On a recent trip to Mozambique, Peace Parks Foundation’s Systems and Compliance Manager Stefan van Zyl, and Project Compliance Coordinator, Kelly Human visited Maputo National Park to create community awareness surrounding a new project funded by the Blue Action Fund.
Not only are Stefan and Kelly facilitating increased awareness about what the new project entails, but they are also informing the community of the impacts and how it will benefit them. They also discuss grievance mechanisms to see what the best way would be for people to share their concerns. Stefan explains that this is particularly important because if any situation arises where a community member is negatively impacted, there needs to be a communication channel in place that will allow Peace Parks Foundation and the park to act.
The Importance Of Community Awareness
Communities are essential for successful conservation to take place, and with their support and buy-in, many projects will be able to succeed. Stakeholder engagement within communities is, therefore, very important. It includes creating awareness of new projects, listening to their ideas and challenges, as well as including them in any major decisions being made. This process helps to ensure that the community understands and supports the project as well as to make sure that what is being implemented is beneficial for the local people living around the park on a long-term basis.
Stefan explains that it is easy to build grievance mechanisms that might work for the office or the donors but can be quite far removed from what will work on the ground within the communities. For this reason, the Peace Parks team heads out to these communities to have face-to-face discussions of what will best work for all parties involved.
Tourism And Communities
As Maputo National Park grows from strength to strength, tourism interest continues to build. With a handful of 5-star lodges already operating in the park and, of course, with Membene Lodge soon to open, the park appeals to all types of travellers. The boost in tourism infrastructure here will help to build resilient communities in the landscape through employment opportunities as well as 20% of all revenue generated from the park goes back to the people living here.
When nature thrives, so too do the communities!
Stay tuned to Peace Parks TV to learn more about this exciting new project!