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 2008 to 30 June 2009
1) Global Thematic Program, Ecoregional Targets or Global Policy Initiatives:
Priority ecoregion: #124 Namib Karoo Kaokoveld Deserts
2) Project Successes – major highlights
Five conservancies harvesting Commiphora resin
Five conservancies (Marienfluss, Orupembe, Sanitatas, Puros and Okondjombo) harvested and sold Commiphora
resin during the second commercial season. A total of 6,094 tonnes of resin was bought and N$304, 270 paid out
to 275 harvesters (140 ♀; 135 ♂). The involvement of conservancies has improved noticeably with committees
and staff taking full responsibility for the weighing and purchase of the resin. A management fee of N$25,045 was
paid to four conservancies for these services at the start of the season (Orupembe, Sanitatas, Marienfluss and
Two conservancies gazetted by MET
Otjambangu (345km²) and Okondjombo conservancy (1,645 km²) were legally gazetted in March 2009 and
August 2008 respectively. This brings the Kunene total of registered conservancies supported by IRDNC to 15,
with 20 emerging. These conservancies are two of just five new conservancies registered in the last two and a half
years despite numerous pending applications. Nationally, the 55 registered conservancies now cover
approximately 129 867 km² and include more than 230 000 members and their families.
Holistic Rangeland Management documentary exceeds expectations
The short, modest documentary on the HRM project made in 2007 has become a major learning tool for IRDNC
and partners. The DVD was recently edited to include an endorsement and call for national adoption of HRM by
Namibia‟s Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and shown at the UN Summit for the
Convention on Sustainable Development (CSD) in Windhoek and New York. IRDNC‟s inputs at these events
resulted in rangeland management being put on the UN‟s African Development Agenda. The conference called for
a “rainbow” approach to resource management rather than a conventional, single strategy “silver bullet”. The
DVD has been translated into 5 local languages (one for Kenya), and is being used by a range of Namibian
(NACSO, Polytechnic, Emerging Farmers Support Programme) and international (Heifer International) partners.
New tourism enterprises completed and earning well for conservancies
Excellent progress continued under the European Union RPRP funding. The Puros Bush Lodge became
operational this period and has generated N$28, 880 to date. Four full time staff have been employed (2 males + 2
females) and 2 casual staff (females) are contracted for laundry duties. An extra N$10,800 per quarter is being
generated in direct benefits to community members.
Seven conservancies benefit from game re-introductions
Funded by ICEMA, with logistic support from IRDNC, game was translocated to Anabeb (70 kudu), Ozondundu
(48 eland), Omatendeka (50 kudu), Ehirovipuka (18 giraffe and 47 Burchell‟s zebra), Okangundumba (8 giraffe,
55 Hartmann zebra and 40 oryx), Kunene River (100 black – faced impala, 24 giraffe, 72 kudu, 50 oryx and 39
Hartmann zebra), and Uukolonkadhi/Ruacana (54 Hartmann zebra, 52 kudu and 108 oryx). Minor mortalities and
minimal return movement were reported.
Key progress on Kunene People‟s Park negotiations
Continued effort has gone into the planned Kunene People‟s Park whereby neighbouring conservancies will get
tourism concessions. Having been excluded from the Hobatere concession area, Ehirovipuka has now secured its
own concession rights at the edge of Etosha National Park with signed consent with neighbouring conservancies in
place. The conservancy has also lodged a letter of intent with MET for a concession site within ENP.
The Etendeka concession went to Anabeb and Omatendeka. Tourism plans for the park and concessions were
presented to the park‟s technical committee on which IRDNC is represented. Sesfontein, Anabeb and Torra are
negotiating with WSN regarding the Palmwag concession and a new proposal is to be tabled shortly. IRDNC
played a key role in these negotiations, maintaining its firm position that the value of the tourism options in this
concession were being seriously underestimated. This resulted in input from external consultants to assess market
values and conservancies are now likely to earn a far better deal.
3) Progress on Activities and related financial issues
a) Progress Overview
Progress at main activity level has satisfactorily met work plan objectives to date. Significant activity progress points are
reported below. Financial issues are addressed in a separate financial report.
Improving the wildlife resource base and expanding resource management to other key natural resources.
