When walking along the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia, it quickly becomes clear why it has captured the imagination of travellers for centuries. Its source is a marshy black wetland in the centre of Zambia’s iconic Miombo Woodlands. From there it flows through all six of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area’s partner states: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

As the fourth largest river in Africa, it puts food on the table of millions of people living along its banks. It also feeds two of the continent’s most important hydroelectric power stations that keep the industries of four different countries going.

Hundreds of millions of species, from megafauna to micro-organisms, depend solely on its waters for survival. If kept healthy, it can contribute to meeting nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by reducing poverty, preventing hunger, promoting good health and well-being, establishing gender equality, creating decent work resulting in economic growth, contributing to responsible consumption and climate action, protecting life below water, and fostering strong global partnerships through investment in sustainable fisheries and meeting aquaculture needs.

Peace Parks Foundation has been working alongside the people of Zambia to restore balance to the river’s ecosystem in places where the natural resources have been severely depleted due to unsustainable use. Efforts include the promotion of sustainable fishing practices, as well as the establishment of the first community-managed transboundary fishery project in partnership with the Namibia Nature Foundation.

It has not always been easy, as change is sometimes difficult, especially when certain practices have been common for generations. However, Simalaha’s traditional leaders have come together to lead their people in change, helping them to take ownership of their natural environment.

Thanks to the dedicated support of the donor community, Peace Parks is proud to work alongside the people of the Simalaha Community Conservancy, in partnership with many like-minded organisations, to foster lasting conservation impact that will secure the health of not only the Zambezi River, but everything that thrives off it.