Hunting to Benefit the Rural Poor

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK Proceeds, generated in recent trophy-hunting excursions in which elephant, tsetsebe and other game culled from Bwabwata West National Park, are being appropriated to San villagers listed in a ground-breaking, poverty-alleviation project. Roughly a sum of N$100ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 set aside from the N$1,2 million accrued from trophy-hunting involving wealthy American big-game hunters and a donation funnelled through the Kyaramacan Trust from Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), is being distributed. In a telephonic interview yesterday, Chief Ben Ngombara of the Khwe community said large San settlements such as Omega One, Omega Three, Mut’jiku, Chetto, Mushambo, Mushangara and Mushashane would each receive N$10ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 from the N$1,2 million, while tiny villages, namely Pipo, Muatu also known as Kandjendje near Chetto, Samakwi and Mangarangandja, would each receive cash payments of N$5ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 per settlement. The chief said the Kyaramacan Trust, solely established as the vehicle through which the game proceeds are to be funnelled to the San community resident in eastern Kavango and western Caprivi, has given the beneficiaries carte blanche on how they are to spend. “We are distributing the money from the Kyaramacan Association and each and every community is at liberty to spend the money how they want to. They could even use it for a Christmas party or they could plough it back into another community project,” he said. The balance from the N$1,2 million would be used for other worthy projects for the San. He said his subjects also benefited from the game meat from the tsetsebe, buffalo, elephant and other wild animals hunted recently from Bwabwata West National Park. A local professional safari hunter, John Wambach, outbid other hunters by securing hunting rights for Bwabwata West that stretches from Omega to Mut’jiku village. He was given permission to cull one tsetsebe, two elephant, six buffalo, and one crocodile he hunted for a group of wealthy American clients. Another benefit accrued to the Khwe from Bwabwata West National Park came in the form of short-term employment contracts landed by a group of San trackers and skinners. The chief said the community is more than happy to reap benefits from this sustainable and collective use of natural resources, and this would simply strengthen the community’s perception on the importance of the natural resources in their area. He said the decision to allocate amounts ranging from N$5ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 to N$10ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000, depending on the size of the beneficiary settlement, was reached upon at two separate Annual General Meetings that were held last week at Omega and at Omega Three. The ambitious game-management programme was formulated amidst concerns that members of the Khwe community were on the bottom of both the economic and social scale largely because they were victims of political segregation for various reasons. The two hunting concessions through which the community expects to reap some benefits are Kwando on the east, named after the Kwando River, and Buffalo in the west, named after a colonial military base previously occupied by the-then occupational South-West African Territorial Forces. But already the community has expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the concession on the east is managed and it says it will invite bidders for this concession mainly as a result of its inactivity and the lack of benefits thereof. Even in the documents that invited bidders for the hunting concessions, the community had explicitly stated that it reserves the right to award the hunting concession to the safari operator it deems as the most advantageous to the long-term operation of the concession. Though the present concession contract was for the 2006 hunting season, there is an opportunity for the concessionaire with rights on Bwabwata West to have his concession renewed next year, according to initial tender documents.