The relationship we maintain with local villages is a key driver for success at Luwire Wildlife Conservancy. Although it can fluctuate due to circumstances such as seasonal flooding (late December until March), the community of Luwire Wildlife Conservancy is comprised of 9 villages, about 5,000 villagers, and 1,150 households. Our concession includes 6 primary schools with about 788 students enrolled. During the year, for example, we support soccer tournaments.
We have a community manager employed on our team, who was born and raised in Niassa. He liaises with the local communities in our concession Block L7, including village chiefs, community leaders, block heads, and the Natural Resources Management Committee (COGEMU). This group is responsible for managing funds contributed by Luwire Wildlife Conservancy for approved community projects.
The primary sources of legal income for the community are agriculture and fishing. Agriculture is practiced by hand per household in small plots. Produce includes: maize, rice, cassava, Boer beans, and sesame. Breeding animals include: goats, chickens, and ducks. Human-wildlife conflicts are registered during the agricultural season, which include encounters with crocodiles, elephants, buffalos, hippopotamus, baboons and monkeys. Water scarcity is also an ongoing challenge for the villages residing in our concession.
Participation in wildlife crime by villagers in the Niassa Reserve is motivated by unemployment, poverty and food insecurity. Illiteracy is high and the local education system does not meet employment criteria elsewhere. The villages lack sufficient agricultural and technical knowledge to increase yields from subsistence to commercial production; post-harvest techniques to store and process surplus production as well as skills to develop and access markets for products. Our success matrix at Luwire Wildlife Conservancy includes: community-led decision-making; meaningful livelihoods, and equitable distribution of benefits. In pursuit of a sustainable economy and infrastructure on our conservancy, any social venture we pursue with the community will support and address the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and Global Goals for Sustainable Development (GGSD).
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