$20m for Save Valley Campfire projects
THE European Union (EU) has availed $20 million to resuscitate Campfire projects and capacitate indigenous beneficiaries at Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo province, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking to journalists after officiating at the graduation ceremony of 184 wildlife management students at Mushandike College of Wildlife in Mashava on Friday, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, said Cabinet resolved that all conservancies should fall under the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
She said Save Conservancy is covered under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) which the EU has undertaken to support.
The Minister said an agreement has since been signed between the EU and the Zimbabwean Government over the resuscitation of Campfire programmes in order to assist communities.
“The European Union has availed $8 million for the resuscitation of Campfire programmes for Save Valley conservancies under BIPPA.
“The money is meant for the development of irrigation schemes for communities around the conservancy while $12 million, which will be released in batches, will cater for the building of capacities of communities so that they improve their lives,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She underscored the need to support communities around conservancies to ensure that there is no conflict.
“Cabinet resolved the issue of Save Valley Conservancy two years ago that it should fall under the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. The EU has offered to assist in building capacities for communities around the conservancy so that they improve their lives.
“There is an issue of water where dams will be constructed for irrigation purposes and domestic use since people cannot settle where there is no water.
“For as long as the community sees value and accruing benefits from the conservancies, there won’t be any conflict between people and wildlife.
“You will not see them destroying the perimeter fence at the conservancy; they will live in harmony with the animals.”
The Minister bemoaned poaching of wildlife and timber and said there is a need for new anti-poaching skills to counter modern day poaching. — @walterbmswazie.