Jamanda Community Conservancy – Zimbabwe

Jamanda Community Conservancy – Zimbabwe


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.

Wildlife Conservation Association – Rwanda

Wildlife Conservation Association – Rwanda



The RWCA drives conservation awareness in communities surrounding key grey crowned crane areas. Founded by Rwandans who come from and understand local communities and their challenges, their mission is to provide sustainable solutions to critical wildlife conservation issues in Rwanda and East Africa.

To date the RWCA, with the support of the CCFA, has been responsible for:

  • Creating environmental youth clubs.
  • Training 9 mentors to guide the youth club members.
  • Planting 5, 525 indigenous trees from 19 different tree species around the Rugezi Marsh.
  • A two-day training workshop with a team of 30 conservation champions who will raise awareness around blue crowned cranes within their respective communities around the country.


Future plans for the RWCA include:

  • 6 educational events at schools along with the distribution of the RWCA conservation comic book, which aims to touch the lives of 4, 800 children.
  • Two workshops for local leaders around Rugezi Marsh and Akagera National Park.
  • A third national crane consensus to commence in August 2019.



RWCA has continued to carry out community education and engagement to conserve Rwanda’s endangered Grey Crowned Cranes. They work towards the long-term goal of ensuring there are no Grey Crowned Cranes in captivity in Rwanda. Below are some recent activities that the project has implemented:

6 comic book events have been held in primary schools, with two taking place near Rugezi marsh- a key habitat for the crane. RWCA distributed 2,717 comic books, reaching 5,784 children. In the events, RWCA team members talk to children about Grey Crowned Cranes and the need to protect them and their habitat. One of the key messages is teaching children that it is not okay to take crane eggs or chicks and that cranes should not be kept in captivity.

RWCA organised two workshops for local leaders and local security around Rugezi Marsh (202 participants) and Akagera National Park (162 participants). The workshops involved different presentations to refresh their knowledge about Grey Crowned Cranes and the importance of protecting the marshland/natural areas and to discuss the different challenges they face and possible community solutions to those problems.

RWCA successfully implemented the third national crane census. They had teams of staff and volunteers visiting the field all over the country to sight cranes as well as an aerial survey taking place over Akagera National Park and Rugezi marsh. The results were highky encouraging with 748 cranes sighted in total, up from 487 and 459 in previous years.


Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals:

Northern Rangelands Trust – Kenya

Northern Rangelands Trust – Kenya


There are currently 39 community conservancies covering 42, 000 square kilometres of northern and coastal Kenya, home to 320,000 people belonging to 18 different ethnic groups.  This territory is also home to an equally diverse array of wildlife including elephant, lion, giraffe, oryx, hirola and black rhino. This complex ecosystem offers a hub of potential for the type of change, growth and conservation awareness that the CCFA is proud to have supported. 

The NRT supports the management of community-owned land for the benefit of livelihoods, focusing on sustainable enterprise directly or indirectly related to conservation. Key focus points include good governance, wildlife, enterprise security and peace, rangelands and marine. 

To date 71, 000 people have benefitted from the Conservancy Livelihood Fund.

  • 700 women participated in peace-building training, from which they were historically excluded. This inclusion has highlighted the importance of the role of women in de-escalating conflict and positively influencing their sons and husbands.
  • Last year only 3 elephants were poached in the NRT landscape Centre; the lowest recorded number following a decreasing trend during which a 97% drop in elephants poached for ivory between 2012 and 2018 was noted.
  • More than 420 youths were engaged in conservancy initiative awareness, while over 850 youths were involved in dialogue meetings around key rangeland and peace issues.

