WWF SA convenes community stewardship and commonage management support initiative

09 November 2016

mediumOn 14 September 2016, the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) held a workshop in Nieuwoudtville at the Hantam National Botanical Garden. Community stewardship and commonage support was the focus of the workshop and thinking creatively about stewardship set the scene for the day.

This workshop was set in motion with a round of introductory games, followed by presentations on opportunities for social development and conservation in the Succulent Karoo, and WWF-SA’s Land Programme work and projects in the Succulent Karoo.

The purpose of the meeting was to share stewardship experiences and lessons learnt in the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP); to present the WWF-SA and Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust (LHSKT) Expanded Programme of Work project; to identify synergies between various projects and funding opportunities relating to community stewardship, technical support and research; and to jointly identify areas of priority and key projects that can be supported by the LHSKT.

The workshop was attended by SKEP partners from Conservation South Africa (CSA), the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG), INDIGO development and change, WWF-SA, the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Surplus People’s Project (SPP). The workshop was facilitated by Bettina Koelle from INDIGO development and change.

Identifying priority areas for community stewardship and commonage management support initiatives, mapping projects, skills and funding opportunities, making and identifying synergies as well as identifying upcoming steps were workshopped.

Lessons learnt through stewardship challenges, achievements and stories were shared. The sustainability and longevity of current and future projects, as well as people and relationship building were discussed. Myths regarding concepts such as ‘partnership’, ‘commonage’ and ‘community’ were explored and debunked.

Criteria for potential pilot community stewardship sites were identified. What lies ahead is the development of a Concept Note subject to approval and funding by WWF-SA, whereby community stewardship and commonage management support initiative in the Succulent Karoo can be piloted. The larger SKEP community will be consulted and invited to participate.

For more information contact Onkemetse Nteta at onteta@wwf.org.za

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