Fighting fires with the community

Training participants meet the Ambassador cheetahs

Training participants meet the Ambassador cheetahs

A few weeks ago, I helped organize two multi-day fire management trainings at CCF for members of nearby communal conservancies. Communal conservancies in Namibia are community-based natural resource management organizations located on communal lands, which are government-owned lands that are locally managed by the country’s traditional communities. CCF is part of the Greater Waterberg Landscape, which brings together private landowners, communal conservancies, and existing protected areas (in this case, the Waterberg Plateau Park) with the goal of managing wildlife and other natural resources across property boundaries. I worked with the NAM-PLACE (Namibia Protected Landscape Conservation Areas) program, a joint effort between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Fund, to organize and fund this training.

Training participants in CCF's classroom

Training participants in CCF’s classroom

For two and half days, participants came and stayed at CCF to learn the basics of how to prevent and manage wild fires in their communities. It was a great chance for me to meet some interesting people and learn a little bit about life in the communal areas. Most of the participants were from the Herero tribe, one of the larger tribes in Namibia.

Branches and dried grass were lit in the soccer field to practice fighting fire

Branches and dried grass were lit in the soccer field to practice fighting fire

Part of the training was a practical lesson in how to use “fire beaters” to put out grass fires. A fire beater is essentially a large rubber broom that is used to smother fire. They work best when people work together in a line to extinguish the flames.

Practicing the use of "fire beaters" to put out fire

Practicing the use of “fire beaters” to put out fire

As part of the NAM-PLACE program, CCF is helping to bring many different types of trainings and revenue-generating activities to the four communal conservancies in Herero land. It is hoped that the development of wildlife tourism in these areas will create much-needed jobs and help restore habitat for cheetah and other threatened species.

Okamatapati Conservancy chairperson Ebenhard Karita receives his certificate from Chief Forester Helena Lutombi

Okamatapati Conservancy chairperson Ebenhard Karita receives his certificate from Chief Forester Helena Lutombi

Our time at CCF is now over, so stay tuned for news of our travels around Botswana and Namibia before we return home at the end of the month.

– Chris

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Fighting fires with the community

  1. lonna

    chris and jenna – could your time at CCF be up already? they are going to miss you two, but i know you must feel a great sense of accomplishment. a very memorable experience all around, for sure. happy trails and hope to see you both soon, with love, lonna

    Reply
  2. lauren.dietrich@gmail.com

    fires and beekeeping and gardening and cheetahs… how the time has flown by (on this reading end, at least). Enjoy your travels. Prayers for safety, health and happiness.
    Look forward to seeing you – and letting Elena crawl all over you, someday soon 😉

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s