2024 Community Based Natural Resource Management Workshop (Maun, Botswana)

Group photo (Maun, Botswana) (pc: Kgotla Phale)

On January 24–25, 2024, representatives from the Botswana Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Botswana Wildlife Training Institute, Okavango Research Institute, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and community-based organizations met for a summative workshop in Maun, Botswana. Professor Tim Van Deelen (faculty project advisor) and Nathan Schulfer represented the UW–Madison and its Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in Maun (with support from Elise Ahn and Pasha Prem from the UW’s International Projects Office).

This two-day workshop focused specifically on evaluating and reimagining an existing management-oriented monitoring systems (MOMS) training program. MOMS is a “management tool for the collection of valuable resource data for monitoring purposes” and is a key tool in implementing a community based natural resource management approach (Mbaiwa, 2015).

The group initially met in March 2023 to discuss and identify the ways MOMS could be a valuable tool for multiple stakeholder groups. In January 2024 — with 27 people in attendance on each day— the workshop focused on evaluating the current MOMS training programs and how people use (and could use) the data MOMS generates. On day one, people presented on user experience with MOMS, trainer experiences, and people working (and in) communities using the tool. Incoming UW–Madison student, Mpho Nyathi, gave a presentation on her work with GIMS Botswana to support Sankuyo Community Trust in the development and deployment of an E-based MOMS tool.

The afternoon of day one and the morning of day two were then focused on small group discussions around improving the existing MOMS training program and then sharing back to the larger group. One of the key conclusions emerging from the two-day workshop was that there is a need for three different MOMS courses to address relevant stakeholder needs with the intention of developing a more formal certificate program in Botswana.

This project was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Botswana, as well as the Nelson Institute’s Environmental Conservation Program Fund.

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