Dambari Wildlife Trust (DWT) is involved in a wide range of community outreach and education programmes. These projects include interviewing and working with subsistence communities to understand their concerns in relation to conflict with local wildlife. This can lead to the development and implementation of new approaches to human-wildlife conflict.
The Schools Biodiversity Monitoring programme has been running for nearly a decade. It is a multi-year programme that aims to equip the local youth with the skills to monitor, and ultimately manage, the natural resources in their environment. This project is not only classroom based or about the data collected on field trips. The children are also issued with data sheets and learn a consistent method of recording sightings of fauna and flora during their daily activities, such as when collecting water and firewood and herding livestock. As the data are accumulated, the children are taught to carry out simple analysis and prepare reports for their schools, communities and project supporters. DWT carry out further analysis and maintain an electronic database that logs natural resource trends across seasons and years. This information is consolidated and used to support local communities in the management of their natural resources.
Central to Dambari Wildlife Trust’s objective to build local capacity is our undergraduate student attachment programme. Each year, we host two or three students from Zimbabwean universities for the duration of their 10-month work-related learning module. The aim of the attachment programme is to provide students with practical experience in the research and conservation arena. To achieve this, they carry out novel research projects (which they generally take forward as their fourth-year university dissertation); project titles are listed on the publications page.
Many of our past students have pursued higher degrees, become teachers, or entered academia; and some have returned to DWT as contract field officers. Although DWT does not have a formal postgraduate programme, seven students have carried out research with us towards higher degrees. Thesis titles are listed on the publications page.
Dambari Wildlife Trust works closely with Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the custodians of all wildlife in this country. DWT is a member of the National Rhino Management Committee that meets annually to plan for countrywide rhino management work. Training of park rangers in the Sandwith method of rhino monitoring is carried out by DWT staff to improve the rhino rangers monitoring and data collection skills.