Latest Update

The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) was supported by CCFA in celebration of NRT’s 15th anniversary in 2019.  NRT started with just nine member conservancies back in 2004 and entered this new decade with 39 members strong.  While the member conservancies are home to many different ethnic groups, landscapes and wildlife, one thing that unites them all is a central mission to act as indigenous institutions – to support the management of community-owned land for the benefit of improving livelihoods.
2019 was a particularly triumphant year for community-led livelihoods development in conservancies, with the BeadWORKS businesswomen earning a 94% increase in income compared to 2018, over 3,000 students receiving bursaries, and over 740 youth and women accessing vocational training through their conservancies. NRT made significant investments in tourism infrastructure and the Conservancy Livelihoods Fund to link improved livelihoods to better conservation.
Indeed, indigenous-led endangered species conservation continues to break new ground and gain worldwide recognition. The endangered Hirola in Ishaqbini Community Conservancy in Garissa County are thriving under community stewardship, and the first of Reteti’s rescued elephants were returned to the wild (and are now interacting with wild herds). Sightings of Grevy’s zebra and elephant in conservancies are increasing too.  CCFA are happy to see that NRT are moving toward strengthening connectivity across the landscape through community conservancy networks – opening up ancient migration routes for so many species once again.

While 2019 certainly didn’t come without its challenges – the rain did not come until very late in the year and the majority of conservancies were suffering from a prolonged dry period – NRT continue to work with community conservancies, partners and County Government to build resilience and capability to weather climatic, political, and other storms.

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals:

Conservation through Public Health – Uganda

Conservation through Public Health – Uganda


The CTPH project takes a unique approach to gorilla conservation in Uganda by focusing not only on gorilla health but also that of humans and livestock; people and livestock living in close proximity to each other pose a high risk of disease transmission.  This project has overseen the development of a permanent Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Center. Funding from the CCFA enabled the CTPH project to further expand and strengthen its gorilla health monitoring work.

Latest Updates

The CTPH Community Health program was significantly scaled up and strengthened, having proven the concept through an earlier pilot phase. An additional 239 Village Health and Conservation Team volunteers (VHCTs) were added to the existing 31 VHCTs in 6 Parishes around Bwindi.
These newly initiated VHCTs were trained on key health and conservation issues to support their community outreach activities and household visits around Bwindi. Priority issues include: prevention of transmissible disease (including, importantly, cross-species transmission); hygiene and sanitation; proper waste disposal; family planning (including the distribution of appropriate family planning methods such as injectable contraceptives which have been very well received); energy saving stoves and tree planting.
VHCTs also play a very important role in referring community members with health concerns for further medical assistance. All 270 VHCTs were also trained on the modalities for revenue sharing from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). UWA allocates 20% revenue of park entrance collections and $10 raised from the sale of each gorilla tracking permit to communities living on the outskirts of the gorilla habitats, helping to distribute benefits more evenly and build respect and understanding for gorillas amongst the community members best placed to impact either positively or negatively on their survival.

The work of VHCTs in communities around Bwindi has contributed to an increased uptake of voluntary family planning amongst women in the Bwindi communities from 22% in 2007 to 67% in 2017, considerably overtaking the national average which increased from 24% to 48% in the same ten-year period.
Under the Gorilla Health monitoring component of CTPH’s work, funding has enabled continued collection of wildlife, livestock and human faecal samples for zoonotic diseases analysis at the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Center. Community volunteers- aptly named ‘Gorilla Guardians’- and park rangers are trained in non-invasive collection of faecal samples from Gorilla nests as well as in clinical observation of wild gorillas to identify any health concerns. Gorilla Guardians are also trained in strategies to safely herd gorillas which have strayed out of the park boundaries back to safety, thereby avoiding potential human-gorilla conflict. In 2018, 114 out of 282 potential human wildlife conflicts were attended to – and prevented – by Gorilla Guardians.

2020 update

CTPH works to prevent human and wildlife interface disease transmission, therefore the team has turned its focus towards the prevention of COVID-19 transmission between humans and gorillas. Research on whether gorillas are susceptible to the virus is inconclusive. However, due to the fact that gorillas and humans have a 98% DNA match, the CTPH team has chosen to remain cautious in their interactions with the gorillas during the pandemic.