(Outputs 2 & 3)
Important progress was made with human wildlife conflict management, wildlife monitoring systems and conservancies
diversifying beyond wildlife to managing and benefiting from other natural resources. Achievements include:
1. Human Wildlife Conflict
The HACCSIS scheme is now operating in six conservancies – Puros, Anabeb, Sesfontein, Omatendeka,
Ehirovipuka and Orupembe. New agreements have been signed with each conservancy where IRDNC and the
conservancy will contribute 50% each of an agreed budget (approximately N$40,000 per conservancy). Earlier
this period the system was reviewed and a large number of claims rejected by conservancies during this contract
period (Jan. – Dec. 2008). A total of 356 claims were accepted (217 goats, 113 cattle, 11 sheep, 15 donkeys).
IRDNC contributed up to its contracted ceiling amount (N$97, 050) to the payment of claims and covered full
costs for Puros, Orupembe and Anabeb for their pilot period.
Chilli project trial plots were established in two crop gardens (Omatendeka and Okangundumba) with the
application of three different methods of using chilli products. The use of chilli grease proved the most effective
deterrent for elephants and a second phase of trials is still to be undertaken.
2. Wildlife monitoring and management; elephant corridors
The 8th annual road-based game count poster was completed and disseminated. Numbers mostly remained stable
with a small increase in springbok and mountain zebra from the previous four years and a drop off in kudu and
steenbok numbers. These fluctuations are considered to be a result of good general rains which resulted in animal
migration. Trends show stability and slight increases.
The annual event book audit took place in 18 of the 19 participating conservancies. Conservancy participation
notably improved, with the majority taking the initiative to complete the process ahead of the audit date and
technical support visit. Ten conservancies scored “very good” and 8 “fair” during the assessment.
Consultation and planning for a more robust and participatory process for quota setting took place at a national
level. IRDNC staff worked with MET, WWF and other partners to review the process that was decentralised by
MET to regional staff in November 2008.
Human wildlife conflict consultant to IRDNC, Chris Eyre1, has made good progress with improvement and
installation of water points in Kunene, relating to both elephant corridors, tourism and farming needs. To date five
existing boreholes have been assessed and upgraded and seven new ones drilled (2 dry). Numerous repairs and
service schedules have been undertaken for pumps and equipment at various water points. Strategic work has been
undertaken at water points that form the main entry and exit points for elephant to the Kunene and potential
weaknesses have been addressed. Three elephant protection systems have been installed at water points in the
3. High Value Plants
Ximenia resource inventories were completed in five conservancies (Etanga, Otjitanda, Okangundumba, Epupa
and Okonguati) with 97 transects completed and 180 people interviewed. Results revealed that the X. americana
Funded by the BBC grant
resources are of a reasonable abundance in Otjitanda and Etanga, both conservancies with limited wildlife
resources and where this resource could provide a valuable, alterative source of income.
Two tons of mopane seed were harvested in Sesfontein and Anabeb conservancies. The first samples of essential
oil have been received and with the help of Phytotrade Africa the relation with the South African company is being
Two new markets for the Commiphora resin have been identified and negotiations are in progress. This involves
Australian company Mount Romance which supplies the incense and scented candle market and South African
producer of natural fragrances House of Mirr.
An important milestone for the conservancy perfume enterprise was the first commercial sale of Commiphora
resin. The heads of Estee Lauder subsidiary cosmetic companies, Ojon and Aveda, that purchase resin from buyer
BeHave, were hosted on a successful visit to the remote project area. Remarkably, this was the first site visit
beyond New York made by the head of Ojon in her 15 years with Estee Lauder.
During December 2008, the application for European Union Product Registration for Commiphora essential oil
was completed and submitted. This registration allows legal trade within Europe.
In a first for Kunene conservancies, Marienfluss, Sanitatas, Orupembe and Puros earned their portion of income
from Commiphora sales, over and above what their harvesters were paid last year. An amount of N$25, 045 was
paid out once conservancy committees and harvesters had decided on how the funds would be best used in each
Institutionalising the Commiphora harvesting within conservancies was strengthened this season. Pre-harvest
meetings were held between conservancy committees and harvesters in each of the five conservancies to iron out
past problems and plan for the new season. A formal system of registering harvesters and supplying them with
conservancy harvester‟s cards was completed. Sixty-four new harvesters have joined the teams.
4. Holistic Rangeland Management
The two pronged monitoring system for the HRM project has been developed and is being implemented. A draft
Local Level Monitoring (LLM) system was set up with input from ethnographer/consultant Michael Bollig. Five
grazing areas were visited and farmers provided key issues for inclusion in the system. Field testing is to begin in
the next period. The local biological monitoring (science based) system was also developed this period and
implementation started in 8 areas.
