Community engagement and development is central to the long-term sustainability of Garamba, with a key focus on education, healthcare and alternative livelihoods for the 100,000 people living near and around the park.
By 2019, Garamba employed over 500 full-time and 2,000 short-term local staff. In addition, several dedicated community personnel have been recruited, trained and deployed to work directly with the surrounding communities on community projects and environmental awareness programmes.
Environmental education in local community schools has been a huge success, with thousands of schoolchildren and their teachers learning about conservation through guided park visits, school lessons, brochures and films. The park supported two local schools in 2019 and facilitated a over 432 students on school visits to the park and more than 1,500 students were exposed to sensitisation activities on the environment and human health issues, including malaria and HIV-AIDS.
Community involvement is essential for the long-term future of the park, and with large support from the EU, we are working with local communities to identify alternative sources of income, provide health care facilities and education, and are encouraging less dependency on the park's limited resources, providing people instead with the potential for a long-term, sustainable future.
A number of initiatives have been put in place to diversify livelihoods and create sustainable sources of income for the communities that live in the areas surrounding Garamba. These have included programmes focused on training in sustainable agriculture, bee-keeping, fish farming, reforestation and animal husbandry programmes, to name just a few.
Infrastructure projects have also gone a long way in improving communities’ access to essential services, such as the construction of Nagero Hospital just outside the park. Healthcare is a major focus of Garamba’s community development given the lack of basic services in the area. The hospital has made a big difference in the lives of the local communities, providing them with proper medical care for the first time. The hospital building opened in 2013, and alongside this initiative, the procurement of medical supplies and equipment has meant hospital staff can perform surgeries and laboratory tests on-site. Park staff and their families receive free medical care and medication, while people in the surrounding community receive free consultations and medicines at the purchase price.
In addition to the hospital, mobile health clinics deployed in 2019 brought accessible healthcare to 3,260 people in remote communities. In 2019, over 14,400 people benefited from the Nagero Hospital and mobile clinics.
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