At 22,400 km2, Kafue’s vast landscape remains largely intact, primarily because it is buffered by nine Game Management Areas (GMAs). In 2003, the Central Statistical Office estimated 175,000 people were living in the GMAs, a number which has since increased. With limited economic opportunity, communities have put pressure on the landscape for their daily survival needs. With its park management team, African Parks is establishing employment, tourism, education and community development projects to improve the livelihoods of local communities and ensure people can benefit from the park and through the protection of its biodiversity.
With Zambia’s already established tourism industry, Kafue has tremendous potential to emerge as a leading travel destination within the country and in Africa. During the Priority Support Plan period, 182 jobs were created – of which 98% were filled by local people, highlighting the significant potential for communities to benefit from the park through employment and other economic opportunities. African Parks is working to increase local community employment through much-needed employment and skills development.
Trial literacy programs are being run in two schools and this will quickly be scaled up. Additional support for learning materials and supportive infrastructure will be built into plans for the future.
To provide local communities with alternative and sustainable livelihood opportunities, African Parks is exploring community development initiatives to determine ways to stimulate local businesses, such as beekeeping and honey production.
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