By Kaala B. Moombe and Freddie Siangulube
Work by the COLANDS team in Zambia was forced to adjust again in mid-2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement of critical field activities, especially those involving gatherings of stakeholders and communities.
However, when travel and meetings were possible earlier in the year, the COLANDS team traveled to, and met with, key government and community stakeholders in the Kalomo district to discuss important developments in Zambia. The 2021 Annual Plan of Operations was reviewed and finalized during field visits and meetings in March 2021. The need for restoration of the landscape was acknowledged and prioritized during the meetings. The chiefs in the three most relevant districts agreed to identify 100,000 hectares of their landscape where sustainable management will be applied through landscape planning supported by COLANDS.
Planning meetings were held 26-29 May 2021 in Kalomo for a situation analysis workshop aimed at developing a roadmap towards selection of the 100,000-hectare area. However, the workshop which had been planned for June 2021 was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Developing the roadmap would include participatory landscape mapping, resource assessments, landscape-plan preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. These will also be part of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for Kalomo District led by the Kalomo Town Council.
The situation analysis would also delve into such major themes as: landcover and land use analysis (with historical views and perspectives on the target areas); assessments of livelihoods and biodiversity; land-use systems and land tenure; community involvement; policy changes governing resources; human-rights law/approaches in protection of biodiversity; and proposed media engagement plan and products. The stage is set for the planned workshop and analysis once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
The meetings in May 2021 built on an earlier boundary sensitization meeting organized by Zambia’s Forestry Department (FD) in February 2021 sanctioned by their Royal Highnesses Chief Chikanta and Chief Siachitema to create a common understanding regarding the boundaries of Kalomo Hills Local Forest Reserve No. P.13 (KFR13).
Beekeeping – Nature’s Nectar
Meanwhile, working with the private enterprise Nature’s Nectar, meetings to explore the possibilities for beekeeping projects and the potential for livelihoods were organized in March 2021. Small-scale beekeeping operations in miombo woodlands in Siachitema chiefdom have operated for about a decade, using log and grass beehives.
Some 180 households in Siamusiye village that could support beekeeping were identified, although it was noted that water is only available from local boreholes and wells, including in the rain season. There are no streams nearby. Honey is sold in Kalomo at ZMW90 (approximately 3.50 euro) for 2.5 litres, but transportation to market is difficult.
It was agreed the beekeeping potential in the village would be assessed by Nature’s Nectar, including in areas within the 100,000-hectare landscape which will be selected for sustainable management. The possibility of forming beekeepers’ groups will also be assessed.
Power imbalances in ILAs: whose voice matters
Stakeholders in Kalomo are the subjects of research into balances and imbalances of power during decision-making in natural resource management, The research, by COLANDS team member and PhD student Freddie Siangulube, involved farmer coalitions, traditional leaders, livestock farmers and women’s groups. The research focused on understanding how power creates and impedes opportunities for inclusive participation in decision-making. It looked at sources, distribution, and types of power: visible, invisible and hidden power. The conclusion? The integrated landscape governance model offers the potential to equitably balance power, but only if it incorporates tools and metrics to assess the impact and influence of various entities that hold power within environmental governance decision-making. This helps to better recognise power differentials and ensure the equitable participation of marginalised actors across different governance levels.