On the 25th of April Victoria, Emmanuel, Lindsay and Aletta met with Alex Situmbeko, the Head Warden for South Luangwa National Park. We have discussed several issues, but primarily the ongoing poaching in the Nsefu sector (which he acknowledged was one of the most affected areas in the Park) and the way forward with the anti-poaching unit of NWCF. We have also discussed our idea of bringing in Edwin Siwale as the new NWCF head ranger.
After Victory had heard good stories about Edwin Siwale, has had email contact with him and we discussed it with Alex Situmbeko, Lindsay and Aletta met with Edwin Siwale on the 5th of May for an interview. Edwin Siwale has been working for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (former ZAWA) until last December when he retired as Park Ranger in charge of operations for South Luangwa National Park. We both felt that it was a good and constructive meeting with a knowledgable man with extensive experience in wildlife conservation and in leading ranger patrols. We think of Edwin Siwale as a very good addition to NWCF, the right man for the position of head ranger. He will be back in the area at the end of this week and is ready to come meet us at NWCF.
- On the 28th of April Lindsay and Aletta met with Graph Evans about getting a sewing project started. It was a very productive and constructive meeting with a passionate Zambian man with a big heart who wants to create opportunities for the vulnerable in the communities. Please find the notes of that meeting attached to this email.
- On the 5th of May Lindsay and Aletta met with Steven Zulu (Nsefu Community Resources Board and NWCF board). He has access to the building we might want to rent for the sewing project and showed us the building. It is a nice building, perfect for what we have in mind and big enough to host future community projects as well. There is no electricity and no water yet. Also, we need to build toilets. Sinks are there, but no taps. There is a water borehole nearby. The rent of the building is $70 per month (about $100 incl. electricity and water).
In the near future we would like to start a project using beehive-fences in order to minimize human vs. elephant conflict. In addition to the beehives deterring elephants from crop raiding, the honey that is produced can be sold by the farmers. COMACO has already started using beehives to protect farmlands and we are planning to meet with them soon in order to discuss the possibilities, the problem areas in Nsefu and how to partner with them.
We have been brainstorming about setting up a volunteer program. A first project could be the building of the school in November/December of this year. We are thinking of a counterpart-program whereby the volunteer will partner up with a Zambian builder/electrician/plumber/etc. We could accommodate the volunteers in the camp as it will be closed for guests after the 15th of November. Any ideas on this from your side would be very welcome.