Project Spotlight

Diversification of CAMPFIRE from wildlife

The lack of diversification of CAMPFIRE from wildlife to other natural resources is a topical issue. As indicated in the introduction, USAID support to CAMPFIRE involved two phases.  NRMP I (1989-1994) spent USD7.6 million and supported four districts in Matabeleland (Binga, Hwange, Tsholotsho and the then Bulilimamangwe, now Bulilima and Mangwe districts), as well as wildlife management in the Hwange-Matetsi Parks and Wildlife Complex, and some communication, training and research.  In 1995, USAID refinanced NRMP II with USD20.5 million as a national project in support of the CAMPFIRE programme. 

A loose consortium of support organization called the CAMPFIRE Collaborative Group (CCG) was formed in the early days of the conceptualization CAMPFIRE. This group which was initially chaired and led by DNPWM in the then Ministry of Environment and Tourism comprised of; the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development (MLGRUD); Zimbabwe Trust (ZIMTRUST) including Africa Resources Trust and Action Magazine; University of Zimbabwe’s Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS, later CASS Trust); World Wide Fund for Nature Southern Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF-SARPO), and CAMPFIRE Association. Together, they played an integrative, conceptual and policy development role in the early stages of the programme. 

Direct financial support was provided to each of the organizations that had formed the CCG.  A breakdown of the USAID/NRMP II (1995-2003) budget by project components and implementing agency is provided below:

Budgetary allocation of USAID funds to CCG Members (USD million)

Institution Short Term Consultancies Training Commodities Operations/ Overheads TOTAL
CA 625 350 435 340 1,750
ZimTrust 525 340 350 750 1,965
ART 500 250 150 300 1,200
Action 200 600 180 80 1,060
WWF 500 450 120 500 1,570
CASS 500 200 250 100 1,050
DNPWLM 500 100 400 500 1,500
MLGRUD 100 40 40 20 200
TOTAL 4,500 2,355 2,225 3,640 12,720


Through USAID funding, these organizations provided vital support services covering training of communities in organizational development, financial management as well as wildlife management, research, monitoring and policy development. However, at the end of 1999, the NRMP II phase introduced a grant facility called the CAMPFIRE Development Fund (CDF), administered by a CAMPFIRE Association chaired Project Management Team (PMT). The fund was established in order to enable communities to apply directly through RDCs for development projects of their choice. This resulted in the volume of core funding to the CCG being reduced, and those organizations that had a continuing interest in supporting CAMPFIRE outside of their broader mandates became CAMPFIRE Service Providers (CSPs). At end of USAID funding in 2003, WWF was able to continue supporting the implementation of CAMPFIRE through other funding. The remainder of the original CCG members reverted to their own core-business. PWMA has also continued to support CAMPFIRE on operational issues, but phased out the position of a focal person for the CAMPFIRE programme after 2003.

CAMPFIRE Association, through the small community grants facility, expanded the focus of CAMPFIRE from wildlife and commercial high end tourism ventures to other activities such as rafting/river use, timber, water, fisheries, grazing resources, beekeeping, crocodile egg collection, sand extraction, sale of natural products (amacimbi, mazhanje, masau), and crafts projects in communal areas. The success of most of these non-wildlife initiatives (shown in the last column of the table below) has been limited for several practical and economic reasons, and consequently a number of the projects have collapsed.

