Communities

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CONSERVANCIES

Omba Arts Trust is a member of NACSO, the Namibia Community Based Natural Resource Management Support Organisation. The purpose of NACSO is to provide quality services to rural communities, often Conservancies, seeking to manage and utilise their natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Omba has partnered with a number of Conservancies in various regions of Namibia providing training and capacity building and marketing their crafts.

Conservancies are legally registered areas with clearly defined borders and a constituted management body run by the community for the development of residents and the sustainable use of wildlife and tourism. They are places where residents can add income from wildlife, handicrafts and tourism to traditional farming activities and where wildlife populations can increase. The value of the land is enhanced when the value of natural resources increases.

Otjozonjupa Region

Nyae Nyae Conservancy

Nyae Nyae is the oldest, as well as the second largest conservancy in the country, covering close to 9000 square kilometres. Most of the 2300 residents are from the Ju/’hoansi ethnic group, a sub-group of the San.

The Nyae Nyae Conservancy allows excellent opportunities for tourists and offers the following:

  • G!hunku Crafts located in Tsumkwe where a large range of traditional crafts and contemporary jewellery made from ostrich eggshell is sold.
  • Tsumkwe Country Lodge (though no partnership with the Conservancy exists) offers village visits to the living museums at Mountain Pos and Dou Pos, with income going directly to the villages
  • Living Hunter's Museum located at //Xa/oba village along the track to Khaudum and includes a campsite. Wilderness campsites are also located at Makuri, Djxokwe and Kremetartkop and, although underutilised, provide nearby villages with some income.
  • A seemingly endless world of bushland and pannetjiesveld, dotted here and there with the magical shapes of baobabs is brought to life with abundant wildlife including plains animals. It is the only place in the country where the Big Five occur (elephant, black rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard) together with the endangered wild dog.
  • Over 200 bird species including 80 species of water birds that linger in the large pans after the rains.
  • Over 100 species of edible plants utilized by the San as well as large baobabs, woodland tree species, devil’s claw and Kalahari melon.
  • Trophy hunting that provides income and employment for the conservancy.
  • Traditional Ju/'hoansi San culture including the n!ore land management system. Members have the right to hunt approved game within their n!ore on foot with bow and arrows, spears or bird traps.

Khaudum North Complex

George Mukoya Conservancy

George Mukoya was a famous elephant hunter, who was a particularly good shot and tracker. Elephants are still an important resource for the conservancy located in the Kavango region today. Ten settlements are spread throughout the northern half of the conservancy, while the largely uninhabited south is a refuge for wildlife and acts as a buffer zone between the settled area and Khaudum National Park.

Residents of George Mukoya generate important income from a variety of forest resources, as well as from craft production. Bee keeping is being piloted at Dosa, while a vegetable gardening project at Dumushi could supply fresh produce to the tourism industry in the future. Conservancy income is used to cover running costs and pay staff salaries, while benefits to residents include cash payments distributed to settlements, as well as financial support provided to the schools in the area.

Muduva Nyangana Conservancy

The conservancy is named after a former traditional chief of the Gciriku, who was a soldier and participated in the war against the German colonial forces.

Craft sales and the harvesting of forest resources provide important income to individuals in the conservancy. Muduva Nyangana uses its income to pay staff salaries and cover conservancy running costs, as well as distributing cash payments to settlements and providing financial support to schools.

Zambezi Region

Kwandu, Mashi & Mayuni Conservancies

The Kwandu, Mashi and Mayuni Conservancies and the Mashi Craft Market are located in the Mudumu North Complex (MNC), which also embraces parts of two national parks. Kongola is the only larger trading centre in the MNC, located along the main road connecting the Zambezi Region with the rest of Namibia — an ideal place for travellers to stop.

Mashi Crafts was started in 1996 and provides an attractive outlet for crafts from the surrounding conservancies as well as from the southern African region.

  • Sells different ranges of beautifully hand crafted baskets made from Hyphaene petersiana
  • Sells a range of products made from traditional ‘Chitenge’ cloth. The single piece of large, colourful fabric usually worn as a wrap-around skirt, is a mandatory piece of clothing for women not only in the Zambezi region but across south central and east Africa.
  • Provides tourist information for the region
  • Sells community managed firewood and honey
  • Contributes to the livelihoods of over 300 producers and
  • Delivers significant social benefits through employment and income generation