Socio-Economic Benefits of Community Participation in Wildlife Management in Zambia
Authors: Weston D. Sakala and Stephania Moyo
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Participation of local communities in wildlife management through Community resource boards (CRBs) has
been in existence for many years. However, the socio- economic benefits regarding community participation
remain questionable. The main objective of this study was to investigate the socio-economic benefits and
challenges of community participation in sustainable wildlife management. A survey was conducted with the
households living in Chiundaponde chiefdom. Stratified random sampling was used to select 170 households.
Data for this study was collected through semi-structured interviews with heads of households, focus group
discussions with CRB members and community meetings. The results revealed that socio-economic benefits
derived from wildlife resources have not made a great impact in uplifting the standard of living. Furthermore,
households living in GMAs have lower average income than households in other rural areas. However, the study
has established that there is a link between sustainable wildlife management and improved rural livelihoods.
This is so because revenues from wildlife are used to build schools, clinics, roads, bridges etc. It also offers
employment to local communities. However, the proportion of people who benefited from wildlife was not
significantly different from those who did not benefit (Pearson χ2 = 2.9, df=2, p < 0.24). Rural poverty and lack
of food security contribute to poaching in protected areas. Therefore, the solution lies in improving the local
capacity for investing wildlife revenues into sustainable revenue generating activities.