(Updated March 2008, information from Sandile Gumedze.)
The Programme’s Objective
The Malolotja community Outreach Programme started operating in 1994.
Malolotja Nature Reserve is surrounded by a total of 13 Communities, namely; Nkaba, Mhlosheni, Majotini, Malanti, kaNdeva, Malanti, Luvinjelweni, kaShoba, Mlondozi, Phasengwenya, Hawane, And Malolotja.
This programme is intended to improve relations with surrounding communities by offsetting the limitations on resource use within the reserve that are inherent in Protected Area (PA) Management.
The COP officer identifies appropriate community development projects, secures their funding from development agencies, and facilitates their implementation.
- Range Management:
Overgrazing is a constant problem in surrounding areas, and assistance in developing a system of control over grazing pressures is of tremendous benefit to surrounding communities.
The objective of the sub-programme is to promote sustainable use of the plants, in particular the grazing resources (grasses).
- Stocking levels of domestic animals.
- Seasonal grazing adjustments.
- Reforestation: Fuel wood pressures for heat and cooking fires result in a high rate of deforestation and the COP is attempting to increase sustainability in this area. The major intervention is in exploration of alternative energy forms such as biomass fuel energy.
- Medicinal Plants Garden: This is intended to reduce the poaching of traditional medicinal plants inside the reserve by demonstrating to communities how to grow their own medicinal plants.
- Schemes by Local Traditional Healers: Luvinjelweni Indigenous Nursery
- Beekeeping: The favourable environmental conditions around Malolotja are excellent for beekeeping, and this is a worthwhile source of revenue for surrounding communities, which uses least inputs in the production process.
- Active beekeeping schemes: Mlondozi and kaNdeva
- Community Water Projects: The community is assisted in setting up water schemes, mainly through transport and related assistance towards ultimate water provision.
- Water project schemes: Phasengwenya and Hawane
- Soapstone Carving Re-orientation Project: The local community is heavily dependant on this skill for income generation, yet the stock pile of soap stone is declining and serious reclamation of dug up areas is outstanding. Discussions to resolve the above paradox are necessary and the COP is the appropriate programme to address this threat to the well-being of the community.
- Communities involved in stone carving: Hawane, kaShoba, Majotini, and Malolotja
The COP Programme is housed together with the Environmental Education Programme at the Malolotja EEC.
The Community Outreach Officer (COP) is always available upon request (informal and formal) to assist Community Based Organisationsations (CBO’s), Schemes, and individuals on the above work programme areas.