UNDP Namibia RR Kiki Gbeho visited the Okongo Community Forest/Conservancy in the Ohangwena Region.
The gazetted community forest covers 70 000 square kilometers of dry land, and is the best avaible grazing land in the region,The Community Forest Management Committee explained how they maintain decent grazing area amdist the one of worst droughts the SADC region has been faced with in over 30 years.
Chairperson of the committe Meme Martha, shared some of their challenges namely the lack of communtity awareness with regards to sustainable forest management, and the illegal occupation of land.
With the support of NAFOLA and funding from GEF through UNDP Namibia, the community has equipment to cut and process wood, from trees that are sustainably harvested.Their carpentry worshop has been supplying nearby towns and settlements with beds, chairs and tables since 2008, employing nine members of the community.
The community have used the procceeds from their carpentry workshop to construct a camping site for visitors to their settlement, from which they generate additional income to support themselves.