Community Development

Community Development

Eighty percent of the population throughout Africa live below the poverty line; have no access to safe drinking water, medical services, education, communications and food shortages. Droughts and floods are frequent throughout Africa and the frequency and intensity are growing every decade. News reels are often filled with starving people, drought stricken areas, livestock dying and this often leads to tribal clashes and killings. Every year there are appeals, rock concerts, charity events raising millions and millions of dollars, many of which do not end up supporting the people it was actually raised for but ends up supporting NGOs with lavish lifestyles, expensive rented houses, four by four vehicles, golf days and expensive lunches and dinners. We live in Africa and witness this daily. Donations and charities create jobs for ex-pats, often well paid, resulting in more than half the money raised not actually going to the benefit to the people who the money was raised for and who need it the most. British government aid to Uganda for water development, only 30% of the funds provided actually end up being used for water development, the balance of the money is used to cover the expenses of the ex-pats working for the aid project.

Community Development

People are tired of always being asked to give for charity, help raise money for Africa or other areas where there is a humanitarian crisis. And often the governments and the people from these areas have now become reliant on these hand outs and now just expect the aid to arrive, which it always does. There is no incentive to work or make things work, why bother when you know help will always arrive and you will be fed and looked after. Green Earth Africa is now working to not only change the mindset of the communities where food shortage, water shortage, sanitation, education and medication are limited but also the mindset of the millions of people, organisations and governments who are constantly asked to donate. We do not look for donations but are actually selling products which companies and individuals need, either through legislation, guilt or investment and need to or wish to purchase.Through the sale of our numerous environmental offset programmes or through our community online produce shop, funds are ploughed back into the community thus creating employment, poverty alleviation, self sufficiency and breaking the dependency on hand outs and donations.

All the land which Green Earth Africa has secured for their environmental offsets has been leased or adopted from local communities and a percentage of all turnover from this land is reinvested back into the communities

Cash is not handed over but managed by Green Earth Africa to ensure that all funds are accounted for and used to its maximum potential.Through initiatives created by the staff and management of Green Earth Africa, many home and cottage industries have been created throughout the areas of Green Earth Africa operations. There are many products which the communities have been producing in the past, but lack of transport, first world packaging, access to markets and marketing, very few of these products actually manage to make it to the local markets, never mind the international markets. All products encouraged and produced by the communities are organic, sustainable, non-perishable or recycled. Many sun dried fruit products are produced by the communities, sun dried wild mushrooms, sun dried chillies, sun dried tomatoes, Exotic African fruits (cream of Matata), coffee, tea, essential oils, organic honey, organic cotton, of which Green Earth Africa is assisting with a clothing range, African pottery, jewelry, paintings, recycled steel sculptures, stone carvings, shoes, tiles, toys, recycled railway sleeper furniture. The list goes on and on, please visit our online community shop ,browse, place your order, pay and leave with the feeling that what you have just bought the money is going back to the community which produced it, no middle men, no retail markups, no expats on big salaries ,perks and expenses accounts..

Community Development

Wherever Green Earth Africa operates throughout Africa, we do not do so without first consulting the local communities, chiefs and district governors, vital to be able to operate in a harmonious manner in Africa. With our many years experience working throughout Africa, our staff and management are familiar with the needs and sentiments of the local populations and understand and respect their customs. Through our community involvement and assistance, we are slowly influencing the communities that although they need the forests and wildlife to survive, destroying them will eventually lead to their own survival been put in question. By generating another stream of income from the forests through protecting them, rather than destroying them, their wealth will gradually begin to increase and amenities which many take for granted will gradually become available to them, jobs will be created, their children will be educated and their health and life expectancy will gradually improve. As sub Saharan Africa is recognised as one of the poorest regions in the world, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line, it is a known fact that 60% of these communities depend directly on the forest for their livelihoods. Through education programmes and supply of raw/basic materials Green Earth Africa will bring other sources of income to these communities, rather than them destroying their natural resources. Green Earth Africa will also embark on a programme of community upliftment and development.

