By Life Connected

Introduction to our plan

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“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”

Peter Marshall

Kafue National Park, in Zambia, is currently in decline. Many of the locals live in poverty, and in combination with a lack of involvement or sense of ownership, enough people choose to enter the park (not fenced) for often unsustainable sources of income (bush encroachment and poaching). They simply need to feed their families. The result is that the vegetation and animal populations suffer on a large scale. With regard to animal populations, it is estimated that only 10% to 20% of carrying capacity is left. This situation is such a shame, because the potential for the preservation of nature, but also prosperity for the locals, is enormous in and around this Park. Kafue NP is slightly smaller than The Netherlands (including the Game Management Areas surrounding the Park) and contains very diverse landscapes; from Serengeti-like grasslands to marshes and dense forests. In addition, it is part of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Areas which links large nature parks (including the Okavango and Chobe) from 5 different countries. When the ecological corridor of KAZA is finished, animals can migrate freely from one park or country to another. This would make the rehabilitation of Kafue more than plausible, if the current problematic situation is resolved.

It always has been our believe that the only way to preserve nature for the long term is by involving the locals. They need to benefit from the resources that are available in the park (think tourism, sustainable hunting, the extraction of resin, honey farming, agroforestry, selling of seeds, fishing, you name it...). This is the reason why we think that fencing of an entire park and certain tasks of anti-poaching units are a wrong or even immoral way of allocating a lot of tax payers money. As the root cause of conservation issues often correlates with the lack of local welfare, we should rather invest in the welfare of the people than invest in activities that lock the locals out of what they need to accomplish this.

So this is essence of what we want do; we want to create business opportunities for, and together with the local people who live around Kafue National Park. Through this path we want to improve both the quality and the sustainability of their livelihoods. And as a result, we believe that the negative impact on animals in the wild will decrease and that nature will be able to flourish again in this beautiful landscape. The main problem, however, is that the locals often miss a network, the financial opportunities and often knowledge to create these business opportunities themselves. The task of our organization is to jump into this gap by bringing them into contact with bodies that, for example, issue microloans, guiding them in the process of forming a business (idea or plan), empowering them with workshops and other forms of educational support. Our only requirement is that the businesses we help to create will be sustainable.

The past has shown that progress often goes hand in hand with the deterioration of natural resources. We can not believe and will not accept that this the rule. It is time that we recognize that the only objectively sensible way to continue our development as a species, is to steer toward circumstances that benefit all that are “By Life Connected”.

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