David Nashimba is a member of Iipumbu YaTshilongo Conservancy. As part of the management committee, he oversees overall conservancy activities.
“I enjoy interacting with colleagues from other conservancies during the learning and sharing sessions. It allows me to learn from their experiences, particularly because my conservancy is still in its infancy stage.” Said Nashimba.
Located in northcentral Namibia, the conservancy is adjacent to the world-famous Etosha National Park, where there is a diverse range of wildlife, including the big five. Wildlife moves freely between the park and the conservancy. This gives the conservancy a relative advantage to diversify their income activities that attract tourists.
The conservancy has plans to enter into a concession agreement with traversing rights to take tourists into the park through Sheya Shuushona Conservancy. With a cross-cutting ecosystem of woodland savannah to semi-desert, some of the prominent vegetation can be found in the conservancy mopane tree, camelthorns, and shrubs. There is also a perennial water stream called Lake Oponono which is home to a variety of bird species.
Conservancies are mandated by the government to take care of their natural resources while deriving benefits from conservation activities. Some of their activities include monitoring wildlife through patrols and doing anti-poaching campaigns. There have been no poaching incidences since last year.
Since March 2020 when the state of emergency lockdown was announced to contain the Covid-19 virus, conservation activities have been negatively affected. The game guards patrol teams were reduced to more than half which could be risky to them.
“We have a new joint venture agreement with a new investor, but due to the Covid-19 regulations, the investor could not travel to Namibia to hold meetings with us and embark on the next steps. The lodge will be situated in Ukango and we are planning to name it Olupale” Said Nashimba.
The grant (CRRRF-Conservation Relief, Recovery & Resilience Facility) from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism and other conservation support organisations have been beneficial to the conservancy. The funds were used to assist the conservancy in managing their patrols, cleaning the conservancy office, travelling costs, and paying game guard salaries.
To diversify their income and improve livelihoods, the conservancy embarked on a conservation agriculture initiative called the Wanamene Project for the San Community, which promotes food security while allowing the community to generate income through selling their vegetables. Livestock farmers also received bulls to crossbreed with their livestock and increase their livestock size.
To get the project going, the conservancy secured some water by building a dam in addition to the two old existing ones which were recently renovated. The dams also provide water to the conservancy residents, their livestock and wildlife. The provision of these dams has reduced wildlife mortality as they now have access to water.