Namibia is a dry country, we all know that. Its people have manged to live, survive and thrive here for thousands of years. Just look at the indigenous communities like the San. The San in Nyae Nyae Conservancy who live and care for the areas where they live noticed a trend. A dangerous trend, one where more area was damaged by fire each year. In the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, in 2010 over 50% of the conservancy area burned and despite some fluctuations there was a continuous upward trend which if not addressed in one way or another would seriously impact and threaten the survival of the community as well as fauna and flora in the area.
Water Development in Nyae Nyae Conservancy has taken many years. The Conservancy is responsible for approximately half the village and game water points in the area, which means over 20 water points spread throughout the nearly 9,000km² of the area.
The first priority was to ensure that boreholes functioned and solar submersible pumps were slowing introduced. However, with over 1000 elephants in the area water points were often destroyed by elephants looking for water, so water point had to be protected from the elephants as well as the maintenance of game water points to ensure they have access to water and keep elephants away from villages.
What started out as a micro-project 30 years ago, has evovled into a viable way of generating income for the community at Nyae Nyae. The truly artisanal craft makers of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy produce traditional jewellery using ostrich egg shells. This jewellery is of such an exceptional quality that it is now being exported and sold in Europe.
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest II Project have taken an pro-active approach to dealing with fires in their communal areas with tangible visible positive results.
In 2012, 50% of the whole Nyae Nyae area burnt, resulting in the loss of life as well as damage to rangeland, wildlife and the environment through CO² emissions. The late hot fires of September and October are particularly damaging and uncontrollable, causing widespread devastation. The new approach taken in Nyae Nyae fits with the San cultural tradition of selective burning in the cooler months of May-July. This allows the fires to be better controlled and the fuel load reduced to prevent the later and more damaging hot fires.
Recently seven San agricultural and livestock champions from Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancy visited the “collective style” commercial farm, Krumhuk, just outside Windhoek. Krumhuk operates on bio-dynamic, organic and holistic management principles that the champions are introducing in their villages in the Otjozondjupa Region.
This newsletter is the follow-up to the Dealing with Climate Change brochure distributed in 2015. The purpose is to provide an update on the EU-funded Climate Change Project and also to provide regular tips and suggestions about how everyone can take action to deal with the impacts of Climate Change.
The Community Based Fire Management Training Manual was developed as a component of the natural resource management capacity building programme of the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest and N≠a Jaqna Conservancy in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia.