Community Trusts Need Capacity Building – Mbaiwa

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Capacity-building in terms of developing and strengthening the marketing, entrepreneurship, and management skills for community trusts to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world is needed, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa of Okavango Research Institute has observed.

He emphasised that the root cause for community trusts’ failure and collapse range from the lack of entrepreneurship, marketing, and business management skills.

Currently, some trusts across Ngamiland are faced with similar challenges of mismanagement, and poor implementation of business management skills among others. This has led to some failing to provide for their beneficiaries or only a section of people benefiting, leaving behind the community at large,

Speaking during a media tour hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism aimed at raising awareness on community beneficiation through hunting over the weekend, Mbaiwa highlighted the need to emphasise that the tourism sector is an industry where marketing is done on an international level, adding that CBOs do not have the necessary skills to market their products on the global stage.

He, however, noted that from his observation over the past two decades, the skills set has improved in the tourism businesses, with some Batswana owning lodges, and actively participating in tourism activities such as tour guiding and photographic tourism.

Mbaiwa was of the view that trusts are also lagging behind in terms of business management skills particularly financial management skills citing that there has been a fair share of misappropriation and misuse which has seen some community trusts failing.

He acknowledged the various trust’s contributions to creating employment in their communities and providing services such as water, housing, and transport since most of the communities are located in hard-to-reach areas.  

According to Mbaiwa for conservation to exist, people should benefit from the environment more than the costs, he emphasised that if communities benefit more from natural resources they will be able to ensure the conservation of the same.

“CBNRM was introduced because wildlife species were declining and communities living with wildlife were lacking in terms of rural development, the main aim was for the community to benefit and at the same time conserve natural resources around them,” Mbaiwa said.

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