Researcher: Dr Herve Fritz
Region: Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Current conservation practices often remain influenced by local anecdotes, and even public-driven emotional myth, rather than upon the systematic appraisal of the evidence, including experience of others who have tackle the problem. This is a major problem for conservationists and requires some rethinking of the manner in which conservation operates. One of the challenges is the communication between scientists and managers, but also with civil society which can often influence policies and modify practices and values.
The Hwange system is made up of several stakeholders, all with different histories, experiences and expectations. This project proposes to fill the lack of communication within this system in the form of meetings that will benefit the different stakeholders of the Hwange System. All interested parties will gain knowledge of Hwange, the traditional leaders will be able to inform the rural community about research, management and conservation actions in Hwange, and researchers will be able to orientate their research towards practical management and conservation issues.
The aim of this project is therefore to offer the Hwange community (i.e. Parks, traditional leaders, Campfire-Hwange RDC, research organisations, NGOs and safari operators) the chance to gather around conservation issues on a monthly basis.
Hwange National Park and its surroundings benefit from internationally recognised researchers conducting long term research on the Hwange ecosystem, from wildlife behaviour to socio-economic modelling for integrated conservation and management of wildlife. This networking meeting initiative aims at: (1) bringing the different knowledge and perceptions of the Hwange system around the same table on a periodic basis to discuss conservation issues and actions as well as management perspectives; (2) allowing the different stakeholders to present their point of view, their research, the results of specific research projects to the whole community, gaining skills in oral presentation but also providing direct feedback of the community of concern.
This project is crucial to translate local management issues into research questions as well as to provide scientific knowledge for evidence-based conservation.
- Gather the different stakeholders around conservation and research issues.
- Networking meeting organised on a monthly basis.
- Train local stakeholders and young local scientists in oral communication. Three sessions of 15 minutes oral communication plus 10 minutes discussion per networking meeting.
Stakeholders are informed by letter, by email, or during the previous meeting of the next venue. Transport is organised for any stakeholder that needs assistance. Any stakeholder can submit a short oral communication. Three sessions are organised per meeting, including time for discussion. After the presentations, a collation is organised to allow exchanges, discussions and networking in a more casual context. The networking meeting is held every last Saturday of each month starting at 5 PM.