Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is one of the steering committee members of the Greater Waterberg Complex (GWC) and was selected at the end of 2012 by the Namibia Protected Landscape Conservation Areas Initiative (NAMPLACE) steering committee to implement a needs assessment survey for several conservancies and commercial farms within the Greater Waterberg Complex. The GWC and NamPlace is being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) through a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project.
The goal of NAMPLACE is to implement projects with neighbouring communities to National Parks that will benefit the community and the environment and assist in the sustainable progression of the region. The purpose of the needs assessment survey within the GWC was to collect baseline information that will be used to make informed decisions about how to efficiently utilise the NAMPLACE funds. The survey will serve as a tool to evaluate community needs and determine what development initiatives are most imperative. The survey will also function as a benchmark to measure developmental progress within the GWC.
Under the leadership of Dr. Laurie Marker and CCF Chief Ecologist, Matti Nghikembua, a team of eight people spent 10 days in the conservancies interviewing nearly 300 community members within the four communal conservancies. The interviewers, all members of the various conservancies, spent three days in each conservancy. The conservancy members were very happy to share the needs of their communities.
After completing the surveying, CCF staff and interns spent the next three weeks entering the data and analyzing the results, and subsequently created a needs assessment report summarizing their findings. The primary needs of the conservancies as related to the survey teams, were more education particularly with respect to livestock and wildlife management, electricity and accessibility to healthcare, including the needs for better transport and better roads. The Namplace funding will be used for laying solid foundations for this subsistence community so that an integrated system of wildlife will be intertwined with their livestock so that livelihoods can be diversified and include wildlife viewing and tourism ventures that complement their rich cultural heritage. Due to CCF’s efforts, a solid plan is coming together and will help the communities within the conservancies over the next four years.