Training in prevention and management of fires and use of fire - fighting equipment was given to HRM staff by
Chris Eyre. With another year of exceptionally good rainfall in arid Kunene, grass fires are a real threat to grazing
areas and preventative action is required.
All three original pilot sites (Ondova/Otjikango; Omau and Erora) continued herding throughout the year,
reflecting two positive shifts - that with planned grazing and herding there was sufficient grass in each area to
continue herding and secondly, the commitment of farmers in these sites to applying HRM practice and principles.
IRDNC formed part of a team of experts giving inputs into Namibia‟s National Rangeland Management strategy.
As a result, HRM principles and practice approaches are prominent in the final draft strategy.
After four years of implementation, the HRM project is working in six conservancies (Epupa, Okangundumba,
Okongoro, Ehirovipuka, Otjambangu, and Orupembe) and with one additional community in Omusati region.
The project provides support to 11 grazing committees in these areas, seven of whom are implementing planned
grazing. A further two areas are being considered in Ehirovipuka and Omatendeka conservancies.
Four exchange visits were hosted by HRM staff, participating farmers and TAs this period. A-22 person Caprivian
delegation (TAs, conservancy members, IRDNC Caprivi and MAWF) visited Kunene. The other three groups
comprised local farmers (Marienfluss, Ehirovipuka, and Omusati), communal farmers from the Otjozondjupa
region, HRM practitioners from Kenya (Grevy‟s Zebra Trust) and commercial farmers from Khomas and
Otjozondjupa. One group from the commercial farm Krumhuk, who have been involved with HRM for many
years, found their trip the motivating factor to begin herding on their farm and have recently opened their herding
school on the farm south of Windhoek.
Kunene staff compiled and submitted two proposals to EED, one to extend the HRM project into Caprivi beyond
its current pilot phase and a second to extend the Kunene project into a third phase. The Caprivi proposal was
approved and began in January 2009 and approval has been given for the Kunene extension project.
With EED funding the purchase of the Kunene Village Rest Camp as an IRDNC training base in Opuwo was
finalised. Phase one of renovations were completed with assistance from the French Embassy.
Enterprise development bolsters earning to enable financial sustainability of conservancies (Output 4)
The number and scope of conservancy enterprises continues to grow. A total of 31 joint ventures agreements are now in
place (hunting, lodge and traversing) with an additional four under negotiation. This has increased the earning capacity of
conservancies and the CBOs are steadily moving towards financial sustainability.
A long standing dispute between the Epupa Conservancy and the local Chief has been resolved and a benefit
sharing agreement reached that will provide a fee to the Chief from conservancy generated income. This now
paves the way for the three pending joint venture agreement between the conservancy and local tourism operations
to be finalised and signed.
Plans for the Onjuva Joint Venture lodge site are underway with site visits complete and plans drawn up. Pending
approval from the investing partner, development will go ahead in the next period.
Wilderness Safaris Namibia has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding for the Skeleton Coast Concession
and its four partner conservancies (Puros, Sanitatas, Orupembe and Okondjombo).
Sesfontein conservancy is negotiating with the MET for rights to run the Hoanib river access gates and earn
income from entry fees for the conservancy.
Orupembe conservancy‟s new joint venture “House on the Hill” has been finalised and is to be signed shortly.
Work on the site is near complete and the venture will begin operating shortly
Own use hunting was conducted in Puros, Orupembe, Sesfontein, Anabeb, Marienfluss, Torra, Omatendeka,
Ehirovipuka, Okangundumba, Ozondundu, and Sanitatas.
Premium hunting took place in Puros and Orupembe earning the conservancies an additional N$24,426 and
The 12th trophy hunting contract in Kunene conservancies was signed with Puros conservancy. The two-year
contract is worth US$15,720 per annum excluding benefits from salaries, training and problem animal quotas.
The required Environmental Management Plans for all sites under the EU RPRP funding were completed with
recommendations by a consultant to IRDNC. A number of recommendations have already been implemented.
During this period IRDNC supported campsites have recorded increased income and improved performance (with
the exception of Marienfluss). Upgraded Puros campsite earned N$286 030; upgraded Onjuva campsite N$38
560, two new Sesfontein campsites (Fig tree and Kanamub site) N$35 630, new Otjihende campsite N$25 880 and
upgraded Marienfluss N$34 050. Between the 6 campsites 17 jobs have been created for conservancy members.
