Community Involvement

To preserve the wetlands for the benefit of people and wildlife, we work with communities to sustainably manage Bangweulu’s resources. Through implementing health and education programmes and community development projects to enhance local livelihoods, we position Bangweulu as the nucleus of a growing conservation-led economy.

Job Creation

Bangweulu is the largest employer in the region. The management team has grown considerably over the years, especially with the employment of the village scouts, all of whom benefit from the reliable remuneration their jobs provide.

Enterprise Development

In addition, Bangweulu’s robust livelihood programme helps people diversify their incomes through a range of enterprise development projects that includes beekeeping, fisheries management, and sustainable farming training.  In 2021, Bangweulu’s enterprise development initiatives showed promise, with 700 community members directly involved in activities such as beekeeping, with 1,895 new hives installed, while village action groups helped establish chicken and goat-rearing projects.

Education

Child in Bangweulu Lorenz FIscher © Lorenz Fischer
Bangweulu is home to 50,000 people who retain the right to sustainably harvest its natural resources.

Every year, Bangweulu aims to provide quality education that will support economic and social transformation while raising awareness on environmental issues. In partnership with Book Aid International (BAI) and Zambia Library Service (ZLS), mini school libraries were established in 52 primary schools with 10,400 books donated by BAI.

Thirteen schools continued to be supported within Bangweulu, with 27 students receiving scholarships. The second Zedupad and Modular Centre, providing technical education resources for 1,000 students annually for wildlife conservation, was completed in Kabinga, with the handover taking place in March 2022.

Community Projects

Reproductive Health Programme Bangweulu © Mana Medows
The reproductive health programme has overwhelming support from communities.

A Community Development Fund has provided financial resources to support several important infrastructure projects. These include the renovation of health facilities; the creation of teacher housing; and a new marketplace building. A Reproductive Health Programme launched in 2016, receiving overwhelming support from communities, and six years later, Bangweulu has partnered with Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) to continue to promote reproductive health programmes. The programme works with local Chiefdoms to conduct family planning sessions and reproductive health and awareness programmes; it also includes mobile health clinics.

Fishing Projects

With fishing being one of the main sources of revenue and protein for Bangweulu’s communities, it is essential that this resource is protected in a way that allows people to harvest without depleting supplies. Community sensitisation programmes to promote fishery regulations have heralded excellent results regarding compliance with a seasonal fishing ban, and the shift away from the illegal and unsustainable use of mosquito nets to catch fish.

Tourism

Shoebill Island Camp Bangweulu Isak Pretorius © Isak Pretorius
Shoebill Island Camp in Bangweulu.

Sustainable development and good management of tourism will be a critical revenue generator for the Bangweulu and surrounding communities. Well-run tourism can provide an increase in jobs and help create a conservation-led economy, increasing the value and buy-in of maintaining the wetlands as a protected area long into the future. Communities receive a 15% share of all commercial income generated in Bangweulu. In 2021, the Kayeshi Safari Camp was upgraded, and the construction of a new guesthouse was completed.