As part of our responsible development approach to conservation, ALERT seeks to create ways that stakeholders can gain benefits from supporting conservation to motivate that support.
On Wednesday 12th June the Zambia Forestry Department met with the Dambwa community members who together form the Joint Forest Management Committee for Dambwa. This Committee is a partnership between government and community to share the responsibility for managing the Dambwa Forest, and to share in the benefits created from that management.
ALERT, in partnership with Lion Encounter operates part of the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program in Dambwa, including a breeding centre and stage two release area housing a total of 21 lions.
This meeting, hosted generously by the headmaster at Maunga Basic School, was to provide a payment to the Committee as a share of the revenues generated by the commercial aspects of the lion release program in Zambia, a donation of over $40,000 to date. With these funds the Committee are able to plan long term and achieve already agreed objectives for the common good of all eight villages surrounding the Dambwa Forest, and of course for the maintenance and regeneration of the Forest itself.
The community have been encouraged by the Forest Department to invest in revenue generating activities such as bee keeping, thatching, brick making and crafts. The Forestry Department appealed to community members to come forward and take up the positions made available to them as Honorary Forest Rangers that empowers them to make arrests for illegal activities in the Forest.