The Ngamiland SLM Project was a five-year Government of Botswana project supported by UNDP/GEF. The main objective was to mainstream SLM in the productive landscapes of the Ngamiland District. The Project initiated and piloted range management activities and livelihoods options that can be scaled up and replicated.
Amongst the initiatives piloted is the fire management initiative in the Tsodilo Enclave Area. When the Project started in 2014, over two million Hectares of land was being burnt down annually in the District. The frequency of fires was equally high. Through the interventions of the Project, over 800 community members were trained in fire management techniques.
Further more, fire fighting equipment and protective clothing was procured to empower the community fire management teams. By the end of the Project in 2019, the amount of burnt area for Ngamiland District had reduced to two hundred thousand Hectares and the frequency of fire had equally reduced.
A fire management strategy document for Tsodilo Enclave area was also produced to guide fire management.
Communities of Lake Ngami were trained in the production of charcoal using bush encroachment. They were taught to produce the charcoal from both dead and live invasive Acacia species. The advantages of removing bush encroachment is two pronged. Firstly, removing the bush encroachment encourages the growth of palatable grass species and restores pastures.
Secondly, the charcoal produced is sold for income generation and creation of jobs. Over 100 community members around Lake Ngami villages have been trained in charcoal production.
The charcoal produced is of superior quality with very high calorific value. The market for charcoal in the district is very high due to the demand from the tourism sector. Other markets are also available in Namibia, South Africa and Australia.
WOMEN’S PIGGERY PROJECT IN KOMANA
The project supported a women’s piggery project in Komana village. Three women were sent to a six-weeks training course on piggery production at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN). Upon their return, they were supported to purchase the first breeding stock for the project to start. Additional support included purchasing of slaughtering equipment for the Women’s piggery project.
MATUTE-A-MONGONGO Women’s Project
The project supported Matute-A-Mongongo Women’s Group in Shakawe to manufacture cooking oil from Mongongo fruits. The support included refurbishment of their manufacturing premises, provision of three-phase power supply, purchase of dehuller and oil press machines.
The cooking oil is very good quality and is comparable to Olive oil. Traditionally, the women break the hard nuts one-by-one using an axe. The machines allow them to now extract up to fifty liters of oil per hour.
The residue from extracting the oil can be used to manufacture beauty products. The residue pulp is also very nutritious for livestock and can be used as an additive to livestock feed.
As Mongongo occurs over large parts of northern and western Ngamiland, other communities can participate in the project by collecting and selling the Mongongo fruits to the Women’s Group. The project has great potential to scale up and include many people especially women and youth.