By Gay Matambo
THE Manjinji Bosman community tourism and conservation project launched last year in Malipati area has brought massive development in the area through the construction of key infrastructure and employment creation.
The project is the culmination of a partnership between Malipati community, Chiredzi Rural District Council and Gonarezhou Conservation Trust.
The objective of developing marginalised areas around Gonarezhou National Park through setting up tourism facilities and enterprises has been met after profits were channelled towards development.
The establishment of tourism facilities, which include the Manjinji Birds Sanctuary, which is fast becoming a major tourism draw card and the Bosman lodges, has also created employment opportunities for locals.
“I was a nobody, but ever since I got the job here at Bosman lodges my life has changed. I can now take care of my family.
“I dropped out of school because my parents could not afford it now I am earning my salary in foreign and I’m now able to take care of my parents and siblings.
“All the people employed here are locals and we are grateful that we are benefitting,” said local benefectors of the project.
Proceeds from the project are going to be used in the construction of a health care facility in ward 15.
“We were assisted by SAT WILD to establish this project and we have a partnership with them, Chiredzi Rural District Council and Gonarezhou Conservation Trust. This year we are focusing on constructing a clinic for the villagers in Ward 15 using the funds,” said Moros Dube, Malipati Development Trust Treasurer.
The project has also come with Wildlife protection infrastructure and anti-poaching patrols mitigating human-wildlife conflict.
“Before this area was a hunting ground and we stopped hunting to pave way for this project. Basically this is for the communities to benefit.
“To drive the process there is Malipati Development Trust which is a baby of council which is running the day to day activities but the bookings are being administered by the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust. The project is there to provide income to the communities as well as fulfilling the greater picture of wildlife conservation,” said Chenjerai Zanamwi (Executive Director Chiredzi Rural District Council.
The community development project is in line with the devolution agenda, which seeks to transform rural communities using resources found in those areas.