Inspirational time in Mozambique

Our Technical Associate, Elna de Beer recently spent three weeks in Mozambique (9 – 30 September 2022) being part of two new initiatives. The first two weeks were spent at Zinave National Park (ZNP) and Banhine National Park (BNP) respectively. This process focused on the recently signed agreement between the College and the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) to collaborate on capacity development and technical support of the Community Engagement Teams (CETs) at the two parks over the next two years.

This process is aligned with the management plans of the park and the strategic and technical roles of PPF and the National Administration for the Conservation Areas (ANAC). The recently appointed Community Development Programme Manager of PPF, Steven Matema, also attended the on-site sessions and co-facilitated the deliberations with the park-based CETs. 

This process has four key aspects, namely, on-site sessions, focusing on technical coaching and activity-based training with technical support; formal training (in August 2022, three Community Engagement Team-leaders from the mentioned park and the Maputo National Park attended the Community Based Natural Resource Management Course at the College); monthly online support session; and annual learning exchange sessions. 

A key focus of this process is building the capacity within communities to strengthen governance and natural resource management. A full article is to follow focusing on the collaborative efforts in the Parks.

The second initiative was part of the Tusk Collaboration Grant Knowledge Exchange Initiative between the College and the Africa Foundation’s Programme, Oceans Without Borders (OWB), on Benguerra Island. The purpose in collaboration with Dr Tessa Hempson (Programme Manager OWB) is to assess the feasibility of developing skills and capacity of site-based teams through customised training focusing on the context of site-based conditions. 

Discussions with several stakeholders including African Parks Foundation, OWB and andBeyond staff on the island brought about new insights into capacity development. The links between marine and terrestrial systems are critical in developing capacity that reaches beyond sites. The outcome of this process will be presented in a concept document to the Tusk Foundation for further consideration. A full article in this regard will follow in due course.

The time in Mozambique was invigorating and it inspired the thought that focus needs to shift from sites to systems. This is in line with not only the work being done by OWB on Benguerra Island, but also by the work undertaken by PPF/ANAC in collaboration with SAWC at Zinave National Park and Banhine National Park.

We are looking forward to bringing more news on these processes as they unfold over time.