In the business of rewilding Africa, so many countries, people and partners are involved that a lot of talking is essential. On a field visit to Zambia, diplomacy and an open ear are key to success for CEO of Peace Parks Foundation, Werner Myburgh.
The Simalaha Community Conservancy is part of an important potential wildlife corridor between parks in Botswana and Zambia, so it is essential to take into account the future of its people, the Lozi, to ensure that they benefit from opportunities that enhance their people’s way of life and future. Werner does this by travelling to the Conservancy for talks.
When Werner meets with Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta of the Simalaha Community Conservancy his respect to the chief is shown by kneeling and clapping. After all, the land and its resources are owned and managed by the community themselves. The role of Peace Parks is simply to support the community to achieve its goals. Werner also makes sure to meet with Sitefule Sanchindo who explains how much the Peace Parks Foundation work has helped towards replenishing fish stocks. This is vital to the future of the community – that relies on fish as a food source – and also the health of the ecosystem.
Another stop for Werner is to see the ten, brand-new ten-thousand-litre water tanks that will go to each village action group in the Community Conservancy. This will help to improve the lives of the people who live there, as water access will be easier.
And, finally, there is time to take in a bit of the scenery, a perk of the job and a revitalising aspect of any field trip. Being in the magical African landscape is a reminder of just why the Peace Parks mission is so important.
Inspired and driven by visionaries—Chief Nyambo Yeta of the Sesheke Chiefdom and Chief Sekute of the Sekute Chiefdom (who has sadly passed away), the conservancy forms a link between the Chobe National Park in Botswana and the Kafue National Park in Zambia. Also, interestingly, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) is the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area ever established and is an exciting initiative that involves five countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.