After a successful first-day meeting with the Herding 4 Health team and identifying a 4×4 route for an upcoming expedition planned in Banhine National Park, Peace Parks Foundation’s Senior Project Manager in Mozambique, Antony Alexander, is taken to see some wells that the local communities have dug within the park to improve their access to water during the drought.

There are ten wells that the team have identified on their morning drive, evidently used for both human and cattle consumption. With Banhine currently in the tight grip of a drought, the local communities surrounding the park have been forced to move their livestock further into the protected area where water is more readily available. But this does not come without its own challenges to humans, cattle and nature due to overgrazing and increased human-wildlife conflict.

The Challenge Ahead

To help mitigate these risks to both the communities and nature, Peace Parks Foundation, in collaboration with the COmON Foundation and Conservation International, has been involved in implementing the multi-faceted Herding 4 Health programme. Already having been successfully rolled out in countries like South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique, it aims to promote conservation outcomes while supporting people living in rural areas. You can learn more about how this has been done here.

In areas that have low rainfall and poor groundwater quality such as Banhine, Peace Parks is actively working alongside the local communities to come up solutions of how to improve year-round access to water. In communities where quality groundwater is available, Peace Parks has installed borehole points which provides both humans and their cattle with access to water, but in other areas where a borehole is not an option, Peace Parks, through the Herding 4 Health programme, is working alongside communities to allow them access into Banhine’s conservation area during the dry season.

Visits like these are extremely important for Antony to see the current challenges that the communities on the ground face, which will help Peace Parks improve and adjust their current work being done in the area, and of course, to touch base with the people who live and work here.