Community engagement process for Lake Banzena

The first step to find a solution to the problem of Lake Banzena was to survey all stakeholders to obtain their views and ideas and devise a plan that all could agree with. The solution was to move the people out of the elephant reserve and provide clean water for them in areas with good pasture but currently no water. This would leave Lake Banzena for the elephants.

The 8th – 10th September - Field visit to the sites selected for relocation by the community consultation process: the team arrives.

Recording site GPS co-ordinates

Recording site GPS co-ordinates

The first step in the implementation of the relocation plan was to identify suitable sites for relocation. These had to be outside the elephant range and at least 35km from Banzena. Several possibilities were identified as part of the community engagement process, and visited for verification by a team of stakeholder representatives.

Community representatives, elected representatives, government administration and technical services inspect the sites

Community representatives, elected representatives, government administration and technical services inspect the sites.

These are areas of excellent pasture, but are vulnerable to bush fires. The community engagement process will involve organizing the construction of fire-breaks, and drawing up rules to reduce fire risk as soon as possible.

These are areas of excellent pasture, but are vulnerable to bush fires. The community engagement process will involve organizing the construction of fire-breaks, and drawing up rules to reduce fire risk as soon as possible.

A bustard spotted in the area.

A bustard spotted in the area.

There are several relict Acacia forests in the area which will be protected and rehabilitated through the local conventions drawn up as a part of the relocation process.

There are several relict Acacia forests in the area which will be protected and rehabilitated through the local conventions drawn up as a part of the relocation process.

25th September - A meeting of local community representatives with the government authorities at which the communities are confirming their willingness to evacuate Banzena and leave it for the elephants.

25th September - A meeting of local community representatives with the government authorities at which the communities are confirming their willingness to evacuate Banzena and leave it for the elephants.

26th – 27th September – representatives of the communities most affected by the relocation.

26th – 27th September – representatives of the communities most affected by the relocation.

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