The African Bush Camps Foundation is a registered not-for-profit organisation that is committed to empowering rural communities through education, trade and conservation. We partner with communities on the outskirts of wildlife areas to become economically sustainable whilst ensuring that natural resources are protected and cared for.
We believe that by partnering with communities in establishing sustainable programs of education, income-generation, and conservation awareness and holding community events, we can together improve the communal quality of life and achieve long term conservation through responsible tourism.
It is with this background that over the past few months, the African Bush Camps Foundation has been conducting wide spread community based needs assessments to help come up with a development strategy for use in supporting the Chobe Enclave Community. The assessments were done in all the five villages spread out along north to south and they are Mabele, Kavimba, Kachikau, Satau, and Parakarungu.
Using their available community leadership structures, the communities have now s up a development committee which through further support and capacity building from within, they are taking ownership in the growth and development of their own people, identifying their needs and coming up with sustainable solutions which they will take ownership and pride in. In all the five villages, exciting and empowering projects have now been identified and will soon be taking off.
The village will soon be opening a hardware shop which will benefit all the five villages as this is a great need in the enclave. Vuche Vuche, is expanding their basketry skills and have now resolved to building a traditional hut which they hope to market to the local lodges so that they can bring their clients to learn a bit more about the Setswana culture. It has also emerged that there is a potential to host some private functions like weeding as there has been some enquires about this.
Members of the village excitedly gathered at the Kotgla and resolved to start a uniform making factory. This idea which was first raised early last year was borne out of the current hardships that the whole Chobe Enclave Community is facing in acquiring schools uniforms for their children. The nearest supplier of schools uniforms is in Kasane where one has to place an order for the uniforms and collect after 2-3 weeks of waiting. The village development committee has already been given a building for use in setting up the factory. The setting up and operations of the committee will be led by a committee of nine people from the village and supported with technical expertise from the foundation and other key stakeholders in the Enclave. The main objective of this development is to assist the local community take an initiative to development their own income levels using their locally available resources. The group already has two skilled seamstresses who have offered to use their skills in building the other community members.
Speaking during the sidelines of a stakeholder consultative meeting held at the Kotgla, the local chief (Kngosi), highlighted that the presence African Bush Camps Foundation and the setting up of a development committee that is looking into the various development issues affecting vulnerable members of the community has brought a ray of hope and excitement amongst the village elders and orphans as they are being targeted as the initial beneficiaries of this development.
“We are all so excited and are looking forward to a new beginning, as a community, we believe there is a lot of potential in our village, with so many young people young out of employment, this could be their spring board. The various Safari companies in the Enclave provide a potential market for our products only we if can produce good quality products and we establish partnerships with them”. (Jane Solkasla- Assistant to the chief).
Furthermore, what is particularly interesting with the development committee now set up, is that they have ensured that there is equal and adequate representation of all the productive age groups in the community and in particular ensuring that there is gender equity in the decision making structures of both the development committee and the chief’s administrative structures.
In line with our development and empowerment agenda, the committee will set aside a percentage of the sales and these can will be channelled towards key community activities and development initiatives already identified. Key amongst the development goals is the opening of a vocational training college for the community to target the unemployed youths of the community. When the initiative comes to fruition, this will community rooted initiative will transform the life of this usually dormant village. It is our hope that as the community embarks on this empowering self- determined route , we shall all come together to support them on this journey.
Our ABCF team is now extensively fundraising for this life changing and community empowering project with the intension of helping communities realise their dreams. We currently seek to purchase the required initial 5 sewing over-locking machines and related equipment. The same factory will also be used to manufacture the traditional Tswana dress which will be sold to the tourists who frequent the Enclave. The foundation will also support with the initial training of the members of the committee.