Gorongosa National Park already provides hundreds of jobs to local people, jobs that are sustainable and not harmful to the environment.
Beyond jobs in the Park, we also strive to provide the people of Gorongosa with alternative, sustainable sources of income. Income-generating training programs include the creation of products like honey and dinner-table placemats. These beautiful serving mats made of capulana-cloth, which are sold in the Gorongosa gift shop.
We are training local communities on how to make beehives and supplying them with materials. This activity not only helps provide much needed income to local families, but beehives are also a very environmentally friendly because the hives require the shade of big trees to thrive, so it is an incentive not to cut down big trees.
20% of the entrance fees to the Park go directly to the communities around the Park and are managed by Natural Resource Management Committees (NMRCs) to be invested into their community. NMRCs are made up of 25 members from the local communities selected by their fellow community members. We work closely with these committees to ensure that the earnings are being spent to benefit the entire community. With their earnings, one community built a health post, another built a meeting place for the committee, while others bought uniforms for the community rangers or rehabilitated schools.
NMRCs also make decisions about the natural resources in their communities and turn those decisions into action. 2012 marked a new method of working with NRMCs in fire prevention and control. Together, with some input from GNP staff, all 15 NMRCs around Gorongosa created a community plan to minimize the incidence of fire in their community. These plans spelled out what activities should be performed in what communities, like creating fire-breaks, holding community meetings, and doing controlled burns to reduce risk of wildfires. We are working with NMRCs to organize exchange trips with each other to give them a chance learn about each other’s approaches.
Farming is a way of life in the Gorongosa region and is essential for many people’s survival. We believe that farming can be done in a sustainable way that also provides high-quality food and income for local people. We are working with local farmers to teach them conservation agriculture techniques by setting up demonstration plots, and providing seeds for high-value crops such as beans, corn, sorghum, sesame seeds, and peanuts.
Our vision is that Gorongosa National Park will become the principal engine of sustainable economic and social development in this region. You can help achieve this objective by coming to visit us and seeing our work with your very own eyes!