Project Summary

The overarching objective of this project is to enhance human and environmental resilience in the Matobo Hills High-Altitude Catchment through education about and implementation of improved water use practices, responsible management of the landscape, biodiversity conservation, and rehabilitation of wetlands to include grazing management and land rehabilitation.  The project will run over two years, from May 2020 to June 2022 and is being implemented across two phases.

In Phase 1 (now complete), socio-economic and environmental data were collected across the entire World Heritage Site area to record the current status of the environment and to identify areas in which rehabilitation and outreach interventions were most required and of greatest potential benefit.  Understanding the baseline experiences and data was necessary to underpin the subsequent programme of work, including rehabilitation of the local ecosystem and capacity development for a sustainable future.  Phase 2, which began in earnest at the beginning of 2021, has involved rehabilitation, outreach, training and monitoring activities in four administrative Wards (two in Matobo District and two in Umzingwane District).

This project is funded by USAid under the Resilient Waters Program:

The project is implemented by a Matobo Hills consortium, comprising three organisations, Dambari Wildlife Trust, Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Livelihoods Development Trust and Inkanyezi Development Trust:

This work supports the evolution of grazing methodologies and land-use practices specific for the region. Reducing land degradation and siltation of sub-catchment water sources in the Limpopo River Basin will ensure sustainable development and futures for local communities as well as communities an industries downstream. The vast majority of people living in the Matobo Hills are subsistence agro-pastoralists with a mean household monthly income of US$80.

Protecting these livelihoods in turn protects local wildlife and conservation efforts.

With less livestock encroaching into the national park for grazing, areas set aside for wildlife remain viable and less human-wildlife conflict occurs.

Digging for water.

River used by livestock.

Hoof action accelerated drying of wetland.

Training step-point method of rangeland assessment.

Project Details

Major objectives are to:
▪ Gather baseline data on water provision and use, socio-economic data, and the threats to resiliency;
▪ Explore future scenarios with communities and improve water-related knowledge and management skills through education and outreach activities in order to move towards a sustainable future;
▪ Implement improved land- and water-use practices in the Matobo Hills, through rights-based and adaptive approaches, and monitor improvements to the functioning of the ecosystem;
▪ Improve and protect degraded wetlands though fencing and land rehabilitation techniques;
▪ Adapt grazing methodologies to improve land-use practices and reduce land degradation and siltation of sub-catchment water sources in the Limpopo River Basin.

Phase 1: Baseline data collection will cover environmental, biological, socio-economic and policy aspects of the Matobo Hills high-altitude catchment (MHHAC) area. Specific activities include environmental and biodiversity assessments of wetlands as well as socio-economic and water-use assessments which will include focus group sessions with community members. Data generated in this phase will be used to identify intervention sites, and will form the basis for monitoring and evaluating subsequent interventions.

Phase 2: Based on information gleaned during the first phase and building on relationships developed with communities in that time, activities that build resilience and improve water and land management will be implemented in two Wards per District and include land management practices and fencing of a natural wetland. Selection of Wards will be based on a number of criteria, including greatest need, potential impact both locally and downstream, and feasibility.

More detailed information and key outputs are covered in the linked report or read our newsletters for current news.

October 2021 Newsletter
December 2021 Newsletter

Dambari Wildlife Trust is delighted to be a part of the Resilient Waters project. It very much fits our Conservation Across Boundaries approach. In undertaking this work we can ensure local wildlife populations, including large herbivores, large and small carnivores, and small antelope not only survive but thrive.

By supporting the community with their well-being and economic needs, we can also ensure:

Sustainable Natural Resources

Secure Wildlife Populations

Healthy Ecosystems