WWF TECHNICAL PROGRESS REPORT – IRDNC KUNENE
PART 1: GENERAL NARRATIVE REPORT
Project Title: Achieving Sustainability: Conservancy - based
Natural Resource Management Program – North
East and North West Namibia
International Project Number: NA000404
Reporting Period: 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008
1) Global Thematic Program, Ecoregional Targets or Global Policy Initiatives:
Priority ecoregion: #124 Namib Karoo Kaokoveld Deserts
2) Project Successes – major highlights
Improving the wildlife resource base and expanding resource management to other key natural resources.
(Outputs 2 & 3)
During the year important progress has been made in game translocation, wildlife monitoring systems and
conservancies diversifying beyond wildlife to managing and benefiting from other natural resources. Highlights
The 8th annual road-based game count was successfully conducted with all 14 target conservancies
playing an increasing role in organising and running the event. Results reflect a stable game population. A
decrease in kudu is most likely attributable to mortalities from the drought early in the year and possibly
rabies. Zebra showed an increase and this year‟s count recorded the highest number of springbok ever with
records of herds of up to 6000 being counted in the Omatendeka conservancy.
Two major wildlife translocations took place this year, reflecting government‟s confidence in
conservancies and as such are a major impact of this program. As a national first, six black rhinos (3♂; 2♀)
were reintroduced from the Palmwag concession and Etosha National Park to their historic home ranges in
the Ehirovipuka and Omatendeka conservancies north of the veterinary cordon fence. This was a joint SRT,
ICEMA, MET, IRDNC and conservancy initiative. The rhinos are under a close monitoring program and
they are all reportedly doing well.
The other translocation exercise by the MET, ICEMA, IRDNC and conservancies saw 35 black-faced
impala and 50 Burchells zebra successfully re-settled in the Ehirovipuka conservancy from neighbouring
Etosha National Park. The translocated animals are worth N$261,000 and N$115,000 respectively.
Lion problems are on the increase in western Kunene. In Anabeb conservancy lions are moving too
close to homesteads for farmers‟ comfort and in some cases are spending days and nights within close range
of kraals and houses. In Torra conservancy lions have been killing donkeys and other stock and latest
reports recorded a lion being seen on a donkey kill within 150 metres of the conservancy office in the main
village Bergsig at midday. Efforts to have some lions declared as problems for trophy hunting are underway
and good co-ordination with the Desert Lion Project is being maintained so that lions are managed by
conservancies rather than merely killed ad hoc. The increase in the lion population reflects increases in prey
With funds raised through the BBC, Chris Eyre, a retired conservation expert of the Ministry of
Environment and Tourism (MET) has been employed by IRDNC to focus on elephant migration into new or
previously occupied areas. His current emphasis is on upgrading water supply systems to mitigate conflicts,
as part of a longer term strategy to create elephant-safe corridors.
Effort has gone into building the skills of Community Game Guards in 22 conservancies to conduct
more effective foot patrols and produce better reports. The results were already evident during the quarterly
planning meetings where NRM staff prepared and presented much improved reports to members and
The HACCSIS scheme is now operating in six conservancies – Puros, Anabeb, Sesfontein,
Omatendeka, Ehirovipuka and Orupembe. Anabeb and Sesfontein will pay 50% of all claims. Ehirovipuka,
Omatendeka, Puros and Orupembe will receive support from IRDNC to cover 100% of claims this year,
with the amounts being capped. Better teamwork with MET as well as further support work is required to
ensure that a robust system for verifying, approving and paying claims is implemented, with Ehirovipuka
and Omatendeka in particular, presenting special challenges.
Progress in managing lions was made in Puros Conservancy which decided to use revenue from lion
related tourism to cover member‟s stock losses, thereby securing lions‟ presence in the conservancy. In
collaboration with Dr Flip Stander of the Desert Lion project, IRDNC and LIFE‟s transitional program
facilitated the establishment of a conservancy - based lion tourism pilot business that will see conservancy
guides being trained to use radio telemetry equipment to locate lions for paying tourist groups. Costs for the
first year are being split four-ways – between the conservancy, the Desert Lion project, IRDNC and LIFE‟s
Torra Conservancy has started working with their trophy hunting concessionaire to conduct own use and
shoot and sell hunting. This has reduced land-use conflict and the process is more efficient and cost
effective for the conservancy. Closer involvement of the Professional Hunter has also ensured that trophy
quality animals are not shot for meat purposes.