These programmes include:

  • Construction and supplies of schools and clinics.
  • The supply of clean water systems  for sanitation as a priority
  • Set up of small scale business such as organic honey production, African art, and manufacturing.
  • Sustainable agricultural projects, including modern minimum tillage and water conservation  farming  techniques and water saving irrigation projects
  • Long term projects include the electrification of villages through solar and wind generators, dam construction, and bridge and road rehabilitation.
  • Timber plantations and sustainable plantation management and managed charcoal production.

Forest-based activities provide around 30 million informal jobs in sub-Saharan African countries, as well as 13 to 35 percent of all rural nonfarm employment. Yet many of the 240 million or more people who live in forested areas live in poverty.

At least one-quarter of the forested land in developing countries is under some form of community control, and that proportion is likely to increase. Domestic markets for forest products are also expanding, and should create new economic opportunities for low-income households; however, transportation and marketing are the main setback for this to flourish. Increased trade in forest products and investment in forest-based industries can stimulate economic growth. Developing countries export yearly wood products worth more than US $23 billion, yet in many places just a small fraction of the profits benefit small-scale producers and forest dwellers. Unfair trade practices, distorted markets, corruption and weak governance all undermine the contribution forests could make to improving local livelihoods. Many of the timber harvested from the community forests throughout Africa is illegal login and completely mismanaged, if in fact there is any management at all. Many millions of dollars is traded from the wildlife found within the forests and Savannah, but most of this is derived from illegal hunting, poaching and wildlife trafficking, often controlled by offshore consortium with a chain of traders beginning at the bottom, i.e. the communities which live of the forests, and these people receive only a fraction of the actual value of the wildlife which is being exploited. During the coming years, a number of global trends will have a significant effect on forests and the people who depend on them. These include China’s demand for wood and wildlife products, the geographic shift in industrial timber production away from Asia, greater investment in industrial tree planting and the increasing demand for bio-fuels. 

To better manage the impact of globalised trade and investment on forests, Green Earth Africa, working with the communities are implementing sustainable management of the forests and wildlife, and involvement of the community to assist in the establishment of large timber plantations with the majority of jobs created going to the local community, a percentage of all forests planted will be allocated to the communities for fuel wood and a percentage of all profits will be reinvested in the community in the form of development and new community industry.

Community Development

As most of Green Earth Africa’s land concessions involve wild life areas as well as forests, the wild life has to be managed. Historically the local population has killed wild life indiscriminately, mostly for food, but also some of the protected species such as elephant and rhino have been killed for the ivory or horn. Smaller and rarer species are caught for the illegal wildlife trafficking business. This has been a source of income for the locals; however it is destructive for the wildlife populations. Green Earth Africa is committed to not only saving the forests, but also the natural faun and wildlife of the area. It is recognised that the locals will still need a source of protein, but with the investment in better road maintenance and upkeep, communications will improve, access to new and cheap sources of proteins will become available and with the income received from the job creation and income from managed resources, new sources of protein will be within the reach of the communities. Live stocking programs will be introduced, including the distribution of cattle, goats, and poultry. As a number of Green Earth Africa’s concessions have large water bodies in them, the local population will also be taught how to operate sustainable fishing operations, and fish farms may be set up. These have already been proven to be successful sources of income in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. All these projects have been implemented by various organisations throughout Southern Africa, and if managed correctly all can be successful. Through the encouragement and support of local entrepreneurs the success is more or less guaranteed.

