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Community Scouts Key in Wildlife Conservation

In an effort to strengthen law enforcement and increase manpower in the Game Management Area (GMAs) and national parks, in Zambia, a total number of 148 community scouts were successfully trained in 90 day basic paramilitary training and wildlife management courses at the Chunga training school in the Kafue National Park, in September 2019.

Training of scouts creates employment for local communities, thereby generating a career path for young men and women in natural resource conservation and protection of wildlife species which are key to tourism, and provides and alternative income for them to poaching.  The 148 community scouts were identified and selected by Community Resource Boards (CRBs) and trained by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). This training was sponsored by national and international donors who among others include; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the European Union, USAID, Space for Giants, Lion Recovery Fund, World Land Trust, US Vision Wildlife Service, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Trident foundation First Quantum Mines , Shongo Safaris and Game Rangers International, among other donors.

© Janet Phiri
Community Scouts participating in paramilitary training

All the community scouts that successfully completed the basic parliamilitary training participated in a passout parade, that I was delighted to be a part of. Even more so when I met Eneless Tembo, who was awarded "Best Sniper". She was one of the 37 graduates, and she informed me that she could not wait to use her skills in the field,. Here is what she said;

"During my training, I learned how to protect myself from encountering wildlife. I also appreciated the exercises - now I am fit! It was challenging but my love for wildlife and Sioma Ngwezi National Park kept me going. I look forward to it developing into a mordern tourist destination", said Anita Eneless Tembo. 

© Janet Phiri
Anita Eneless Tembo, Community Scout, Sioma Ngwezi National Park

The newly recruited community scouts are expected to be deployed in their respective Game Management Areas (GMAs) around the various national parks in the country. It is hoped that this increased workforce will result in a reduction in poaching, while providing alternative livelihoods for communities.