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Short Courses

People and Conservation

Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)

Purpose Statement

The qualifying learner assessed as competent against this course will be able to plan, implement and support community based conservation activities and programmes.  This competence will contribute to the development of an understanding of the relationship between people, their access to and ownership of natural resources and the importance of this for their development and livelihood needs.


In particular the qualified learner will be able to:

  • Provide an overview of current trends in community based conservation across southern Africa.
  • Apply the principles of community based natural resource management.
  • Understand how community issues relate to natural resource management/conservation.


Course Overview

Protected areas are generally regarded as an important instrument for conservation of ecosystems and their biodiversity. However, the limited focus of the conservationist’s interest and perspectives and the neglect of the rural people’s interests have contributed to the underdevelopment of the rural people adjacent to protected areas.  Values and practices in the past have contributed to a lack of social acceptance of conservation actions. The potential of rural people’s own interest in environmental protection in the past have not been developed and commonly resulted in mistrust between stakeholders (park officials and local people), therefore undermining the sustainability of environmental conservation.

The recent trend in conservation management has moved beyond an approach that emphasizes species and habitat preservation and protection alone to now include management of resources such as people, finances and materials. Competency in ecology, taxonomy, park administration, wildlife management, accounting and human resource management now needs to be complemented with new skills including community development, community outreach, community collaboration and community based natural resource management (CBNRM).

This module focuses attention on the knowledge and skills needed by natural resource managers to gain an understanding of local communities and their issues, to influence policy on community issues and implement projects within their local area of operation.

This course is comprised of four basic study units:

  • Approaches to Community Based Conservation
  • Protected Area Outreach, variables and implementation arrangements
  • CBNRM principles, policy and legislation
  • Skill and tools for fieldwork – PRA and conflict management


Course Outcomes

At the end of this course the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences in approach between protected areas outreach, collaborative management and community based natural resource management.
  • Compare different implementation arrangements for protected areas outreach programmes.
  • Link the principles of CBNRM to implementation approaches.
  • Discuss the importance of policy and legislation in creating an enabling environment for CBNRM.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of each of the pillars of CBNRM.
  • Apply effective communication and facilitation skills.
  • Demonstrate the effective use of PRA and other tools.
  • Apply basic skills of conflict resolution.

The qualifying learner is able to demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of:

  • Different types of community based conservation.
  • History and evolution of conservation in southern Africa.
  • Tenure and proprietorship values in community based conservation.
  • Key elements that distinguish between different forms of protected area outreach.
  • Principles of CBNRM.
  • Policy and legislation arrangements for CBNRM.
  • Main differences between CBNRM approaches in southern Africa.
  • Skills and qualities of a good facilitator.
  • Tools and approaches to plan and facilitate PRA activities with different groups
  • Nature and forms of conflict
  • Conflict Management approaches


Who can attend?

This course is suitable for natural resource managers and people working with community based conservation to gain an understanding of local communities and their issues, to influence policy on community issues and implement projects within their local area of operation.

Applicants must have knowledge, comprehension and application of English.



This course is a NQF level 5 course and is institutionally accredited by the Southern African Wildlife College.

Course Duration

5 day or more in-depth 10 day courses can be provided


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