Strengthening Community-Based Wildlife Management in Zambia

Zambia’s protected areas are home to abundant wildlife which bring in millions of tourism dollars annually. Yet each year, agriculture encroaches on wildlife habitats, intensifying human-wildlife conflict that results in crop destruction, livestock attacks, and deadly human-animal encounters. Within the wildlife & natural resource sectors in Zambia, men make up the vast majority of wildlife scouts who patrol the country’s national parks & hold most positions on Community Resource Boards (CRBs), responsible for local natural resource management.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program works to mitigate threats to wildlife by securing community land rights, strengthening community governance structures and land use planning in wildlife areas, increasing women’s participation in wildlife governance and law enforcement, and advancing the wildlife economy. ILRG piloted a gender responsive CRB election process & provided capacity building support to women members. ILRG is working with NGO extension agents to integrate women’s leadership modules into trainings, creating a new cohort of wildlife sector professionals who understand the importance of women’s empowerment in achieving natural resource objectives. The program also worked with the Department of National Parks & Wildlife to recruit & train a cadre of women scouts to patrol Lower Zambezi National Park, which included gender-based violence mitigation efforts.

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