JAMANDA COMMUNITY CONSERVANCY PROJECT
The Jamanda Community Conservancy (JCC) in Zimbabwe is a project focused around facilitating the co-existence of rural communities and wildlife, to further support the existing CAMPFIRE program (Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources).
CAMPFIRE was established in response to clashes between a tribal community that was moved off its land in 1966 to make way for wildlife reserves, Ghonarezhou National Park and the Department of National Parks. This community is today known as the Mahenye community and is situated just outside Ghonarezhou. It is regarded as Zimbabwe’s finest example of a CAMPFIRE program.
The most recent expansion of the project has been by the Mahenye community who have set aside 7,000 hectares of land to establish the JCC. The JCC shares a 12km boundary with Gonarezhou Park allowing wildlife free movement. A 25km game fence funded by the EU minimises the risk of human-wildlife conflict. A headquarters, workshop, reception office and three ranger bases are under construction and should be completed by the end of the year.
The challenge for this community conservation initiative is for them to become self-sufficient in meeting their operational costs and in contributing to the improvement of livelihoods of the community at large. To this end the Jamanda Steering Committee has identified an income-generating project through the development of a low key non-consumptive tourist camp. The economic viability of this camp will determine the success or failure of the entire project.
The CCFA proudly funded the construction of a 12-bed self-catering camp within the Jamanda Conservancy, on the Save River, which overlooks the Gonarezhou National Park. The camp will offer guests a cultural visit to the villages, game activities and game drives into the GRZ Park.
The final phase of the project is to secure sufficient funding to meet the cost of game capture and translocation of wildlife from private conservancies, in order to fast-track product development by providing a competitive wildlife experience. The focus will be on plains game, as species such as elephant and predators will naturally move in from the GRZ Park.