During the construction of the joint venture lodge in Marienfluss, the campsite has been used by the construction
team and has received few actual tourists. IRDNC staff members are pursuing this matter.
KCS – Kunene Conservancy Safaris – an ethical tourism product which has been tested over several years by
IRDNC, target conservancies and a private donor was launched early in the 2009 with private investment. A
managing director (MD) has been appointed, a legally registered trust is being established, assets procured and
pre-marketing conducted. IRDNC Directors and the KCS MD visited each target conservancy (Orupembe,
Sanitatas, Okondjombo, Marienfluss and Puros) and all agreed to become partners in this new conservancy owned
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 include:
Steady progress is being made in supporting the 20 emerging conservancies in Kunene. Two finalised applications
have now been forwarded to the MET Head Office in Windhoek (Orupupa and Otjitanda). A further eight
applications are now completed and with the regional MET office (Opuwo) for endorsement. Unfortunately the
two MET staff responsible for CBNRM with whom IRDNC had an excellent relationship have left Opuwo (one
resignation and one transferred) and neither have been replaced.
Five conservancies (Torra, Marienfluss, Sesfontein, Okangundumba and Ozondundu) have made excellent
progress in clearing old bookkeeping backlogs. With the exception of Marienfluss which is still in progress, all the
conservancies had brought their books to balance by the end of May 2009, clearing a seven-year backlog in Torra
(covering a period when the conservancy chose to operate without NGO support) and a four year delay in
Marienfluss. Although a number of issues remain to be resolved and rectified, the situation in both areas is now up
to date and transparent for committees and members to focus on.
Formal financial management systems are now established in 14 of the 15 registered conservancies with training
and systems in place in five more conservancies this year (Sanitatas, Kunene River, Okondjombo, Okangundumba
and Epupa). Monthly support sessions are held in Opuwo. Whilst all 14 conservancies are maintaining their cash
and bank books well, greater focus needs to be given to improved planning, monitoring and decision making.
During FY09 IRDNC reduced its grant support in Kunene by 19 % and will reduce by 21 %.from FY10 (July
2009). Puros became financially independent and Anabeb, Omatendeka and Ehirovipuka are only receiving
assistance from ICEMA. To date, three conservancies are fully independent (Torra, Marienfluss and Puros) and
Sesfontein will join them from July 2009. During this year five have made significant contributions to management
costs with their own funds (Anabeb, Ehirovipuka, Orupembe, Omatendeka and Okangundumba). A growing
number of conservancies are seeing the importance of good financial management and putting more skilled people
in charge of day to day management, and in some cases hiring people from outside the conservancy.
With increasing pressure from members requiring clear and accurate reports, AGMs have improved significantly in
Kunene. This period, nine conservancies held their AGMs with four postponed to July and August 2009 to allow
for reports to given of the full financial year. At all nine recent AGMs, financial reports, budgets, Chairman‟s and
NRM reports were presented and approved by members, a significant step. A second round of training was given
to all registered conservancies to assist them in planning and running their AGMs.
An additional four conservancies (Okongoro, Otjambangu, Epupa and Okondjombo) now have management
frameworks in place bringing the total to 18. Epupa and Okongoro are not yet registered but both are of strategic
importance and managing a number of different resources. Both conservancies have key HRM pilot sites and
Epupa is earning income from a range of enterprises as well as being the centre of renewed focus as the Baines
Hydropower Dam EIA gets underway.
IRDNC continues to provide support for the resolution of local disputes. A boundary dispute between Puros and
neighbours at Otjkikongo was settled. A split leadership dispute that has threatened the progress of Etanga
conservancy was resolved, paving the way for finalising their conservancy application. Senior staff played pivotal
roles with local MET in handling various disputes in Torra and Sesfontein conservancy where communication
amongst the committee members and with other local stakeholders had broken down and causing conflict.
