Lake Ngami Conservation Trust Resurfaces

Date:

After 5 years of non-operation, the Lake Ngami Conservation Trust has resurfaced again following the appointment of a new board members which has since hit the ground running.

The new board under the leadership of Moses Hikuama, has already secured funds from the Khoemacau Copper Mining (KCM) and the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism under the National Environmental Fund (NEF) for capacity building and resuscitation of the trust’s charcoal project.

According to Hikuama, a new dawn has come for them as they have managed to strike a P1.1million deal with KCM and P700 000 from NEF.

In an interview, the chairman revealed that before they came into office, the trust had debts amounting to P112 000 which was for salaries of former employees. According to him, they had to source funds as the new board to clear the debts and this included selling one of their assets to raise P87 500.

“The P87 500 was only enough to pay nine employees, and we are left with two more and we will have to source P25 000 for them as per the court order,” he said.

Hikuama revealed that one of the reasons the trust failed to sustain itself, was because of mismanagement of funds, especially the first batch of funds from government of about P4 million which was meant to finalise all the logistics and start operations in 2015.

He said plans are in place to ensure the trust is run sustainable, adding this will include permanent employment of staff.

He further indicated that the funds from NEF will be paramount for the resuscitation of their charcoal project that has been stagnant since 2017.

The Trust charcoal project which was supported by UNDP through the GEF Ngamiland Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project was made from live and dead bush encroachment species found in and around Lake Ngami which are Acacia erioloba (Mogotlho), Acacia tortilis (Mosu) and Acacia mellifera (Mongana).

According to him, the Trust has since entered into agreement with Bright Impact, a company in Maun that will help market their charcoal locally and internationally.

“Even during harvesting of firewood for our charcoal project, we will hire only one person to manage our hack-saw machine while we buy firewood from the communities in our six villages under the Trust,” he said

The Trust has a membership of 6 villages of Toteng, Legotlhwane, Sehithwa, Kareng, Bodibeng and Bothatogo with the long term goal of ensuring a successful long-term management of the Lake, through equitable benefit sharing and sustainable management for the several communities surrounding the Lake.

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