GNF - Community Engagement in the Cubango-Okavango District

Community Engagement in the Cubango-Okavango District

Community Engagement in the Cubango-Okavango District of Angola to alleviate Poverty and work towards a shared Transboundary Okavango River System



The Okavango Delta was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014 for its exceptional biodiversity, ecosystem integrity and scenic values. Most of the river system comes from headwaters in Angola, passing through Namibia on its way to Botswana's Okavango Delta which is dependent on these upstream waters. At the political level plans to protect shared Okavango waters is advancing, there is work needed for stakeholder consultation and awareness raising, in particular with communities in the river basin.


Key threats in South-East Angola include habitat change, food insecurity, subsistence farming problems, erosion and declining soil fertility. In addition, there are still massive negative effects of the almost three decades of civil war and the resulting traumas and social displacement, which are accompanied by poverty in many rural areas. The relocation of agricultural production due to poor soil fertility and seed quality, insufficient advice and lack of access to finance is part of the vicious circle of rural impoverishment. Poverty and food insecurity, combined with unproductive agricultural practices, have threatened and degraded available natural resources in an unsustainable way. This is exacerbated by the use of firewood and charcoal as an energy resource and the problems of "bush meat" as a source of protein and money.


The livelihoods of the communities in the Cubango-Okavango Basin suffer from these environmental and social grievances combined with aggravation by poor education and training opportunities. The project will help target groups through the provision of information, capacity building opportunities and two pilot reforestation projects which will be an example of restoring ecological balance, and will contribute to maintaining agriculture and improving food security. The designation of the region as a UNESCO World Heritage Site will support these approaches.

Project Goals

In the framework of the project, ACADIR, an Angolan non-governmental organisation, will reach target groups in the catchment area of the Cubango-Okavango River in the remote region of South-East Angola. In three villages (Mucusso, Savate, Caiundo) a total of 190 households with a total of 1,115 people from marginalised rural ethnic minorities are defined as direct beneficiaries. The people will be better informed about their rights and their opportunities for water use in the transboundary Okavango river system and will be involved in a campaign to protect the common waters in the Okavango river system in Angola, Namibia and Botswana through the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.


Concrete pilot projects on ecologically sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry will improve people's livelihoods, mainly via the availability of tools, improved food security through training in afforestation and agricultural measures, lower risk exposure due to lower erosion risks, fire risk reduction and less overgrazing. Another aim is to extend the Okavango World Heritage designation to relevant parts of the water catchment area in Angola.

Project Measures

A series of activities, with the main objective of knowing the communities and building their capacities, will be carried out. Some of the most representative actions are:

  • A socio-economic study on the needs of the communities in the project area of the Cubango-Okavango region to understand the initial situation and the problems of these communities.
  • Development of income-generating activities:
  1. Education and training of local groups to develop and manage a conservation agriculture pilot project model.
  2. Training of local groups in activities such as maintenance of rehabilitated areas, fire-fighting, planting.
  3. Education, training, workshops as capacity building activities for local groups. Training of teachers in workshops in the two target villages on hydrology, climate change and conservation of community land.


A series of more political activities will also be carried out, like the dialogue between all interested actors and the authorities, with the ultimate aim of moving towards the appointment of a transboundary UNESCO Okavango World Heritage Site.

 Das Feld wird für die Früchte und das Gemüse vorbereitet.
 Der biologische Dünger wird zerkleinert.
 Zwiebeln werden in einem vorbereiteten Feld eingebracht.
 Biologischer Dünger wird selbst hergestellt.
 Das gesamte Team am Feldrand
 Die Besprechung dient als Vorbereitung für die Feldarbeit.

Main Funder

 German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


 Environmental Action Germany (DUH)

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The project should make a concrete contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

 Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
 Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
 Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Project Partners

The Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS) is the oldest non-governmental organisation in the environmental and nature conservation sector in Botswana. Its work focuses on the protection of wildlife and species, environmental education and the development of local communities in the vicinity of wildlife and/or protected areas.


ACADIR is an Angolan rural development NGO which has already implemented and managed more than 20 projects in the province of Cuando-Kubango in south-eastern Angola and in the Kwando and Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

 ACADIR (Associação de Conservação do Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Integrado Rural)
 Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS)

Contact Persons

ACADIR - Associação de Conservação do Ambiente
e Desenvolvimento Integrado Rural

P.O. BOX 34, Menongue Cuando-Cubango, Angola

Rua 1º de Maio- Menongue, Angola

Director: António Chipita


KCS - Kalahari Conservation Society

P.O.Box 859, Plot 398 Kgasa Rd, Gaborone, Botswana

Director: Thato Morule

Project Coordinator: Dr. Karen Ross


GNF - Global Nature Fund - Office Radolfzell, Germany

Udo Gattenlöhner, E-mail:

Dr. Marlene Bär Lamas, E-mail:


Project Period:


Project Countries:


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Main Funder: 




1 December 2020 – 30 November 2022


Angola and Botswana


ACADIR (Associação de Conservação do Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Integrado Rural);

Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS)


German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


Environmental Action Germany (DUH)