Community farming projects are changing lives every day. Bird’s eye chillies have more bite than just the sauces they are added to; they are building houses, buying furniture and opening bank accounts for growers. In the four short years the project* has been on the go, it has completely changed the lives of those involved – for the better, and without exception. read more
In 2005 the Mozambican government appointed Peace Parks Foundation to provide assistance with its community development strategy in the Matutuine district. The goals of this strategy were to provide technical and professional training to community members, and to bring about the sustainable economic development of and benefit-sharing by communities living in and around Maputo Special Reserve. This would be done through a consultative and participatory process that would also develop nature-based tourism and conservation enterprises. The foundation subsequently appointed a community development coordinator to implement the strategy.
Community Development Facility
In 2013 the Community Development Facility (CDF) was launched as a joint initiative between the government of Mozambique, COmON Foundation and Peace Parks Foundation. One of the first projects to be completed was the provision of fresh drinking water to nine communities, comprising 2 300 people and their cattle. Pumps linked to solar panels are used to pump the water. To manage the water-supply project, a water management committee was established for every borehole.
The CDF has also enabled the following projects:
In 2011 Ahi Zameni Chemucane, a community association representing three rural Mozambican communities, signed a 25-year partnership agreement with the Bell Foundation and received an interest-free loan from African Safari Lodge Foundation to develop a luxury ecotourism lodge in the northern section of Maputo Special Reserve. Following an inspection by a team of district services for economic activities, health and public works, Anvil Bay Lodge received a tour operator license and became fully operational. It has 11 guest units, a restaurant and a beach bar. The lodge uses solar energy and endeavours to minimise its impact on the environment. It employs 31 workers, 29 of whom are from local communities. The bar, restaurant, housekeeping and logistics are managed by local community members who received their training at the SA College for Tourism.
With technical assistance from Piri-Piri Elephant Mozambique, farmers paticipating in the chilli project were trained in good practices for soil management, seed bed preparation and management, planting, fertiliser application, disease control and post-harvest quality control. A second seedling nursery was established and thechilli project was extended from three to seven hectares. An agricultural extension officer, with experience in chilli production, was appointed and a better price was negotiated for the harvest. Crop rotation between chillies and potatoes was also started, to provide communities with a year-long harvest, while ensuring food security and the sale of surplus crops. The community harvested more than 8.8 tonnes of chillies and 45 000 seedlings were obtained for the new season. A sustainability plan was drafted to schedule production and increase community ownership for the 20 families (100 people) in the scheme.
The community increased the size of the vegetable planting area from 1.5 to 6 ha, with an additional area under shade netting to grow a variety of peppers and chilli seedlings. The community was trained in pests affecting crops and which pesticides to use. They harvested 8.6 tonnes of green beans and another 70 000 vegetable seedlings were planted. A sustainability plan was drafted to schedule production and increase community ownership for the 35 families (175 people) in the scheme.
Conservation agriculture project
Altogether 314 families from nine different communities are now participating in a conservation agriculture project, which generates higher yields on smaller plots.
Three honey production associations were created for 64 members, with 192 beehives distributed and members trained in production techniques.
Other non-CDF community projects are also under way:
In association with ANAC, the foundation in launched a new support partnership with Blue Ventures to incorporate community health elements into the Maputo Special Reserve and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve conservation programme. One of the major challenges has been unmet family-planning needs, which result in higher than desired fertility rates, increased pressure on natural resources and the limited ability of women to contribute meaningfully to the economy. Peace Parks Foundation is pleased to now learn from the Blue Ventures experience with integrated Population-Health-Environment programming. Later in the year, 15 lobbyists were appointed to work on community health aspects within selected communities. A memorandum of understanding was also drafted with AMODEFA, a Mozambican family-planning and reproductive health association, to provide training and technical support in 2017. It is hoped that this will prove to be a successful pilot project that can be implemented in other TFCAs across the region.
Sustainable fishing in Maputo Bay
In November 2015, a contract was signed with Centro Terra Viva to research the extent of artisanal fishing in Maputo Bay, thanks to support from Fondation Ensemble. The project was introduced to the Machangulo Community Fishing Association, with a request to identify candidates who could monitor fishing catches. A first introductory meeting was held with community councils to explain the objectives of the project and obtain guidance on its implementation.
As a first step in determining sustainable fishing limits, meetings were conducted with the community fishermen to determine quantities of fish acceptable for household consumption, especially in the lakes inside the reserve. It was decided that fishermen have to register with the Fishing Community Council and obtain a fishing license. Four monitors were appointed and trained and the data collection process is under way. The monitors will provide data on current fishing practices to guide the development of a fishing management programme and alternative livelihood projects.
In November 2015, the consortium of Peace Parks Foundation and the Joaquim Chissano Foundation won the World Bank’s Mozambique Conservation Areas for Biodiversity and Development Project (Mozbio) bid as service provider, over the next three years, to support the development of projects to enhance the livelihoods of communities living adjacent to Maputo Special Reserve and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve. Following a formalised community and district consultation process, the first project was approved. It will include the installation of various community water systems and the development of livestock and agriculture projects around these systems. The project will also incorporate community awareness programmes, using theatre and radio.