What is the environmental or ecological challenge you are targeting with your solution?:
Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest (and unfenced) protected area covering 14,500 sq kms, which is well known for its large population of elephants (approximately 40,000 elephants). Hwange is also home to a thriving population of Lions, Hyena’s, Cheetah’s, Leopard’s and many smaller predators who’s success depend on the strong population of herbivores, who in turn depend on the availability of good grazing, browsing and water. Communities living on the edge of the protected area in a communal land setting face the challenge of living with these animals as, Elephant’s and baboon’s raid crops, Lions and Hyena’s attack livestock. Climate change, erratic rainfall, poor soils, siltation of water sources are some of the issues that make these problems all the harder to live with. The soft Foot Alliance works on applying solutions to these problems within a holistic framework. First improving people’s lives by reversing the degradation of the landscape on which all people, livestoc
Describe the context in which you are operating:
The Mabale communal lands borders Hwange National Park and the surrounding protected areas covering the eastern boundary. The main access road between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls acts as the boundary between these two unfenced areas. This whole area falls under the traditional leadership of Chief Nelukoba Dingani. Each village is comprised of homesteads and fields covering between 4-8 acres per family. 25 - 30 homesteads per village with +/- 12 people per homestead and between 3 and 20 cattle and 3 and15 goats per homestead. There are 12 villages in this particular ward. Livestock are kept, not primarily for meat, but rather as assets, for social status and for cultural status too. Young men, who have dropped out of school and seen as having little prospects usually herd livestock. Grazing takes place both in communal land and on forestry commission land, which is the wildlife area adjacent to the national park and across the main road to the communal area. The presence of wild animals means herders often leave livestock unattended, preferring to sit on the road and collect the herd at the end of the day. The main employment in the area is related to the photographic safari industry, this being said unemployment is still very high, 90% of people are unemployed. Subsistence rain-fed agriculture is the community’s main life source, with maize being the preferred crop over smaller traditional grains.