District  Revenue*  Type of CAMPFIRE Activity  CAMPFIRE Diversification Projects (USAID) 
Beitbridge  2 Hunting, Fishing, Crafts  Maramani Craft Centre
Zhove Dam Fisheries
Bindura  1 Tourism  Paradise Pools Day Centre & Camping Site 
Binga  3 Hunting, Fishing, Tourism, Crafts  Mwinji Cultural Village, Siamuloba Fishing Camp 
Bubi  1 Hunting Wildlife based Land reform 
Buhera  1 Tourism, Crafts Matendera Hills Day Centre
Bulilima & Mangwe  2 Hunting, Tourism, Mopane worms  Amacimbi Harvesting & Management 
Water Canal & Camping Site
Chimanimani  1 Tourism, Fishing Vhimba Lodge, ornithology; 
Mhakwe Fisheries  
Chipinge  2 Hunting, Tourism  Mahenye Veld Fire Management 
Chiredzi  1 Hunting  Chiredzi Veld Fire Management 
Chirumhanzu 1 Beekeeping Community Beekeeping 
Gokwe North  3 Hunting, Tourism  Gandavaroyi Falls Campsite
Gokwe North Veld Fire Management
Gokwe South  2 Hunting  Jahana Zebra Watering
Goromonzi  1 Tourism, Crafts  Ngomakurira Hills Day Centre
Gwanda  1 Hunting, Tourism Doddieburn/Manyole Ranch
Thuli Shashe Wildlife Management
Hurungwe  3 Hunting, Tourism  Sanyati Lodge
Rengwe Fencing 
Hwange  2 Hunting, Tourism, Fishing, Crafts Cheziya Fishing Camps 
Hwedza  1 Tourism, Beekeeping Wedza Mountain Beekeeping
Kusile  1 Hunting, Beekeeping 7 Ward Beekeeping Projects
Timber Logging, Crafts
Makonde 1 Hunting Wildlife based land reform 
Marondera  1 Hunting, Fishing 1 Wildlife based land reform project
Matobo  1 Hunting, Tourism, Crafts  CJ Rhodes Cultural Village, 
Ntunjambili Cave Day Centre 
Mbire  3 Hunting, Tourism  Karunga, Masoka, Mkanga Camps 
Mazowe  1 Tourism, Fishing  Banje Mountain Camping 
Mwenje Dam Fisheries
Mudzi, Rushinga, UMP 1 Hunting, Tourism  Nyatana Wilderness Management
Mutasa 1 Beekeeping Ruunji Beekeeping
Mutoko  1 Beekeeping  Mutoko Beekeeping
Muzarabani  2 Hunting, Tourism  Mavuradona Wilderness Camp 
Mwenezi  1 Fishing  Manyuchi Dam Fisheries 
Nkayi  1 Hunting, Crafts Kennilworth Water Provision 
Nyaminyami  3 Hunting, Tourism  Institutional capacity building
Nyanga  1 Tourism, Trout Fishing  Gairezi Lodges and Campsites 
Pfura  1 Tourism, Crafts  Pfura Mountains Day Centre
Mukurupahari Bamboo Crafts 
Tongogara 1 Beekeeping Svika Beekeeping
  1 Hunting, Tourism, Timber Logging, Crafts Gariya dam canal rehabilitation
Umguza 1 Hunting, Tourism, Timber Logging Igusi Water Project
Umguza Woodlot
UMP Zvataida 1 Hunting, Tourism, Beekeeping Muda Conservancy
UMP Beekeeping,
Sunungukai Camp
Umzingwane  1 Tourism, Crafts Embizeni Lodges, 
Mtshabezi Cultural Village,
 Lumeme Falls, Diana’s Pools

* Annual Revenue: 1 = less than US$10,000 per annum, 2 = US$10,000-99,000 per annum, 3 = more than US$100,000 per annum.

Despite these efforts and well documented successes and failures, diversification of CAMPFIRE remains imperative. However, the potential benefits of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and photographic tourism compared to safari hunting as a means of supporting the future sustainability of CAMPFIRE must not be exaggerated. 

Current CAMPFIRE Association Projects

The operations of CAMPFIRE without donor funding since 2003 has been a defining moment for the programme and the country’s conservation record internationally. 

CAMPFIRE Association is an Associate Partner in the EU-Funded Wildlife In Livelihood Development (WILD) Programme (USD3.5 million) led by the Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT), a local NGO. The project, which started in 2013, sought to pilot some models of community based wildlife management and game ranching in CAMPFIRE areas (Chiredzi, Chipinge and Nyaminyami districts) over three years. The project has changed scope due to delays in startup activities, and is not yet complete.

Since 2015, the government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, has been implementing a five year Global Environment Facility/World Bank (USD5.6 million) funded Hwange-Sanyati Biological Corridor Project led by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zimbabwe, and CAMPFIRE Association is one of the sub-grantees. This project, among other things, focuses on Human and Wildlife Conflict (HWC) mitigation and livelihood improvement for CAMPFIRE communities in Tsholotsho who bear the brunt of conflict, and of late, international trafficking of ivory through poisoning. It also focuses on wildlife restocking as means of improving community livelihoods in Sidinda ward, Hwange. These activities are on course, with HWC work so far completed in 1 out of 4 wards in Tsholotsho, and the translocation of game to Sidinda ward likely to be started if not completed at the end of November 2017. Through this project, Hwange and Tsholotsho districts have aligned their CAMPFIRE committees with the prescribed “Environment Subcommittees” in their wards as a means of empowering communities and streamlining relationships with Councils over natural resources management matters. 

CAMPFIRE Review/Evaluation

In 2012, CAMPFIRE Association applied for funding from the European Union to support a CAMPFIRE institutional strengthening programme aimed at addressing most of the operational challenges highlighted in this report. For convenience and ease of grant execution, the application was made through Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT) to which the Association was already a partner for the WILD project. This application and subsequent granting of additional funds by the EU to SAT, is what has culminated in the current CAMPFIRE Review/Evaluation led by the Ministry of Tourism, Hospitality Industry and Environment. The CAMPFIRE Association looks forward to institutional and community capacity building support from the EU, based on the results of the review.