Herding 4 health aims improve functioning, resilience, and livelihoods for people, livestock, wildlife and land, though better holistic understanding and management of rangelands and livestock on those lands.
The concept for the Conservation International and Peace Parks Foundation Herding for Health (H4H) initiative was conceived by Dr Jacques van Rooyen, the programme leader. Through discussions and community workshops it was determined there is a need to offer skills development training and career path for “Drs of the land”. SAWC has developed and piloted two courses for Eco-Rangers (Professional herders with extra skills). Eco-rangers are taught a variety of skills such as humane livestock handling and management, planning and recording keeping, tracking of wildlife that could be harmful to livestock, understanding climate change, and much more. This allows Eco-Rangers to be key players in their landscapes, ensuring rangeland regeneration, meeting the needs of livestock and wildlife and improving the livelihoods and resilience of rural communities.
In addition to the training module, a base line assessment of the herbaceous vegetation in the Kempiana Nature Reserve has been completed both remotely, by an external consultant, and ground-truthed by the Research and Development Department, CSA and SAEON staff.
Funding for this project and EcoRanger training development was gratefully received from the German Cooperation in the Southern Africa Development Community [Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)] Transboundary Use and Protection of Natural Resources Regional Programme.