Most of the lands and waters around Nsumbu National Park and indeed the whole Southern section of Lake Tanganyika falls under the people of the Tabwa and Lungu tribes. These people are the real owners of the lands and all that reside there. Traditionally, fishing and hunting was sustainable due to lower human populations and a lack of markets for fish, meat and other natural products. But the recent past has seen the decimation of many natural resources while a changing population dynamics has exasperated the problems.
Alienation of communities through the legacies of consecutive governments and their land and wildlife policies has eroded traditional values for the land. In fact it is often cited as one of the biggest contributing factors in Africa towards biodiversity loss.
Ensuring that communities are engaged at every step of the way and empowered to make decisions is then only way there can be success in the long term. Communities and people need to see tangible benefits to looking after their resources and they need to be given the powers to decide how this can be achieved.
Conservation Lake Tanganyika recognizes that ultimately improving the capacity, ability and understanding of local communities is the only way to ensure the perpetual survival of Lake Tanganyika and its amazing ecosystems. The challenges are immense in a sector where legislation and precedence does not favor devolving rights to communities. However these weaknesses are being recognized in Zambia and CLT currently focuses our support of the communities towards creating the necessary groundwork to ensure communities are ready for and can make the most of developments happening in the region. Our work to date includes:
- Providing all requirements for the first ever democratic election of the Nsama Community Resource Board, including training and provision of supplies on an ongoing basis.
- Creation of a Community Fisheries Committee to engage with government on fishing methods, licencing and management initiatives.
- Provision of experience building trips for key community members to tourism hotpots in other areas of Zambia
- Provision of training and ongoing support to 30 farmers in Conservation Farming methods as alternate livlihoods.
- Embarking on creating land use plans for Tondwa GMA to guide development.
- Providing technical knowhow to the Nsama CRB towards engaging directly with government on income retention from Natural resources, investor opportunities and Public Private partnerships.