What are the 2002 CAMPFIRE Revenue Guidelines?

Natural resource producer communities who “live and suffer the cost socially and economically and have the responsibility of preserving as well as managing the natural resource concerned” receive not less than 55% of gross revenue.

RDCs receive a maximum of 41% of gross revenue for management activities such as field patrols, monitoring of hunts, problem animal control, water supplies, fire management, and district development. Producer communities may also receive a portion of this revenue if management activities, such as resource monitoring (game scouts), are directly managed by the community;

The CAMPFIRE Association receives 4% to coordinate the program and represent its interests at all levels.

Communities operate their own CAMPFIRE Bank Accounts at ward level. Income from all CAMPFIRE activities is be banked directly in these accounts by safari operators. Through the direct payment system, all income due to the producer communities and the Association is disbursed within one month of receipt of such income by safari operators from foreign clients.

Who are the beneficiaries of income?

“Those who live and suffer the cost socially and economically and have the responsibility of preserving as well as managing the natural resource concerned”.

This shows two important ways of defining the producer communities. These are:

Social and economic cost : Means that those who live closest to and bear the cost of the natural resources should be the main beneficiaries. This is very important where wildlife is concerned.

Management activities : Means that those who invest time and money in management activities should be considered the producers.

Using the CAMPFIRE Revenue Guidelines the RDCs and their CAMPFIRE stakeholders have developed district level policies on sharing of income between wards. In the case of wildlife, a common practice identifies the producer ward as the ward in which the animal is hunted and killed.

What has happened to CAMPFIRE income in the past?

Between 1989 and 2001, CAMPFIRE generated US$20 million. The period 1994-2012 realised a cumulative US$39 million, of which US$21,5 million was allocated to communities and used for resource management (22%), household benefits, (26%), and community projects (52%). Total income receipts to the CAMPFIRE programme between 2009 and 2014 are as follows:
2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014
 1,481,347    1,597,455     1,480,905     2,515,436     2,229,910     1,774,230

What lessons have been learned?

By experimenting with different models of revenue allocation and distribution, the RDCs and their producer communities now have a much greater understanding of the role of financial incentives in natural resource management. The major lessons learned include:

Size does count : The size of the dividends paid directly to sub-district level will affect the communities' attitude and commitment to natural resource management. Whist RDCs are sometimes recognised as being “cash strapped”, and benefiting unfairly from wildlife incomes, their ability to earn long-term income from natural resource management will be determined by the quality of services they provide to communities in the short-term.

Transparency and accountability: RDCs are partners and gatekeepers for producer communities. RDCs have dispensed with the old practice of receiving money from safari operators on behalf of producer communities. When this happens intense suspicion can develop between the RDC and the producer community.

Role of CAMPFIRE Revenue Guidelines: Due to the different interpretation of past CAMPFIRE Revenue Guidelines and the absence of mechanisms to enforce them, wildlife producer communities have received varying proportions of the gross revenue. This has reduced the ability of producer communities to manage wildlife and other natural resources in those CAMPFIRE districts with very little wildlife presence.

Sustainability of CAMPFIRE: The challenge of building a sustainable CAMPFIRE program requires the CAMPFIRE Association to support the ability of the RDCs and their communities to increase their natural resources based income. Most of the Association's institutional needs have been donor funded resulting in little incentive to collect levies from members when CAMPFIRE was formed. The direct payment system ensures that full levies are remitted to the Association directly from safari operators to meet the Association's minimum operating costs annually.

Why monitor CAMPFIRE income?

At a national level, monitoring the allocation and disbursement of CAMPFIRE revenue is important because it is one measure of performance. The monitoring information is also used to measure the RDCs' adherence to the CAMPFIRE Revenue Guidelines, and where necessary to enforce them through government oversight.

At district level, RDCs monitor their CAMPFIRE income to ensure that they are generating the maximum possible income from the sustainable use of natural resources.

At ward level, producer communities monitor CAMPFIRE income earned and this is verified by the RDC on a continuing basis.

How is monitoring done? The CAMPFIRE Association uses the bi-annual or quarterly CAMPFIRE returns as a monitoring tool.


Distribution of CAMPFIRE income is carried out according to the 2002 CAMPFIRE Revenue Guidelines made operational in 2007. RDCs are physically no longer responsible for the collection, allocation and disbursement of CAMPFIRE revenue to communities. It is important that a district level policy is developed by each RDC to sustain the direct payment system.