Fourteen of the Peer Educators from Anabeb, Torra and Sesfontein conservancies received training in monitoring,
evaluation and reporting from the NACSO HIV & AIDS project. The opportunity was used to review and revise
the Peer Educator activities for these three conservancies. Members of the conservancy management committees
and staff from Orupembe, Sanitatas, Puros, Marienfluss and Kunene River attended a workshop to formulate
HIV/AIDS policies and to draft implementation plans for these. Representatives from KRCA were also involved in
IRDNC a learning and professional development partner (Output 5, 6 & 8)
In March IRDNC moved its offices to new premises in central Windhoek. The new office is a far more suitable
venue and is close to banks and shops. Just before the move, IRDNC hired a new Office Manager who facilitated
the move and has proved to be an invaluable change to the office and IRDNC‟s central administration systems.
Two mini – evaluations were conducted this period, one on the grant support provided by IRDNC to the three
ICEMA target conservancies (Omatendeka, Anabeb and Ehirovipuka). IRDNC was commended for its strong
relationship with the MET and target conservancies and scored highly in the process. The second evaluation was
conducted by South African consulting firm CMDS hired by EED to evaluate administrative and grant
management systems. Again, IRDNC received a very positive evaluation and useful recommendations.
Work on the IRDNC Lessons Learned book began in February. During a very inspiring session, eighteen senior
staff including the IRDNC Co-Directors met for three days to discuss and capture the key lessons learned over the
last 20 years of IRDNC‟s work. A draft concept for the book was finalised and writing teams have been tasked
with producing first drafts of the 10 chapters by the end of August 2009.
In early February IRDNC senior staff from both project sites (Kunene and Caprivi) held a two-and-a-half day
strategic planning session. The session proved invaluable for Kunene staff who used the opportunity to ensure that
staffing needs and upcoming funding proposals were aligned and strategic. This will go a long way to reducing
some of the current staff overloading but other creative solutions still need to be sought and additional funding
Three polytechnic visits were hosted. Two groups, the first of 30 Land Management students and the second, 10 B.
Tech students, were hosted at Wêreldsend. A third group, 21 second year students of the Nature Conservation
Diploma were hosted on their field trip excursion in Kunene. IRDNC staff continued to support the CBNRM
course of the Polytechnic setting, marking and moderating exams and projects.
IRDNC is part of the team that was awarded the tender to conduct socio-economic aspects of the feasibility study
for the proposed hydro-electric power scheme at the Baines site on the Kunene River.
Kunene staff received support to implement the staff performance management system. Activities conducted
resulted in all staff performance reviews being completed to establish end of year bonuses.
A consultant with considerable experience in vehicle fleet management has been recruited to assist the Kunene
project to streamline and better manage its fleet. A number of his recommendations have been implemented and
various old vehicles traded in and replaced. A vehicle database has been created and all data for the past two years
entered. It is anticipated that a new staff member will take over management of the fleet early in the new project
Under the upcoming Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) funding for Namibia, a Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA) was undertaken for the proposed rangeland project under this funding. IRDNC contributed
resources to this exercise that saw the HRM principles and practice being implemented in Kunene being included.
Senior staff worked on four strategic documents for WWF UK as well as a concept document and major proposal
for a new four-year phase. The first document, “Consolidating Communal Land Conservancies in Namibia:
IRDNC‟s way forward: FY2010 to FY2013” responded to WWF‟s request for a quantified statement of the work
ahead after the current five year grant ends. The second was a first draft of impact indicators that relate to WWF
UK‟s PPA with DFID. The third piece of work saw the contracting, field work and production of a Meta-Analysis
of the livelihood impacts of conservancies. An analysis of what WWF‟s investment into the Namibian program has
achieved in economic terms was also completed.
Staff hosted the Chief of Party of WWF in Namibia and guests from the US, the main private trustee/donor for
WWF US and the director of US based NGO, The Nature Conservancy. The field visit was to provide exposure to
CBNRM in preparation for seeking funding opportunities and partnerships with WWF in Namibia.
Organisational Development and NLP consultant Ian Ross held another excellent workshop with Kunene‟s Senior
Management Forum. The team revisited its core values and commitments and explored a framework for
understanding and monitoring quality of life issues in conservancies. Individual mentoring sessions were also held.
The IRDNC annual institutional and financial audits began late in the year and were completed in early 2009. An
assets inspection was undertaken by the auditors for all the IRDNC Kunene assets.
4) Problems and Constraints
Failures, problems or constraints affecting progress and steps to address them include the following:
Tourism concession system slow and leads to long delays
IRDNC and conservancies are experiencing the negative side of the concession system. For the last three years (with much
preparation and discussion in previous years) IRDNC has been assisting Sesfontein, Anabeb, Torra, Omatendeka and
Ehirovipuka in its concession negotiations with MET and the private sector. A number of factors (staff changes, lack of
policy, political interference) have meant that the process has been protracted and frustrating. While progress is being
made it is slow and in the mean time conservancies are not able to earn much needed revenues from concession areas.