For the first time the Holistic Rangeland Management (HRM) team hosted a group of South African
experts to the project. The group included key figures in the South African HRM farming fraternity who
had previously hosted IRDNC staff and conservancy farmers on exposure trips. The visitors provided
invaluable, practical information at all the HRM pilot sites with a focus on bulls and cattle feeds.
As a further step in their commitment to planned grazing and herding, the farmers of Erora have opened
a bank account and have begun to set aside amounts of money to take over the support being provided to
their herders and for the maintenance of water points installed under the project. During field visits towards
the end of the project year, farmers in pilot sites pointed out areas where there is empirical evidence of veld
recovery and improvement.
Two documentary films „Grazing the Future‟ and „Cows and Boys‟ were produced by the HRM team.
The two films, made mainly for education and outreach purposes, have been shown in Namibia, South
Africa, Mongolia and the USA and have been very well received. They were also instrumental in
convincing the board of ICEIDA, the Icelandic International Development Agency, to provide additional
funding for the HRM work.
The high value plant project took a large step forward with its first major harvest successfully
completed, with many lessons learned, in four conservancies. Five tons were collected, with 319 harvesters,
mostly women and girls, earning more than N$250 000. It is hoped that 10 tons will be harvested and sold in
the coming year. A card-based system has been established to monitor how resin harvesters are using their
income. This is being implemented by local conservancy staff and members. Survey results show that
income was largely used to buy food, an important necessity during the driest time of the year when milk
production is at its lowest.
IRDNC, in collaboration with its plant marketing specialist partner Centre for Research Information
Action in Africa, has been registered as a full member of Phytotrade Africa. This allows IRDNC and
conservancies to access essential technical expertise with regard to markets and contractual arrangements
for plant products.
IRDNC‟s triple bottom line approach – environmental, social and economic – in this perfume plant pilot
has been praised by partners and attracted higher prices for resin from ethical dealers.
Enterprise development bolsters earning to enable financial sustainability of conservancies (Output 4)
The number and scope of conservancy enterprises has continued to grow. A total of 30 joint ventures
agreements are now in place (hunting, lodge and traversing) with an additional four under negotiation. As a
result the earning capacity of conservancies has grown and the CBOs are steadily moving towards financial
During 2007, direct income to conservancy coffers from tourism joint venture partnerships increased by
85% (or N$994, 324) from N$1,171, 327 in 2006 to N$2,165,651. There are now 18 joint venture tourism
agreements in place. The contract between the Marienfluss conservancy and Lions-in-the-Sun was signed
during this period but development awaited the lease which was finally granted by the Kunene Land Board
in June. Tourism income forms the bulk of conservancy earnings and makes a significant contribution to
covering operational costs in these conservancies.
Puros Conservancy signed a joint venture agreement with Skeleton Coast Fly-In Safaris for its new
lodge at Leylandts drift on the Hoaruseb River. The lodge has created eight full time jobs and guarantees
N$100,000 per annum for the first three years.
Work on conservancy tourism enterprises under the European Union‟s Rural Poverty Reduction
Program (RPRP) is well underway. Two new high quality campsites (Sesfontein Figtree Campsite and
Kanamub Mountain Camp) were constructed. The Okaruhombo and Onjuva campsites (Marienfluss and
Orupembe conservancies) have received major face-lifts. Eight new jobs have been created. The remaining
work of the N$6.7 million project includes one more Kunene campsite, two Caprivi campsites and upgrading
of three existing lodges with new joint venture agreements.
Torra Conservancy and Wilderness Safaris Namibia have begun careful negotiations for the Damaraland
Camp contract. Having solicited advice from experts, Torra favour a contract based on % of turnover rather
than a shares or ownership deal. The contract should be in place by December.
In a landmark decision, the MET has awarded concession rights to the Omatendeka and Anabeb
conservancies for the Etendeka concession area and Ehirovipuka and #Khoadi - //Hôas for the Hobatere
concession areas. A draft Concession Tourism Development Plan has been presented and is now under
review by the stakeholders. A series of Business Plans for each possible enterprise within concessions is to
be developed. These plans will be submitted to MET by September 2008 in order for the Minister of MET
to award full concessions rights to the conservancies for an extended period of time. This is significant as it
allows the conservancies to negotiate and engage partners directly, and means that conservancies stand to
benefit more substantially from neighbouring concessions. In the case of Anabeb and Omatendeka in
particular much credit for the abundance of wildlife and lack of disturbance in the Etendeka concession must
be given to long standing community conservation commitments. Similar plans are in the pipeline for the
Palmwag concession area. All these concessions are intended to be part of the Kunene People‟s Park which
is under negotiation.
