Namibia's communal area conservancy's continue to benefit wildlife outside of formally protected areas, empower local communities, and diversify rural livelihoods. The Namibian Newspaper reports that in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 44 communal-area conservancies generated close to $US 2 million through community-based natural resource management activities and five of them, including the one we helped to establish, ≠Khoadi //Hôas, are fully self sufficient. Namibia's communal area's contain 70% of the nations wildlife, and conservancies now cover more than 105 000 square kilometers of land.
I have written here about the ecological benefits of community-based natural resource management in Namibia. Now there are some equally impressive economic numbers that demonstrate tangible benefits from Conservancies in these communities.
"Some have paid out cash dividends to members, some have supported local schools, while others have used part of their income to assist the elderly. Some income was used to protect water installations from elephants...In 2005, conservancies employed 208 people full-time and 26 part-time. A further 307 full-time jobs and 58 part-time jobs were created by joint venture tourism lodges in conservancies. Agreements with trophy hunters provided a further 67 jobs..."
There is an excellent profile of ≠Khoadi //Hôas and the benefits of Community-based Conservation at the Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace by Brian Jones, who was with the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism when we were helping the conservancy become established and who wrote the enabling legislation for communal area conservancies in Namibia that was enacted in 1996.
If you happen to be planning to travel through Northwest Namibia, you can stay at a secluded campsite with hot showers and flush toilets or the Grootberg Lodge, both owned by the Conservancy and operated for the benefit of those who live on the land and depend on its natural resources.