IRDNC is continuing to provide support and lobby for conservancies as well as engage specialists to assist in the process.
Global recession results in slowing of markets for HVPs
The global recession has resulted in a slow down of marketing of the Commiphora essential oil for the mainstream perfume
market. However, in spite of this, Behave has undertaken to purchase between 3 and 5 tonnes by September 2009. Two
different markets have been identified and partners sourced.
External politics and influence within conservancies
As Namibia heads for general elections in late 2009, local interference and political party agendas are being experienced
within conservancies. Dedicated conservancy members and committees are being discouraged by interference in decision
making by local and external politicians. Without getting directly involved, IRDNC will provide closer support to
committees in partnership with MET to allow conservancy committees to assert their rights and to manage conservancies.
Provision and management of waters a major challenge
The provision and management of good waters is a high priority for wildlife, rangeland and tourism activities in the Kunene
region. The process of renovating, supplying and maintaining water points is proving to be a large job that takes a great
deal of time and other costly resources. This is further compounded when drilling for water does not guarantee water
provision despite using highly reputable consultants for the process. As a result, IRDNC is continuing to seek funds from a
number of sources to complement existing grants (ICEMA, ICEIDA).
Poor skills and institutional arrangement for consumptive utilisation of wildlife
It has become clear that a number of gaps exist in most forms of consumptive utilisation in conservancies. Particularly for
shoot and sell and own-use hunting, local technical skills, poor internal governance and weak or no contracting is resulting
in inefficient hunting, lack of transparency and poor flow of benefits. IRDNC and partners (WWF and NNF) have recruited
a Game Utilisation expert to start in September 2009 to assist conservancies to implement a professional process.
Timely closure of conservancy books affects AGM schedule
As IRDNC expands its support for conservancy management of own generated finances, it is clear that unless monthly
finances are completed in a timely and accurate manner, a number of problems arise including delayed AGMs and poor
budget management. Committees and IRDNC are often left with 24 – 48 hours to compile reports ahead of AGMs. IRDNC
will be seeking member endorsement for committees to attend monthly bookkeeping sessions.
Traditional Authorities fail to enforce rules in HRM agreements
In some areas the local TAs do not assist with enforcing rules contained in MoUs for the HRM project which is negatively
affecting the efforts of committed local farmers. HRM staff will work more closely with TAs to properly communicate and
support their role in assisting local efforts and what steps to take when these are violated.
5) Unexpected effects
Visits to HRM sites raise HRM profile at national level
Two key visits to HRM sites by i) a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and ii) an exposure visit of farmers from
the Namibian emerging Farmers Support Programme were very successful and able to help those leading the delegations
reinforce the work being done to promote HRM practices at a national level.
Conservancies take initiative to organise and fund external training
Several conservancies in Kunene have hired the services of a trainer from Swakopmund to provide training in Catering and
cookery to large numbers of women in each conservancy. Most of the women are contributing and paying for the costs of
the training themselves but the training seems to be poorly thought out and coordinated. Whilst this is an important
initiative and development, IRDNC needs to be proactive and link closely with conservancies to guide such efforts and
ensure training is appropriate and can fit existing opportunities.
Number of Commiphora harvesters decreased in second season
During the second season of Commiphora harvesting the number of actual harvesters decreased despite the number of those
who registered had risen. However, the average amount earned by each harvester rose from N$625 per harvester in the first
year to N$ 1106 this year. This implies that individual members are focusing on this opportunity as a livelihood strategy
rather than just a casual opportunity to earn some extra income.
Conservancies recognised as resource for rural development
Increasingly, conservancies are being regarded as a source of support for local development in rural areas. A number of
conservancies are contributing to other sectors in their areas (health, education, agriculture) and have become a reference
point for assistance. The challenge exists for conservancies to guide resources to meet members‟ needs and address key,
local livelihood aspects.
Puros Bush Lodge to be a fully conservancy owned enterprise
During discussions about the future of the new Puros Bush Lodge, the conservancy decided to keep the enterprise as a
conservancy-owned entity and not enter into a joint venture arrangement. They intend to engage with a private sector
partner to manage the lodge but as a training partnership rather than a traditional JV.