Trophy hunting partnerships are expanding with 12 agreements in place and eight currently operational.
Tenders for hunting in Puros and Uukolonkadhi/Ruacana resulted in successful agreements which also
reflect a 10-12% increase in trophy prices (recorded in U$). One such example is giraffe which have gone
from U$500 to U$1500 for 2008. Trophy hunting was the second highest contributor to conservancy cash
income during 2007 reflecting an increase of 38% from N$618, 115 in 2006 to N$853, 467. New contracts
in Okangundumba and Ozondundu are now operational.
Implementing the campsite management systems has greatly improved the record keeping of enterprise
income and expenditure and consequently better data is available. Profits from campsites in Puros,
Orupembe and Marienfluss (Okaruhombo) rose by 33% during 2007 to an amount of N$92,718.
During negotiations between Ozondundu and Okangundumba conservancies and the trophy hunting
partner a significant number of women from each conservancy delegation attended and participated. This is
seen to be a direct result of IRDNC‟s public speaking and communications workshops held for women in
Under its new committee, the Anabeb conservancy held discussions with African Eagle Safaris to
address the lack of compliance with terms of the joint venture agreement for exclusive sites at the Khowareb
campsite. Outstanding funds have now been paid to the conservancy and an agreement reached for the way
forward in honouring the contract.
Torra conservancy once again used its option to capture and sell live game. During August and
September 2007, a total of 763 springbok were sold for N$320 each earning the conservancy N$283,000 in
direct cash revenue.
CBNRM and conservancies mainstreamed as rural development mechanisms (Output 1, 5 & 7)
Supporting conservancies in reaching registration and growing to become sustainable local institutions is a key
focus. Achievements this period includes:
Torra Conservancy celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a well organized festival. A highlight was the
attendance of the new Minister of MET Ms Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. IRDNC and WWF were publicly
thanked by the conservancy, MET and the Regional Governor during their speeches. The new Minister later
thanked IRDNC personally. Both IRDNC directors gave speeches.
Leadership training was given to the chairpersons and their vices in all 13 registered conservancies (63
participants). The training included key staff members and examined the role that the chairperson should
play, the qualities and skill required and the support that is needed to do the job successfully. This
successful event allowed for discussion around very sensitive issues including power and accountability. It
was also an important opportunity for IRDNC to observe the low levels of understanding and skills that
exist and some of the key institutional issues that are causing tension and bottlenecks within conservancies.
Focus continued to be given to robust conservancy financial management. Eleven conservancies now
have formal systems in place with bank and cash books being maintained and financial reports generated.
Clear and accurate financial reports and budgets were presented and approved at the Ehirovipuka,
Sesfontein, Orupembe, Sanitatas, Okangundumba and Puros AGMs.
Anabeb members called for improvements to be made to the financial report at their AGM and an EGM
will be held to present the report and budget. In Torra, members instructed the committee to work back and
present a comprehensive report for the last five years and bring the members up to date with the current
situation. IRDNC has been working with Torra to clear the vast backlog in the books and excellent progress
has been made. Full reports will be ready for the AGM in August. It should be noted that the previous
chairman of Torra did not seek IRDNC‟s technical assistance and we were called in by the new chair.
Another breakthrough in Torra was the compilation and approval of the first proper budget for more
than six years.
IRDNC and MET staff supported Omatendeka, Anabeb and Ehirovipuka conservancies to secure
operational costs grants from the ICEMA project. The grants worth N$94,600, N$94,180 and N$88,780
respectively freed up critical WWF grant funds for support to Sesfontein, Sanitatas, Orupembe and Puros,
taking the pressure off newly earned funds.
Additionally, IRDNC signed a contract with ICEMA to provide support services to the three ICEMA
target conservancies. Support has focused on financial management, Integrated Ecosystem Management
(IEM) plans which are based on the existing Management Frameworks and Business/sustainability plans.
ICEMA has welcomed the relationship where their funds are put to good use by field based partners.
IRDNC has also been held up as an example and the MET has endorsed and is using reporting and
budgeting systems established by IRDNC Kunene across all grantees.
