NATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR, ZAMBIA NATIONAL COMMUNITY RESOURCES BOARD ASSOCIATION
“Since childhood, I always dreamed of working in the wildlife and natural resources conservation sector,” says Isaac Banda.
After finishing secondary school, Isaac worked first for Mnkhanya Community Resources Board (CRB) in his home area of Mfuwe, bordering world-famous South Luangwa National Park, one of Africa’s most wildlife-rich protected areas. He is now National Co-ordinator for the National Community Resources Board Association in Zambia, representing and giving a voice to all CRBs in Zambia.
“The role of the 70+ CRBs in Zambia is to protect wildlife and natural resources in the Game Management Areas where rural communities live bordering protected areas. Their work is based on three major areas; Community Sensitisation, Anti-Poaching Operations conducted by community scouts and implementing Community Development Projects to alleviate poverty and to benefit the communities that take part in conservation and live in harmony with wildlife,” Isaac explains.
“My daily work is varied. I advocate for rural local communities living with wildlife to actively participate in the conservation of wildlife and natural resources in Zambia. One day I could be in meetings with government ministers and Department of National Parks & Wildlife staff, and on another day I can be in the community running workshops and advocating for their rights as custodians of the land on which wildlife exists.
“As a community organisation, we have done a lot in terms of community awareness meetings against illegal poaching and other operations. However, there is nothing which motivates me more than tackling the high rate of encroachment which has led to a huge loss of wildlife habitat in Zambia due to unplanned settlement. The great desire by community members themselves to conserve wildlife and other natural resources also greatly motivates me. We are people living with wildlife, and the challenge is for us all to co-exist peacefully with wild animals.”
Isaac adds: “A world cannot be a good place to live in without wildlife. Let’s all join hands together and conserve our wildlife for the future beauty and generations.”