Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia has one of the oldest conservation histories in Africa, dating back to the 19th century where the King of Barotseland, Lubosi Lewanika, appointed his people to be the custodians of the park and its wildlife. They maintain that sentiment today. With an estimated 10,000 people legally living within the park, Liuwa is a prime example of how people and wildlife can co-exist and benefit in a shared landscape.
In 2019, Liuwa employed 127 full-time staff, 95% of which were local people fulling in a range of roles, including village scouts and park administration. Two members of the Barotse Royal Establishment are present on the African Parks Zambia board to provide a voice for the people regarding governance and decision making.
Through Liuwa’s Environmental Education Programme (LEEP), conservation clubs have been established in several schools in and around the park, with the objective of increasing environmental awareness and highlighting opportunities to improve livelihoods through tourism and conservation. The park also has a school sponsorship programme that provides bursaries and covers the costs of schooling and boarding fees, along with textbooks, extra learning material, and uniforms. The park also trained teachers in the use of ZeduPads, an educational pre-loaded tablet, to improve the teaching process and information exchange for students in rural areas. The park has also built new classroom blocks and teachers’ housing.
African Parks makes monthly payments to a Community Development Fund established by Liuwa Plain National Park. The amount is directly linked to the degree of poaching occurring in the park, with larger sums being awarded in acknowledgment of effective anti-poaching efforts by a community. Proceeds from the fund are used for projects chosen by the communities themselves and have included canoes for transport, building materials for school buildings, teachers’ houses and rural health clinics, and equipment for clearing canals. African Parks also supports the Barotse Royal Establishment’s (BRE) cultural fund, which is used for a variety of activities including restoring buildings and funding traditional rituals and ceremonies. In 2019, in response to the drought which caused most crops to fail for the season, the park delivered over 3,000 bags of maize to 3,600 people for six months, preventing a humanitarian crisis.
Stimulating sustainable businesses for local communities is one of the goals of Liuwa Plain National Park aims to achieve, communities have been assisted with the establishment and management of their own campsites within the park, with all proceeds accruing to them.
A new fisheries plan led to the introduction of regulations and a traditional fishery permit system aimed at curbing the use of illegal nets and practices. A series of meetings with local fishermen, traditional parliaments, and the local chiefs were held to clarify penalties for breaches and address the implementation of the new fishing permits for the hundreds of traditional fishing pools inside the park.
Sign up to be the first to hear #GoodNews happening around African Parks.×