Conservancies continued to take up the costs of running their conservancies from IRDNC. Since July
2007 Marienfluss has become independent of grant funds. Puros conservancy continues to receive a small
but important contribution to fuel costs (5% of budget). Anabeb (62%), Sesfontein (80%), Omatendeka
(53%), Ehirovipuka (54%) and Orupembe (38%) are all making significant contributions to their operational
costs and have all set aside additional amounts of own income for community benefits, investments and
savings. Puros will be fully independent from July 2008.
Four internal conservancy disputes were resolved with the assistance of IRDNC and MET this period.
Puros conservancy held a successful General Meeting where a financial report was tabled and accepted and
a decision made to keep the current committee in place for another year. This decision showed a major shift
in attitudes of two local factions and a commitment to find common ground and move forward. The Anabeb
conservancy managed to overcome local politics and interference from the Traditional Authorities to
democratically elect a committee that is representative of the conservancy. In Okangundumba serious
tensions and conflict related to poor communication between the committee and outlying areas were
resolved with mediation by IRDNC. Conflicts in Kunene River were resolved with IRDNC facilitation.
Lina Kaisuma became the first female chairperson of a fast track conservancy when she was elected to
lead the Anabeb conservancy. Women are also playing a key role in the management of conservancy
finances with six women treasurers out of 13 registered conservancies.
AGM training is paying clear dividends although some support is still necessary. Over the last 12
months 11 conservancies held AGMS and the remaining 2 registered conservancies held GMs. In five
conservancies elections were conducted successfully. The Sesfontein AGM was attended by a visiting
delegation of 25 representatives from 19 conservancies across the country as well as staff of IRDNC Caprivi
and other partner NGOs. Very positive feedback was received from what was considered to be an
A breakthrough was made in the long standing delay in registration of Orupupa, Okongoro and
Otuzemba conservancies. The three conservancies decided to shift their eastern boundaries to the main
Kamanjab to Ruacana road and in so doing resolved the deadlock with leadership in the Omusati region.
This compromise now opens the way for these three conservancies to be registered.
Implementation of the management frameworks moved forward with a series of workshops on staff
management in Anabeb, Torra and Sesfontein with IRDNC coach Angela Howells. Her training of trainers
sessions enabled field staff to then lead the workshop in Puros. Staff policies are in now place in all four
conservancies and Anabeb conservancy has developed staff contracts and job descriptions for all staff.
IRDNC staff conducted a limited field survey on members‟ perceptions about conservancy benefits in
Sesfontein and Marienfluss conservancy. Results showed that both conservancies placed greater value on
non-cash forms of benefit with the empowerment, natural resource management and quality of life
enhancements provided by conservancies valued. IRDNC is part of a small national task team putting
together data and findings on benefits and poverty reduction within conservancies.
MET continues to lead its exemplary negotiation process towards the Kunene People‟s Park. The
technical committee (the six neighbouring conservancies, TAs, MET, Regional Council, IRDNC and SRT)
continues to work well together towards a model of co-management and income sharing that we believe
could revitalize the embattled protected areas movement in Africa. The recently completed tourism plan for
the park has indicated that it can add considerable value to conservancy earnings. One of IRDNC‟s directors
is on the technical committee with three other senior staff involved at community level.
IRDNC a learning and professional development partner (Output 5, 6 & 8)
A successful and formative mid term evaluation was conducted by WWF and IRDNC staff. Focusing
on “Managing Growth and Sustainability”, the evaluation concluded with a joint review and planning
session paving the way for the last two years of the current WWF contract as well as providing a framework
for IRDNC after 2010.
Staff and conservancy members‟ co - hosted with the WWF-LIFE PLUS program a WWF family visit
(Sweden Norway, Netherlands, International, SARPO, UK). The field trip and ensuing meetings contributed
to a common future vision for IRDNC and WWF UK as well as attracting funding and interest in the
national program from the other COs.
Five senior IRDNC staff members travelled to the UK to meet WWF UK and other key partners,
building on the successful WWK field visit to Kunene. The visit focused on raising awareness about the
Namibia program (IRDNC and conservancies), sharing lessons and experiences from the field and working
with WWF UK on future plans and requirements. IRDNC‟s presentation to DFID was particularly well
received, providing tangible evidence of the impact of DFID funds channelled through WWF.
