Grünau — After struggling for years to source funding, residents of //Gamaseb and !Gawachab conservancies in //Kharas region could not hide their joy when they recently received N$3 million from the European Union (EU) through the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF).
Johannes Markus, the chairperson of the group said, "We optimally benefit from wildlife in our conservancy through purposes of self-sustainability and further as a means of income generation."
The chairperson stated poaching remains the biggest challenge being faced by the community.
"Our conservancy is situated 60km from the Seeheim road where our wild animals drink water from the river running from Neckartal Dam thus prone to poachers," he informed New Era.
Explaining details of the funding to the groups during a meeting, Louis Mungendje said the project accountant of the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) said N$3 million granted to the two conservancies is part of the funding to Namibia from a global European Union project.
"The objectives of the fund is to rehabilitate boreholes to address water shortages experienced and improve the livelihood of the conservancies residents, livestock and the entire ecosystem," he elaborated. Mungendje said after securing funds against the backdrop of the current global economic challenges, the two groups now need to come up with strategies on how to battle climate change. The accountant also said the purpose of the meeting was to capacitate the beneficiaries in terms of self-governance and financial management. Mungendje stated proper organisational structures should furthermore be put in place whilst conflict of interest in terms of procurement processes should be avoided at all times by the groups. "You should take the minutes of meetings, submit annual reports and lastly establish conservancy management-and-procurement committees from now on to pave the way forward," he advised.
Pandeni Kapia who manages the financial and risk analysis of the project, when touching on financial management said the beneficiaries of the funding should strive to submit their annual financial reports timeously, allow for audits to be carried out and to always provide proof of all their expenditure.
He explained that it would be expected from the two conservancies to put up greenhouses, growing vegetables and herbs and start a hydroponic agricultural project to produce barley and wheat for animal fodder.
Speaking at the same occasion, Keetmanshoop Rural constituency councillor Elias Kharugab who has been a former !Gawachab conservancy chairperson was concerned these people lacked experience in self-governance and financial management.
"The consultant for this project should capacitate these groups accordingly and work closely with them for the next three years."
Kharugab thanked the environmental fund for including //Kharas region for the first time in the projects that it funds.
Sarah Mungunda, one of the beneficiaries urged fellow members to work together towards a common goal namely making a success of the project. "We should make optimal use of this funding in order to secure it and passing on to our future generations," she advised.
Mungunda expressed profound gratitude to the EIF for granting funds to these two conservancies.
Both groups were in unison their projects should commence within 30 days after they receive the funds and take ownership and succeed in order to secure future funding.