Tchuma Tchato ('Our Wealth'), a CBNRM project, has helped
to restore the people's control over wildlife and natural resources
in northwestern Mozambique. Traditional hunting, on which the community
depended for both food and income, was declared poaching' in 1989
by a private landowner to whom the central government had leased
hunting rights. Now, with restoration of both control of and the
right to derive benefits from the area's natural resources, the
community is more inclined to protect those resources, resulting
in better conservation of wildlife and habitats.
The Tchuma Tchato project region is in the biodiversity-rich
'Tri-Nations Corner', where the borders of Mozambique, Zambia and
Zimbabwe meet. The project encompasses six villages in the northwestern
part of Tete province, in the mopane woodland, part of a vast, savannah-covered
plateau encompassing more than 30 per cent of Mozambique's 799 380
km2. Tete is one of the least populated of Mozambique's
10 provinces. The project area, which is spread over 2 500 km2
adjacent to the Zambezi river, has a population density of fewer
than 5 people per 1 km2, compared to about 2 590 people
per 1 km2 in Maputo, Mozambique's capital.
Initiated in 1994, Tchuma Tchato was started, in large part,
to undo problems created by the two-phase (1964-75 and 1976-92)
Mozambican civil war. The conflict destroyed social structures,
displaced millions of people, and devastated wildlife management
structures and institutions. The Tete region, as well as other parts
of the country, became a large, uncontrolled hunting area. Elephant
populations were decimated as combatants on both sides hunted the
animals for meat and ivory.
Tchuma Tchato's purpose is to make communities aware of
the link between their economic welfare and the region's wild animals
and biodiversity. The project stresses the advantages of the community
acting as caretakers of the animals and the region, which means
stopping poaching and overexploitation of resources. Since the project
began, the elephant population has increased and is flourishing.
The region's biodiversity provides a solid basis for ecotourism.
For this reason, a seven-chalet campsite, controlled by the Provincial
Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries through the Tchuma Tchato
project manager, has been built on the bank of the Zambezi river.
Before the project started, the community derived its income primarily
from hunting, subsistence agriculture and fishing.The project created
new sources of income by employing some villagers to work as staff
at the chalet complex and as game scouts. Revenue from both game
hunting and the chalet operation is split three ways: 35 per cent
to central government, 32.5 per cent to regional government and
32.5 per cent to the Tchuma Tchato project. The six villages
involved in the project have established natural resource management
councils to help manage the project on their behalf and to decide
how revenues are used.