Akashinga and Conserve Global Partner to Strengthen Inclusive Conservation Efforts in the Kunene Highlands, Namibia

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Kunene Highlands, Namibia – July 2, 2024: Akashinga, in collaboration with Conserve Global and Kunene Conservation, is pleased to announce a partnership designed to strengthen inclusive conservation efforts in the Kunene Highlands in Namibia. This project, which, at its full extent, covers 2.5 million acres, represents an opportunity to enhance community-led conservation and increase the engagement and involvement of women in conservation. Namibia’s dedication and emphasis on conservation-friendly policies further support the project’s viability, potentially establishing it as a model for future initiatives.

Namibia is internationally recognized for its community-led conservation efforts, and this partnership aims to build on past successes while addressing critical resource and capacity challenges in frontline communities. Key interventions include mitigating human-elephant conflicts, improving water management, and rehabilitating degraded rangelands.

The Kunene Highlands project encompasses eleven community conservancies, covering nearly 10,000 km². This area provides essential conservation connectivity between Etosha National Park, the Kunene River conservancies to the north, and the Skeleton Coast to the west, including the Ombonde Peoples Park. The region supports diverse wildlife, including approximately 300 free-roaming elephants, leopards, giraffes, black-faced impala, kudu, and Hartmann’s zebra, as well as a variety of bird species.

Bathed in the golden light of dawn, a kudu enjoys a peaceful morning meal, blending seamlessly into the landscape. (Photo: Akashinga)

Significant challenges addressed by this project include human-elephant conflicts, particularly around water sources and vegetable gardens, and the need for improved management capacity to prevent unsustainable natural resource use, especially overgrazing. Additionally, the project aims to enhance the performance of nature-based businesses to deliver economic benefits to community members.

Over the past two years, Conserve Global (Conserve) has laid the foundation to address these challenges. In September 2022, Conserve signed a 20-year service-level agreement with the Orupupa Conservancy, facilitated by Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), a key partner to Conserve. To deliver this service, Conserve established Kunene Conservation (KC), a local Namibian legal entity with its own functioning Board. In 2023, additional conservancies including Ehi-rovipuka, Okangundumba, and Ozundundu, requested KC’s support.

Trees stand resilient in the expansive Kunene Highlands of Namibia, a testament to nature's enduring strength. (Photo: Peter Chadwick)

This project will foster a coordinated landscape-scale approach to natural resourceuse to buffer the system from climatic shocks through improved rangeland management. This holistic, integrated collaboration aims to unlock the benefits of improved management and human capital development at a landscape scale.

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