CTPH is urgently seeking funding in this time of crisis to support the Uganda Wildlife Authority in the following ways:

  1. Training of park staff to manage tourists and gorillas during the Coronavirus and other similar respiratory disease outbreaks. This includes ensuring the seven metre viewing distance is enforced; mandatory hand washing prior to trekking; disinfection of visitors prior to ape viewing; and masking during the viewing of great apes. The staff will also be trained to use infrared thermometers, for early detection of any illness.
  2. Training of park staff and Gorilla Guardians (who safely herd gorillas back to the park when they forage from community land) on the monitoring of gorilla health and signs to watch out for which could signify COVID-19 infection in Mountain Gorillas.
  3. Training of Village Health and Conservation Teams (who reach every home in their village with critical health, hygiene and conservation information), to help communities take measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in villages where gorillas forage on community land.
  4. Distribution of posters to display in key places around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to remind people of the guidelines on how communities can prevent themselves and gorillas from contracting COVID-19 (working closely with the Ministry of Health).

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals:

Integrated Rural Development – Namibia

Integrated Rural Development – Namibia


The People’s Park – one million hectares under protection

CCFA, together with partner, TUSK Trust, is pleased to have supported a conservation initiative in the Kunene region of Namibia. Ombonde People’s Park is a progressive version of a national park that has the potential, in phases, to put one million hectares of Namibia’s spectacular Kunene region under protection.

The Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) – the implementing partner for the People’s Park – has received funding from Tusk, the Oak Foundation and ourselves to finalise the management plans and a third conservancy has signed up. They are waiting for the new Wildlife Act to be passed, which will ensure the people’s Park model can be rolled out even further, depending on budget.

In a royal show of support for this initiative, HRH Prince William visited Kunene in September 2018 where he met with community leaders and government officials and was given an update of the project.

 TUSK’s mission is to amplify the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa. The charity identifies and invests in the best projects and partners with them in the long term.  TUSK approached CCFA because we are aligned in terms of believing that, ‘successful conservation is only possible if it is implemented at grass roots level.’ The donation totaled $64,750 (R1.2 million)

Kunene is home to desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, lion and cheetah, all vulnerable or threatened in Africa. What makes the People’s Park different from conventional national parks is that it builds on and enhances community ownership of wildlife and natural resources.  The People’s Park is another authentic partnership between community conservancies and the government.

Even prior to COVID-19 the area was in trouble. There has been a serious drought which has put community-based conservation in the region under severe threat. A series of domestic stock invasions into communal conservancies, core wildlife conservation and tourism zones, including black rhino habitats had also taken place.

Herders have been implicated in rhino poaching (amongst others) and pasture intended for wildlife has been degraded. Successful court actions against the invaders over a four-year period, coupled with meetings with traditional leaders, have broadly countered this threat. However, there is nothing to prevent similar occurrences in the future in drought-prone Kunene.

Tusk identified two of the worst affected conservancies to CCFA – Ehirovipuka and Omatendeka, then initiated and worked with IRDNC to find legal and mutually beneficial ways to consolidate the integrity of their exclusive wildlife and tourism zones. Majority support by conservancy members – including women, youth and traditional leaders – has been achieved by a community-based and led process over the past year.

The development of the Ombonde People’s Park as a land tenure model for Ehirovipuka and Omatendeka’s exclusive wildlife and tourism zones, could link the Skeleton Coast Park with Etosha National Park and even with Iona National Park in Angola. This would provide sustainable long-term protection for critically endangered rhino, elephant and other wildlife habitats and ensure that tourism, to these areas, directly benefits those communities that live with and near their wildlife.

The People’s Park model could be adapted and used elsewhere in Namibia and in other African countries. The project demonstrates a new way for communities to benefit from living sustainably with wildlife while, at the same time, strengthening wildlife conservation.

Tusk has worked with Garth Owen Smith (Winner of the 2015 Prince William Award) and Dr Margie Jacobsohn of IRDNC over the last few years providing the necessary funding to underwrite the community engagement and political process.