One Health in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area with Shangaan people, Zimbabwe
The Shangaan people of Zimbabwe live along the Gonarezhou National Park “The Place of Many Elephants” which is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area in southern Africa. Encompassing also the national parks of Kruger in South Africa and the Limpopo in Mozambique, the Great Limpopo TFCA represents one of the most diverse large African mammals kingdom in the world including one of the largest African elephant and rhinoceros populations in Africa.
Shangaan people are direct descendants from the Zulu tribes that split away from Shaka Zulu at the beginning of the 19th century and came to settle in a small section of south-east Zimbabwe. The Shangaan have a tradition of hunting gathering based on an intimate knowledge of their resources and an in-depth understanding of animal behavior. Although they are now increasingly adopting an agro-pastoral lifestyle, their culture and livelihood is still entirely dependent on their natural resources.
Threatened Ecosystem and Wildlife
Arid savanna woodland
Elephant, wild dog, lion, birds (>500 spp)
One Health Challenges
Human-wildlife conflict, under-nutrition, no sources of income, zoonotic diseases, water rarefaction, soil erosion, climate change
Develop alternative sources of income for women
Provision of separate sources of water
Improve food diversity & crop resilience
Improve livestock management
Shangaan communities still live in poverty with recurrent episodes of severe food insecurity in these semi-arid areas. They also have to bear the costs of living near a protected area (human-wildlife conflict, diseases, remoteness, poor access to social services) with no source of income. Food and water security challenges are exacerbated by climate change.
Our project has improved access to water and water hygiene as well as family nutrition and health. Better livestock management and the reduction of sources of conflict over natural resources between wildlife, humans and domestic stock also contributes to better ecosystem health. The development of specific economic activities based on traditional environmental knowledge empowers women whose daily responsibilities are also improved by the project.