A very successful model of income received by community who become involved in the correct management of their resources is the extremely successful Campfire model established in Zimbabwe. The following is a summary about the Campfire model that was set up in Zimbabwe:

Environment Setting

Zimbabwe farming

Much of Zimbabwe is semi-arid, with a low and variable rainfall making the country prone to drought. Comprised predominantly of broad-leafed deciduous Miombo and Mopane woodland and savannah, land use varies from intensive crop production to extensive cattle and wildlife production along a rainfall-altitude gradient. This is reflected in the agro-ecological survey of the country (Vincent and Thomas 1960) which identifies Natural Regions IV and V as unsuited to rain fed agriculture, and best used for extensive rangeland production systems. This is further supported by economic research (Jansen et al 1992) and the conversion of land from livestock to wildlife (Price Waterhouse 1994), which has demonstrated, economic distortions notwithstanding, that wildlife is a highly competitive form of land use in these drier regions. Wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe is achieved over some 50,000 km2 or 13% of the country, in the State Protected Parks and Wild Life Estate situated mostly in the lower altitude, poor rainfall areas around the periphery of the country. An equivalent area of 40-50,000 km2 of communally occupied land is either adjacent to or near the Parks Estate where wildlife populations are relatively abundant, especially where human population density is low (<10 persons/ km2) and wildlife habitat (> 50% of land area) is intact
(Taylor 1999). It is in these less developed, more remote areas that CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources) was initially implemented in the late 1980s, the performance of which during the period 1989-2001 is summarised here.

Livelihood Issues

Because of historical land apportionment along inequitable and racial lines, the majority of the country’s population occupies marginal agricultural land (Murphree and Cumming 1991, Jones and Murphree 2001). Until very recently, a dual economy based upon large-scale commercial agriculture on alienated land, and subsistence agriculture on communal land has characterised land use. In the latter, uncertain livelihoods lead to opportunistic risk aversion strategies in this environment, whilst the recent colonial past shapes the wider socio-political context in which natural resource management occurs.

CAMPFIRE was designed by the then Department of National Parks & Wild Life Management (DNPWLM, now the Parks & Wildlife Management Authority, PWMA) in the mid 1980s (Martin 1986). It is a long-term programmatic approach to rural development that uses wildlife and other natural resources as a mechanism for promoting devolved rural institutions and improved governance and livelihoods (Child et al 2003). The cornerstone of CAMPFIRE is the devolution of rights to manage, use, dispose of, and benefit from natural resources.

The tables below indicate the success of the scheme in monetary terms of the country wide project, and how the funds were disbursed.

Revenue earned by RDC’s with appropriate authority for wildlife 1989-2001

  Sport Hunting Tourism Sale of ivory and hides Other Total
1989-2001 US$ 18,152,074 464,915 1,165,076 507,090 20,289,784
% total activity 90 2 6 2 100
Allocation of revenue earned by wildlife in RDC’s 1989-2001
  Disbursed to community District level wildlife management Council levy Other Not Allocated
1989-2001 US$ 9,890,292 4,080,194 2,506,885 680,491 3,125,383
% of total activity 46 20 15 5 14
The total number of households receiving wildlife revenue increased from 7,861 in 1989 to 98,964 in 1995.

Further to this, an increase in wildlife populations was recorded in all areas where the project was undertaken, with elephant populations rising from just over 4000 to nearly 13000 during the period. Obviously the sport hunting being the main source of income is extremely closely monitored, to ensure that wild life numbers are allowed to grow to populations that are ideally suited for the habitat, whilst keeping the numbers intact.

In conclusion CAMPFIRE (and its equivalents elsewhere in southern Africa), confirms the concept that the devolution of responsibility and accountability for natural resource management can be highly effective for the collective and participatory management of such resources. Such devolution also leads to improved local institutions and governance.

At no time do the staff and management of Green earth Africa engage in any form of hunting, but they do however understand the arguments of controlled hunting and the benefits it can have for the community as demonstrated in the above document and  exsounding success of the Campfire project. Green earth Africa are however, exploring the concept of Green Hunting, a new concept in which the hunter receive the thrill of their hunt and the “kill” but the animals are “shot either with darts, paintball or laser tagging. The advantages are that the game is not killed, if darted can be tagged, collared and then tracked on the web, clients pay large sums for the thrill and income is received by the community without the depletition of the wildlife populations. It is Green Earth Africa’s intention to establish a “green hunting “operation at one of its safari camps for a trial period, obviously with the full involvement of the community.