A successful project evaluation trip was made by EED during early 2008. HRM and other IRDNC staff
took the EED delegation through the broader project area which was exposure that EED welcomed. As a
result, EED facilitated the revision of the current budget to incorporate the purchase of IRDNC‟s Opuwo
training centre and have recently reported that future support for IS work and HRM in Caprivi has been
approved in principle by EED.
An accidental fire at Wêreldsend camp during construction on SRT housing destroyed the training
centre and some surrounding vegetation. With funding raised by IRDNC from the French Embassy the
centre has now been rebuilt and limited renovations undertaken.
IRDNC was finally able to purchase its training centre, the Kunene Village campsite in Opuwo, after
protracted bureaucracy within the Opuwo Town Council. The camp has already become established as a
training facility in Opuwo and is also providing accommodation for IRDNC staff when in town. While
EED enabled IRDNC to purchase the land, the French Embassy provided some funding for phase one of
upgrading. Our Opuwo office will be moved to this camp as soon as upgrading has been completed, thus
saving rent and other costs.
Kunene staff received training and began implementing a staff performance management system.
Activities conducted during the training kick-started implementation of the system that will come in to full
operation in 2008.
A major focus on fund raising in the last period has secured an additional six grants for IRDNC from
partners other than WWF. In addition to ICEMA and EED funding mentioned above a small grant from
ICEIDA through the Icelandic Embassy is signed and underway. The Jack Osborne/BBC elephant
documentary raised funds that were successfully accessed from the BBC for the problem elephant
mitigation project. EU funds through the RPRP came on line as did support from the CBNRM Enterprise
Support Program (CESP) of VSO/EU and volunteer Penny George‟s placement with IRDNC has
strengthened the Enterprise Development team.
Angela Howells, IRDNC‟s staff mentorship consultant has taken on a temporary supervision and
support role for the Windhoek office filling a gap left as Karen Nott has focused on getting the plant project
off the ground. Two dedicated part-time accountants (Marietta and Willem Potgieter) now handle all
IRDNC‟s accounting and a number of new systems they have implemented have improved communications
and efficiency within IRDNC.
3) Progress on Activities and related financial issues
a) Progress Overview
Progress at main activity level has satisfactorily met work plan objectives to date. Some key activity progress
points are reported below. Full progress at activity level is provided in Part 2 of the report. Financial issues are
addressed in a separate financial report.
IRDNC is currently supporting 13 registered conservancies, 22 formally emerging conservancies and at
least two „ad hoc‟ conservancies that have just begun the process of information sharing and learning about
the legislation and opportunities. No conservancies were registered in Namibia during 2007 but two recent
applications were approved in May 2008 in south and central Namibia. The IS team has dedicated a staff
member to following up and facilitating the registration of conservancies. Progress in registering
conservancies was hampered by the METs calling for two new requirements for registration, benefit sharing
plans and a pro-forma “management plan”. Four applications are now complete and awaiting referral from
Opuwo to Head Office MET. IRDNC will be offering support to MET Opuwo to complete the 2 new
requirements which will enable a further five applications to be submitted to MET Opuwo
The bi-annual and annual conservancy Event Book audits took place seamlessly in 19 conservancies
across the target area, an indication that the system is running well. Conservancies successfully conducted
the pre-audit preparation on their own for the first time.
Under the RPRP funding, IRDNC and NACOBTA, with technical support from IRDNC‟s CESP
volunteer, have put focus onto skills building for the new enterprises. Three workshops on tourism
awareness and business training have been conducted with 34 representatives from the new enterprises and
their conservancies. In addition two exchange visits were undertaken providing exposure for 27
IRDNC has been proactive in linking with several initiatives to drill boreholes in the north west of
Namibia. The HRM project has worked with ICIEDA to ensure linkages between approximately 30
boreholes being provided by their project to planned grazing and better range management. However three
other boreholes intended as alternative game waters in three conservancies failed to produce sufficient flow,
thus delaying key game translocations.
As part of a commercialisation trial, IRDNC and CRIAA facilitated the purchase of one tonne of
mopane seed in the Sesfontein conservancy. Collected and sold predominately by women and elderly
people, harvesters were paid N$2/kg and a total of N$2000 was earned. The ICEMA project is funding the
purchase of a still to extract the essential oils and this machinery will be used for both the mopane and
Commiphora oil extraction. This will add considerable value to the products.