6) Learning and sharing
Close monitoring of Joint Ventures essential
Despite all the effort it takes to negotiate and establish joint venture partnerships between conservancies and the private
sector, if they are not well monitored and closely managed they may not reach their potential or fail to deliver contractually.
IRDNC learned that it needs to invest more resources and time in supporting conservancies to manage and monitor their
partnerships or hard earned JVs will not deliver.
Establishing the HVP as a conservancy linked enterprise pays dividends
Entering its second harvesting season, steps were taken to establish closer links between conservancies and their plant-
based enterprises, thereby reducing reliance on IRDNC as facilitator. By holding pre-season planning meetings between
harvesters and the relevant conservancy committees, a number of issues were resolved between the two without IRDNC
taking responsibility for solutions. The funds channelled to conservancies helped this process further as money was
earmarked for support to harvesters and better local management of the resource.
High turnover of conservancy committees poses challenges
As conservancies enter into more complicated negotiations and relationships with stakeholders, the loss of skills and
institutional memory as committees change is posing a greater challenge. Although this is not a new problem, it has begun
to have more serious consequences and IRDNC will be looking towards addressing this more proactively with
Shift emphasis for mandates to conservancy members
In the past, IRDNC has gained much of its mandate for interventions from the conservancy committee members and staff.
As a number of the changes and challenges being experienced involve the committee members it has been recognised that
IRDNC should focus on identifying priorities and mandates to facilitate change with the members. This will both
strengthen community involvement and gain added impetus to planned interventions they deem as priorities.
IRDNC plays essential role in facilitating involvement of new stakeholders
IRDNC has recognised that it has to play a proactive role in facilitating the involvement of new stakeholders and partners in
an area to mitigate potential conflicts. This is particularly relevant in areas where operators have been sole investors for
many years, or where consumptive and non consumptive tourism partners have to operate within one conservancy.
Restructuring takes time and can be complex
As IRDNC Kunene continues with its internal restructuring process, it has experienced that change processes can be
complex and require focus and time to implement. With the devolution of certain responsibilities to two Assistant
Directors, it has emerged that a more formal, strategic platform for sharing and learning is required.
7) Adaptive management
During IRDNC Kunene‟s recent strategic planning session it was decided to streamline the current and future workloads as
far as possible within the limits of internal skill and capacity. A key change made was not to take on a large programme
within conservancies to support HIV and AIDS activities directly. Instead IRDNC will focus on facilitating linkages
between conservancies and HIV and AIDS support providers. In addition, IRDNC Kunene decided to limit support to craft
facilities to existing efforts and not work to support the development of new outlets of craft groups.
8) Communication and stories
A second and high powered delegation of conservancy members and IRDNC staff met with the Minister of Lands
and Resettlement (MLR) to lobby for the lifting of a 5% land levy on conservancy right of leaseholds.
Project staff and conservancies hosted representative of the SADC CBNRM Regional Enterprise Development
working group visiting Namibia on an exchange programme
Leading South African TV Investigative program, Carte Blanche, made a documentary on the Commiphora
harvesting which was screened in May. This marks the third time IRDNC‟s work has been covered by this award-
The Kunene Conservancy Camping Trails brochure was produced highlighting a network of conservancy
campsites and enterprises facilitated and supported by IRDNC
IRDNC staff and volunteers assisted staff from Kunene Camping Trails enterprises to have a stall at the Namibia
Tourism Expo in May
The documentary “Milking the Rhino” which featured target conservancies and IRDNC staff was screened at the
Namibian Wild Cinema festival in Windhoek
Assistant-Director John K Kasaona gave the keynote address at the annual Game Rangers Association of Africa
meeting which was held in Namibia this year. Talks were also given by Director Garth Owen-Smith, Caprivi
project co-head Janet Matota and IRDNC‟s fire ecologist Robin Beatty.
IRDNC assisted with the EU launch of the RPRP tourism project work in Kunene, held in Puros with good media
coverage. Both co-directors addressed the large gathering which included the Governor of Kunene and
representatives from other Kunene conservancies as well as partners.
