CCB helps Kacgae artisans realise creative value

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Whilst conservation is its primary mission, Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) has ensured that community empowerment is taken on board.

The wildlife conservation organisation has turned what was a hobby for some crafters at Kacgae into creative businesses after upgrading the village’s craft shop to incubate some of the artisans in the village. This craft production project has been adopted under CCB’s Conservation Unit portfolio within the Communities for Conservation Department. The platform serves as a stage for local artisans and small business owners to showcase their crafts to audiences visiting their villagers. In an area full of talented artisans who can do fabric, sewing, leather work, carpentry and beadwork but have remained poor due to lack of developments, CCB believes this is another way to poverty emancipation and economic rehabilitation. Through the intervention of the organisation, about 114 talents have been assisted in making a living from their crafting hobby by making souvenirs for tourists and visitors. CCB believes the villagers can sustain their livelihoods while maintaining an old practice that could make visitors and souvenir collectors remember this place.

CCB’s Communities for Conservation Officer, Titus Thomba, said since they have been engaged in UNDP Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Drylands Ecosystem Project, they have engaged a consultant to develop artisan skills in the communities they are working with. Thomba explained that the project is titled ‘Managing the human-wildlife interface to sustain the flow of agro-ecosystem services and prevent illegal wildlife trafficking in the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Drylands Project’. “Craft production, especially of traditional ostrich egg-shell jewellery is a skill held by many of the men and women within these communities, but help was needed to expand this and other craft production knowledge and share it within and across the different communities,” he said. Furthermore, he explained that the project focuses on incentives and systems for wildlife protection by communities to increase financial returns from natural resources exploitation and reduce human wildlife conflict, securing livelihoods and biodiversity in the Kalahari landscape. “This contributes to at least four value chains and three ecotourism businesses established to increase financial benefits from biodiversity conservation for local communities,” he added.

Editor's Comment
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