The first CAMPFIRE program (Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources) in Zimbabwe was started here, and its principles have since been replicated across Africa and the rest of the world. Engagement with the Mahenye community developed under the CAMPFIRE program recognized the necessity of involving the community in management decisions. This resulted in developing a strategy which would empower the people as well as create sustainable utilization of natural resources. Headed by Clive Stockil, Chilo Gorge is extremely proud and passionate about this project. The Mahenye initiative has been expanded and promoted in over forty other districts within the country, proving the success of community engagement and equitable benefit sharing – working together to protect our National Parks.
Over the years, guns have been replaced by cameras, and local people and visitors alike have learned to appreciate the animals as they should be; intact in their natural habitat. In recognition of his unswerving commitment, Clive was awarded the Prince William Award for Conservation in 2013.
“If you are a conservationist, your problem is all about space, so deal with human pressures first. CAMPFIRE has turned conflict into cooperation and everyone has benefitted. The community is happy, the parks are happy and the animals are happy. Everyone wins.”Clive Stockil