Plans to implement an “area based” support system to conservancies and has been discussed and
approved by staff. Provisional plans are underway that will allow the program to streamline support,
operate more efficiently on current resources and have greater levels of accountability and performance with
Eight representatives from seven different conservancies earned First Aid certification in Windhoek, a
further qualification towards gaining their licences as Hunting Guides. All eight have passed their theory
Work to support the Polytechnic of Namibia continued with the 10 B. Tech students and 30 Land
Management students being hosted for field courses at Wêreldsend. Exam setting, marking and moderation
for CBNRM modules were conducted. A student from Cape Town Technicon is supporting the plant
Four sets of quarterly planning meetings were held as scheduled. Conservancies with management
frameworks (14) have now aligned their quarterly planning and reports with the structure and contents of the
framework. Red Cross provided well received HIV & AIDS awareness activities during the July meetings,
demonstrating how mainstreaming can be done.
Twelve radio programs were made providing information on current conservancy activities. A new
strategy to improve content and delivery will be implemented in the next six months.
4) Problems and Constraints
Failures, problems or constraints include the following:
Conflicting government plans within conservancies
A potentially high value tourism area of Ehirovipuka conservancy has been surveyed and divided – on the map -
into small farms for possible resettlement purposes. The area runs adjacent to Etosha National Park and is one
of the conservancy‟s key options for a joint venture lodge with two potential investors. The conservancy has
sent a petition to the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement (MLR) and a meeting held with the Under Secretary of
MLR went well.
New requirements and lack of technical capacity in MET delay applications
After a year of not registering any new conservancies, MET has formalised the requirement of two additional
documents to conservancy applications, a benefit distribution plan and a “management plan”. This caused yet
another delay to the finalisation of two sets of applications for submission to MET Opuwo. One set of four is
now complete and submitted and IRDNC has resolved to offer to provide logistic and technical support to MET
to speed up the requirements in other emerging areas.
Conservancy hunting options require support and monitoring
The shoot and sell hunting option for conservancies is not running optimally. Lack of contracts, poor systems
for handing income and sub standard hunting itself is occurring. In early August IRDNC will be meeting with
partners to discuss and implement more controlled use of quotas in this way to mitigate the negative impact
Management of different types of tourism within conservancies
Managing the interests and needs of different tourism operators within conservancies is becoming an urgent
priority. Cases of conflict between photographic and hunting tourism as a result of poor collaboration and
communication have occurred. Conservancies, MET, NGOs will be meeting to explore ways to balance needs
and interest of different stakeholders. Both this and the above challenge are the result of rapid growth of the
Extremely low literacy hampers good governance
The new treasurer in Marienfluss conservancy is the only person in the area with sufficient skills to prepare,
present and understand the basic financial system. With the conservancy earning considerable cash income,
there is still little demand for accountability by members. IRDNC and MET have resolved to prioritise support
for Marienfluss and find options that do not rely on reading and writing skills.
Ageing vehicle fleet, rough conditions and unprecedented petrol price hikes
IRDNC continues to be challenged by the costs involved in running a large vehicle fleet with a number of
ageing and expensive to maintain vehicles. In addition, several petrol prices hikes occurred this period meaning
that resources are under unprecedented strain and less can be achieved with the same amount of money.
Stock disease at pilot grazing site
Poisonous plants caused the death of more than 30 cattle at one of the pilot grazing areas in Okangundumba
conservancy. This conservancy is currently the most successful example of planned grazing and combined herd
grazing and this outbreak has been a major loss for farmers. In spite of this, farmers are continuing to combine
herds and conduct the planned grazing.
Conservancy success and politics
As conservancies experience success their profile is raised and more external interference and agenda-seeking
by individuals, internal and external to the conservancy, has been experienced. As Namibia prepares for
presidential elections in 2009 political campaigning is compounding the issue. IRDNC will continue to support
committees and local leadership to resolve misunderstandings and be proactive in heading off conflicts.
Illegal traders cause environmental and social problems within conservancies
The presence of illegal traders in remote conservancies is becoming an increasing problem. Some traders bring
in only alcohol and then take out animals traded. Apart from littering and increased alcohol use, illiterate
conservancy members are swapping their animals for alcohol which is only a fraction of the true value of these
animals. Although this is not a new problem, conservancies potentially provide a forum for educating members
and addressing such issues.
