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Collaborative NR Management in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is well known among natural resources practitioners for innovation in collaborative management of wildlife through the CAMPFIRE programme. But Zimbabwe has also experienced great upheaval in the last five years – exceptionally high rates of inflation, shortages of fuel and other commodities, land disputes and occupation on both large commercial farms and state land, plus political tensions that have circumscribed the lives of ordinary rural people.

Here we are able to share some of the tools developed within the CAMPFIRE programme for community use, from the Wildlife Management Series produced by WWF (SARPO) through collaboration with rural communities. This is accompanied by a critical review that asks how far the technical tools developed under the support to CAMPFIRE project helped communities to empower themselves. There is also a review of the resilience and adaptations of collaborative management under Zimbabwe’s dynamic political conditions, using CAMPFIRE and forest co-management as examples.

Tools from the CAMPFIRE Wildlife Management Series

The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) is a Zimbabwean initiative to give rural people control over local wildlife. Under the legal provisions of CAMPFIRE, Rural District Councils became the “Appropriate Authority” for the management of wildlife – but the intention was that villages within the districts would become the real managers and beneficiaries of wildlife.

CAMPFIRE was facilitated by government departments and several locally based non-governmental organisations. The NGOs included Zimbabwe Trust, ACTION, Africa Resources Trust and WWF (SARPO). The CAMPFIRE Association, the lead agency of the CAMPFIRE Collaborative Group, coordinated their projects and roles. In 1993, the Collaborative Group recognised that villages were really passive participants in CAMPFIRE, and asked WWF to develop appropriate methods to help Communal Area residents take a more active role in the natural resource management. Through the Support to CAMPFIRE Project (SupCAMP 1994 to 2002), WWF worked with farmers to develop methods – now documented as the Wildlife Management Series.

Most of the Wildlife Management Series are guideline manuals that explain how to perform a particular task, for example counting wildlife. In addition there are several toolboxes that are designed to guide a facilitator through a process, for example setting hunting quotas. SupCAMP also developed the CAMPFIRE Game, which is a participatory training tool for financial management.

The Wildlife Management Series and the CAMPFIRE Game are available below for download in PDF format, along with a critical review of the SupCAMP experience to provide extra insight for practitioners in similar fields.

Wildlife Management Series Manuals

Quota Setting (1187K) Counting Wildlife (1622K) District Toolbox (944K)
Electric Fencing (1497K) Financial Management (4060K) Fire Management (2556K)
Maintaining Electric Fencing (903K) Marketing Wildlife (1585K) Problem Animal Reporting (2483K)
Project Planning (2030K) Safari Hunting (725K)  



Board (382K) Rules (1020K) Financial Management


Critical Review of the SupCAMP experience

SupCAMP Review (237K)    

CAMPFIRE and co-management under a dynamic political system

Collaborative natural resource management (NRM) approaches combine a number of tools to support local natural resource managers in democratic and effective management of landscapes over the long-term. The survival and prosperity of these systems assume a steady-state social and political context.

But what happens to well established NRM approaches under the stress of political and economic upheaval? After a failed government referendum in February 2000, a wave of occupations of private and state land, and the lawlessness that has followed, has acted as a shock to NRM regimes in Zimbabwe. This research looks at two well established NRM approaches in Zimbabwe – CAMPFIRE and state-forest co-management initiatives – to assess what has changed in response to this “shock”.

Report forthcoming August 2005
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