Sustainable community engagement is key for Limpopo National Park
We chat to GRAA Africa Committee Member, Eric Madamalala about his recent move to Mozambique, taking on the new role of Operations Manager at Parque Nacional do Limpopo (PNL) (Limpopo National Park).
Photo credit: Eric Madamalala
Where are you based?
I am based at Massingir town where the PNL headquarters is located.
What are some of your responsibilities in this new position?
My main responsibilities are to ensure implementation of the business plan of the park with the main focus on five strategic focus areas of the plan, namely administration (finance and human capital), protection services, community development, and community resettlement.
What are some of your main goals for your new position?
The park is part of the Limpopo trans-frontier conservation area. Being a SADC endorsed programme, I would want to see us achieve the primary goal of responsibly relocating communities currently residing in the park. Further to this, the PNL would have achieved the objective of improving the lives of its people if we achieve the goal of providing sustained benefits to all these people through development of sustainable livelihood programmes in the areas they are relocated to.
What are some of the conservation challenges faced with in the area?
Currently there are communities still residing in the park. They have been for many of their lives relying on bush meat to sustain their lives. Regrettably they have been infiltrated by greedy elements and that has turned into commercial, impacting heavily on all species in the park, including the elephants and the rhino through poaching and poisoning. Now you are forced to negotiate whilst on the other hand ensuring that law is enforced.
How do you plan to address these challenges?
There has to be continued engagement with the affected communities
Develop sustainable community awareness programme
Together with the communities and affected stakeholders find alternative livelihood sustainable means.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It is exciting to work for the PNL as part of the Peace Parks Foundation team. The facilitation and the development of PNL as part of the trans-frontier conservation areas gives me that needed inner personal satisfaction and fulfilment. Indeed conservation through effective management can ensure sustainable economic development, the conservation of biodiversity and regional peace and stability. This is what makes me proud to be part of the regional if not continental and global initiative.