5) Unexpected effects
Reshuffle of Minster, Permanent Secretaries, loss of key MET staff
Cabinet implemented a reshuffle of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in a number of ministries – an
unprecedented move for PS positions not previously viewed as political. Thus new relationships must be forged
with the new incumbents. This is well underway.
6) Learning and sharing
Boundaries between support agency and CBO need clarity
Despite its close relationship with conservancies, IRDNC has to be clear that it is not responsible for the actions
and decisions of conservancies. Partners and other stakeholders often hold IRDNC accountable for problems
experienced rather than recognising the conservancy as an autonomous management unit. Striking the balance
still requires work.
Tourism Operator track record important
With 30 joint venture agreements in place in Kunene conservancies real differences in the good intent and
credibility of individual operators are emerging. Following up references and assessing an investor‟s track
record prior to signing is critical and an important support role.
Concept papers as a resource
IRDNC staff wrote a series of „concept papers‟ to assist evaluators with background information and data for the
WWF mid term evaluation. The exercise saw the production of over 20 papers that document many of the key
methodologies, lessons and recommendations of IRDNC‟s work over the last 20 years. These papers are being
shared with partners and have been praised as a valuable record and resource.
Staff sharing skills across regions
IRDNC staff from Kunene and Caprivi have twice met to share experiences in the past year. In a pre evaluation
meeting, staff discussed important issues and shared ideas for future responses. The evaluation review and
planning meeting were also an invaluable opportunity for internal learning and sharing. At the same time the
Kunene team continued to benefit from increased cross team partnerships and support.
Contributions to IDWG Good Governance workshop
IRDNC staff from both regions made a major contribution to a national level workshop on Good Governance
within Conservancies. IRDNC staff prepared and presented seven case studies highlighting key institutional
issues, the steps taken to deal with them, lessons learned and recommendations for partners. These case studies
are being compiled in a national document on best practice and lesson learned re Conservancy Good
Tender process the best option for awarding hunting concessions
Conducting an open and transparent tender process has proved the best way to advertise, review and award
conservancy trophy hunting concessions. This process has been implemented in four conservancies in Kunene
this period, allowing conservancies to make measured decisions as to whom to select as hunting partners.
Ensuring exclusivity needs to be structured and negotiated
With increasing opportunities for private sector partners to work with conservancies in the north-west, some
existing operators are demanding exclusivity and there is potential conflict between different land uses in
conservancies (trophy hunting, lodges and live sale). This has to be overcome by zonation planning and
structured negotiations to ensure that both operator and conservancy stand to win.
Follow up is essential
Although capacity is stretched to service all conservancies, IRDNC staff again acknowledge the importance of
follow up and support to training and other interventions. This applies to all conservancies, including those that
are financially independent which experience has shown, still require some support.
Managing relationships with partners
IRDNC is one of a number of agencies supporting local development issues in conservancies. It has been
observed that unless we actively engage and dovetail activities with these partners (particularly non conservation
ones) this may work against IRDNC achieving its objectives. Time and effort therefore has to be put into
managing these relationships.
7) Adaptive management
As mentioned above, with soaring fuel prices and repair costs, IRDNC has continued its efforts to strategically
manage resources. More emphasis on cross team collaboration, an area -based approach and better
communication is required to ensure the best possible use of limited resources, specially vehicles. In some cases
travel and vehicle use will simply have to be cut to allow resources to stretch across the project. Central venues
– Wereldsend and the new Opuwo training base - will be valuable to reduce travel costs and resources from
IRDNC‟s new small grants will be directed to easing the current problem.
8) Communication and stories
Chris Eyre, now working with IRDNC, was awarded the Ministry of Environment and Tourism‟s
Lifetime Achievement Award for conservation in Namibia.
IRDNC staff both facilitated the production and appeared (5) in the NACSO CBNRM documentary film
“By the People, For the People: Community and Conservation in Namibia.”
IRDNC contributed two articles to Namibia‟s 2008 “Conservation” magazine.
Staff submitted an article on IRDNC to Roan News (magazine of the Wildlife Society of Namibia) for
their special edition on conservation NGOs.
Torra conservancy and IRDNC staff hosted a ground-truthing visit by the MCC team to Torra
conservancy. The visit was instrumental in securing the allocation of funds for conservancy work
Senior staff member Benny Roman gave a case study paper on Damaraland Camp at the Africa Safari
Lodges conference held in South Africa.
