By Elna de Beer (Technical Associate) 

Returning to Mozambique and working with the Community Engagement Teams (CET) of Banhine National Park (BNP) and Zinave National Park (ZNP) for the second time this year from 14 to 25 November 2022, brought encouraging rewards. This process started in August 2022, followed by a follow up session in September 2022. The intent with the onsite session is to support formal learning with technical support, coaching and mentoring. The session in November showed evidence that when teams learn together, they grow together. 

In ZNP we saw the newest team member Dickson Ucucho presenting his learning of stakeholder engagement with enthusiasm to the ZNP team that underwent this training in 2019. During the coaching session, the ZNP Team were able to confidently link governance to the way benefits are distributed to the ten communities in their zone of influence. 

An outstanding feature of the process in BNP, is the collaboration between the CET and Hearding4Health (H4H) teams. The teamwork is evident in the work plans and collective roll out of activities in the communities. The stakeholder engagement training went exceptionally well, and we could link the application of the process to the governance profiling done in September and the management objectives in the annual plan. Tools linked to the mapping of stakeholders were developed and it was encouraging to see how the H4H, and CET are in sync as it relates to their stakeholders. In the picture the team is collectively identifying their stakeholders, which is critical in supporting governance development in local communities in the BNP zone of influence. 

A key feature at both BNP and ZNP is the establishment of the ‘Comités de Gestão de Recursos Naturais” (CGRNs) – (Natural Resource Management Committees) linked to the respective parks. This is a key priority in the capacity development and technical support process of SAWC over the next year. The foundation has been set in 2022 and 2023 will focus on gaining momentum in this area. In the picture the BNP team (CET and H4H) is seen discussing the practicalities of the CGRNs. 

We return to BNP in February 2023 for focused technical support on the CGRN-process. In April the first joint session between BNP and ZNP will take place at Zinave with the intent of learning exchanges between the teams to support collaboration between the parks linked to corridor development. 

We look forward to continuing with this process in 2023 with teams at BNP and ZNP.