Anna Davis‟ article on IRDNC appeared in the September edition of Roan News, the revamped newsletter of the
Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society
Karen Nott presented one of two international papers on the Commiphora harvesting at the Indigenous Plant Use
Forum (IPUF) held in South Africa
KN also submitted two papers, one to the International Forestry Review and one to the Journal of Economic
Botany on the Commiphora work and intellectual property issues
John Kasaona was elected onto the board of the MET‟s Game Products Trust Fund
Co-Director Garth Owen-Smith wrote a response article on the issue of hunting and elephant conservation in the
far west of north Namibia. Published in a number of local and international newspapers, the article was adopted
by the Game Rangers‟ Association of Africa as their official position.
IRDNC staff made significant contributions to the State of Conservancy report for 2007 which also ran specific
features on the Commiphora work and the Kyaramacan Association in West Caprivi
Colin Nott sat on the team who compiled the Namibian National Rangeland Strategy that will be fed into the
national policy. HRM featured prominently and has been mainstreamed into the strategy.
IRDNC‟s co-director Margaret Jacobsohn produced a „mother‟ document for KCS which enabled a website and
pamphlet to be produced for this new company.
Anton Esterhuizen was re-elected onto the NAPHA Big Game Committee
IRDNC staff paid a courtesy visit to the Regional Governor of Kunene and gave a full update on progress
The Kunene Conservancies‟ Soccer and Netball Tournament continues to be held regularly and is a very popular
The Kunene Regional Conservancy Association (KRCA) held its AGM in Torra conservancy this period.
9) Future issues and challenges
Five 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 finance, assets and AGMs).
Continue to address human-wildlife conflict in conservancies with both high and low income generating
Demonstrate ability to restore rangelands upon which conservancy members’ livelihoods depend
Establish staff and technical capacity to effectively manage an expanding portfolio of grants and donors
Other challenges include:
Secure funds to fill current and future funding gaps
Address capacity constraints in responding to the challenge of an increasing number of small grants and the
workload this brings while overall funding levels of WWF-UK decline
Address critical vehicle shortage problem within Kunene project
Deliver effective and efficient lay auditing and bookkeeping services to conservancies
Identify future roles of founding Co-Directors
Effectively lobby and work towards reversal of 5% levy claim on all tourism right of leaseholds
Strengthen game monitoring systems and implementation in conservancies
Assist conservancies to keep participation in conservancy committees active (logistic and other support)
Explore ways to stem escalation of illegal traders in north west conservancy areas
Find best way to respond to new Millennium Challenge Account funding for support to Kunene conservancies
Orientate Game Utilisation specialist and assist him to address current problems
Strengthen community/member involvement through improved feedback and focus on key local issues
Implement and monitor the a new AGM calendar for all conservancies with key deadlines
Address range of issues with HACCSIS project (new contracts, future funding and improved management)
Investigate value of registering conservancies as Community Forests where the plants and HRM projects are active
Take financial management support beyond systems to improved planning and decision making in conservancies
Explore linking financial management to delivering member needs and addressing local quality of life issues
Implement LLM system and scientific monitoring in HRM areas with close farmer involvement
Manage the expansion of the HRM project
Improve ongoing monitoring of all joint venture contracts in conservancies, both tourism and hunting related
Build business awareness, skills and establish principles through focused workshops in pilot conservancies
Review and improve small enterprise booking systems at all campsites supported by 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
CBO Community based organization
DFID Department for International Development
EED Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienste
EIA Environmental Impact Assessment
ENP Etosha National Park
EU European Union
HACCSIS Human animal conflict conservancy self-insurance scheme
HRM Holistic Resource Management
HVP High value plants
ICEMA Integrated Community Based Ecosystems Management
ICEIDA Icelandic International Development Agency
IPUF Indigenous Plant Use Forum
JV Joint Venture
KCS Kunene Conservancy Safaris
KRCA Kunene Regional Conservancy Association
LLM Local Level Monitoring
MCA Millennium Challenge Account
MAWF Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry
MET Ministry of Environment and Tourism
MLR Ministry of Lands and Resettlement
MoU Memorandum of Understanding
NACSO Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations
NAPHA Namibian Professional Hunters Association
NGO Non-governmental organization
NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming
NNF Namibian Nature Foundation
NRM Natural Resource Management
PPA Partnership Programme Agreement
RPRP Rural Poverty Reduction Program
SADC Southern African Development Community
SEA Strategic Environmental Assessment
TA Traditional authority
WSN Wilderness Safaris Namibia
WWF Worldwide Fund for Nature in Namibia
WWF UK Worldwide Fund for Nature United Kingdom
WWF US Worldwide Fund for Nature United States