Kunene staff gave a presentation on conservancies to the President during a SWAPO Star Rally in
The 2007 State of Conservancy report was given major support and inputs by IRDNC staff
IRDNC received national press coverage for the award of the EU RPRP grant for tourism development.
Kunene staff hosted Kate Studd of WWF UK and Dilys Roe of IIED looking at livelihood issues in
Two special radio programs by Assistant Director John Kasaona on IRDNC‟s work and progress were
broadcast on Ojiherero radio.
IRDNC and fellow NACSO Management committee members met with parliamentarians to raise
awareness of CBNRM in Namibia.
Members of Communal Land Boards in Caprivi, Kunene, Erongo, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and
Oshikoto received training in CBNRM delivered by John Kasaona in partnership with NACSO
Staff attended a number of meetings and gave inputs to the US Millennium Challenge (MCC) potential
investment process in Namibia.
HRM staff gave a well received presentation at the Annual Namibia Rangeland Forum Conference.
Two short documentary films were produced and disseminated by the HRM team on the grazing and
herding work in Kunene.
IRDNC and conservancy staff hosted the board of WWF US in a very successful visit to the Kunene
Visitors from WWF Mongolia were hosted by Kunene staff and conservancies.
IRDNC took part in an important workshop on trophy hunting concession management in communal
areas held between support agencies, private sector (including NAPHA) and MET partners.
The HRM project has engaged and begun meeting regularly with the Kunene Communal Farmers
9) Future issues and challenges
Four key challenges face the Kunene program.
Strengthen the financial sustainability of conservancies through work on Financial Sustainability
plans and ensuring a link to income generating plans and activities
Build on current support and progress with governance and internal accountability in conservancies
(particularly the management of own finances and AGMs).
Continue to address human-wildlife conflict in conservancies with both high and low income
Demonstrate ability to restore rangelands upon which conservancy members livelihoods depend
Other challenges include:
Managing the negative impacts of increased tourism (waste, “sex tourism‟) in Kunene
Assist conservancies to develop zonation plans to avoid land-use conflicts – eg. Hunting vs non-
Providing closer support for the HACCSIS claims and verification process
Tracking and demonstrating how conservancies contribute to improved quality of life
Assisting conservancies to follow budgets and plans and increase fiscal discipline
Support conservancies to improve vehicle management – a key sustainability issue
Motivate conservancies to maintain high standards of campsites to keep them viable long term
Facilitate improved management and implementation of hunting contracts
Design and implement monitoring systems for the HRM work
Encourage joint venture agreements to operate without external support
Proactive and rapid response to conservancy conflict situations
Dedicate resources to follow through 15 pending applications for conservancy registration
Put in place fire mitigation measures in HRM pilot areas
Prioritise and align staff in the best way to respond to increasing demand with decreasing resources
Manage an increasing portfolio of small and medium grants to IRDNC
10) Overall assessment of project
Overall the project is well on track, although attention during the next period will be required to ensure that
support and synergy within and between IRDNC‟s staff teams is entrenched and that IRDNC fosters the positive
relationship that has been built with MET.
Report completed by:
Name Kunene Senior Management Forum – consolidated by Anna Davis
Position title Technical Coordinator
AGM Annual General Meeting
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
CBNRM Community-based natural resource management
EED Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienste
CRIAA Centre for Research Information Action in Africa
CESP CBNRM Enterprise Support Program
DFID Department for International Development
EGM Extraordinary General Meeting
EU European Union
HACCSIS Human animal conflict conservancy self-insurance scheme
GM General Meeting
HWC Human Wildlife Conflict
HRM Holistic Resource Management
ICEMA Integrated Community Based Ecosystems Management
ICEIDA Icelandic International Development Agency
IDWG Institutional Development Working Group
IIED International Institute for Environment and Development
IS Institutional Support
LIFE Living in a Finite Environment
MCA Millennium Challenge Account
MCC Millennium Challenge Corporation
MET Ministry of Environment and Tourism
MLR Ministry of Lands and Resettlement
MTA Materials Transfer Agreement
NACOBTA Namibian Community based Tourism Association
NACSO Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations
NAPHA Namibian Professional Hunters Association
NGO Non-governmental organization
NRM Natural Resource Management
RPRP Rural Poverty Reduction Program
SARPO Southern African Regional Programme Office (WWF)
SRT Save the Rhino Trust
VSO Voluntary Service Oversees
WSN Wilderness Safaris Namibia
WWF Worldwide Fund for Nature