community conservation efforts. In Namibia, the state of emergency and subsequent lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a halt on economic activities in the country.
Some of the areas that were affected by the lockdown are the communal conservancies. Even though economic activities may have slowed down, the conservancies continued with their conservation work. Those who are tasked with monitoring, managing, and protecting natural resources kept up their efforts, because their services are essential, and have been recognised as such by the government. Not only did they focus on natural resource management but also looked on how to help their members during this pandemic.
Following the lockdown, the management committee of Uibasen Twyfelfontein Conservancy took the initiative to assist the local community by complementing the drought relief package given by the government. Although some residents in the community had already received assistance through different relief packages and social grants, these community members live on farms and must travel to the nearest town, Khorixas to collect the grants. Traveling meant that they would need to spend the little money they have, to pay for transport in order to receive the grants.
The government gave maize meal, cooking oil, and tinned fish, while the conservancy supplemented these with tea bags, coffee, sugar, bar soap, cooking oil, peas, beans, spices, canned beans, lentils, soup packs, onions, rice, and salt.
The items were given to 60 households that were in the area at the time of distribution for conservancy members. Non-members were also identified, and packs were distributed to them as well.
During the distribution, the management members observed hygiene protocol by sanitising everyone they came in contact with and shared proper hygiene methods with the community members.
The conservancy looks out for their people, because without their wellbeing, all conservation efforts would be in vain.