Botswana: 'Consider Funding Conservation Projects'

Mapoka — Potential financiers have been asked to look into funding projects that promote conservation and restoration of forests in Botswana.

Officiating at an event marking the success of Forest Conservation Botswana (FCB) funded projects in Mapoka recently, former first lady Ms Barbara Mogae said FCB had been a champion of rehabilitating land and forests across the country.

The organisation gave Nlapkhwane Lingilila Conservation Trust P700 000 which was channeled towards the erection of gabions, rehabilitation of dongas and valleys, building of pump house and purchase of tools to rehabilitate the land within the trust plot, she said.

Ms Mogae said FCB also funded Mapoka VDC to the tune of P1 million to rehabilitate degraded land by building gabions and planting trees.

The former first lady said though FCB funding was ending this year, communities should not let their dreams die.

"Botswana is our home; we should protect and conserve our natural resources by all means for future generations," she said.

Ms Mogae noted that over the past 10 years, FCB supported 46 projects across the country by rehabilitating land and planting indigenous trees in danger of becoming extinct.

She said Batswana appreciated conservation of forests as shown by the commitment they had displayed towards the success of the projects.

The former first lady however advised communities not to depend on external funding but to utilise local visionary leaders who studied and specialized in specific fields to come with strategies to protect and save their villages.

In his remarks, FCB chief executive officer Mr Joshua Moloi said his organisation partnered with the US government in 2006 to assist Botswana communities in forest management.

The organisation, he said, had so far assisted many villages by funding projects aimed at maintaining and restoring forests.

Mr Moloi said with the Nlapkhwane and Mapoka projects, the aim was to reduce land degradation by constructing gabion structures and planting trees.

He said the purpose of the celebration was to market the Nlapkhwane and Mapoka projects to potential financiers for growth.

He said all the FCB funded projects were community driven aimed at livelihood improvement as they employed people in those local communities.

Department of Forestry and Range Resources District coordinator, Ms Kgomotsego Mazebedi said land rehabilitation was very important because climate change had brought about many negative impacts.

She stated that North East District was one of the most degraded districts due to limited grazing land, dongas and valleys.

Ms Mazebedi observed that maintaining projects became a challenge when funding stopped and encouraged communities to continue being committed to the projects. She said through the land rehabilitation projects, Mapoka and Nlaphkwane could become champions of land conservation.

Kgosi Mukani Mudongo of Nlapkhwane commended FCB for funding the communities for a common goal of conserving forests.

As communities, he said, they had learnt a lot through the partnership adding that they would continue the legacy.

Source : BOPA

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