We share here details of outputs and other publications.



Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Selma Lendelvo, Mechtilde Pinto and Sian Sullivan

The first months of our project have been dominated by COVID-19 and associated lockdown restrictions and travel bans. We responded with a telephone survey, led by Dr Selma Lendelvo, of people in five communal-area conservancies to find out what their biggest challenges were due to COVID-19. The survey focused on intersections between COVID19 travel restrictions, tourism/trophy-hunting incomes and 'community-based conservation'. The peer-reviewed paper from this research has now been published by the Namibian Journal of Environment:

Lendelvo, S., Mechtilde, P. and Sullivan, S. 2020 A Perfect Storm? COVID-19 and community-based conservation in Namibia. Namibian Journal of Environment 4(B): 1-15

Abstract: We report on a rapid survey of five communal-area conservancies in Namibia to understand initial impacts on community-based conservation of national and international policies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Namibia’s Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) programme has been growing for over 30 years, with high economic reliance on tourism and conservation hunting. We review the interrelationships between COVID-19, CBNRM, tourism and hunting, and discuss our findings under eight interlocking themes: 1) disruption to management and regular operational processes of conservancies, including 2) effects on conservancy wildlife patrolling and monitoring; 3) losses of revenue and cash flow in conservancy business operations; 4) impacts on Joint-Venture Partnerships; 5) impacts on employment opportunities and local livelihoods; 6) effects on community development projects and social benefits, including 7) disruption to funded projects and programmes; and 8) lack of technical capacity regarding communication technologies and equipment. In our conclusion we discuss tensions between an assumption that normal business can or will be resumed, and calls for the COVID-19 pandemic to create an opportunity for global choices away from ‘business-as-normal’. It is too early to tell what mix of these perspectives will unfold. What is clear is that communal-area conservancies must derive benefits from conservation activities in their areas that are commensurate with their role as key actors in the conservation of Namibia’s valuable wildlife and landscapes.

Keywords: communal-area conservancies, Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), conservation hunting, COVID-19 pandemic, Namibia, rural livelihoods, tourism, wildlife

A blog summarising our article has also been published by the Conservation Namibia blog of the Namibian Chamber of Environment, see Communal Conservancies Cry for Help to Survive Coronavirus Perfect Storm.


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Book section

Ute Dieckmann, Sian Sullivan

Ute Dieckmann and Sian Sullivan contribute partner chapters to a new collection called Mapping the Ummappable? Cartographic Explorations with Indigenous Peoples in Africa, edited by Ute Dieckmann (Bielefeld: Transcript, November 2020).

1. 'Hai||om in Etosha: “Cultural maps” and being-in-relations ' (Dieckmann)
This chapter introduces a cultural mapping project in the Etosha National Park in Namibia. It was undertaken with a group of (former) hunter-gatherers, Hai||om, who have lived in the area of the Etosha National Park for time immemorial. In retrospect, I will analyse the “silences” as well as misrepresentations on the maps, which were produced during that time, with regard to hunter-gatherers relations to places, people, animals, etc.

2. 'Densities of meaning in west Namibian landscapes: genealogies, ancestral agencies, and healing' (Sullivan)
This chapter introduces a historical cultural mapping project in west Namibia documenting childhood memories of former dwelling places, particularly in Sesfontein and Purros conservancies and the Palmwag tourism concession. The research draws into focus past practices of dwelling, mobility, livelihood and environmental perception amongst Khoe-speaking peoples (of ||Khao-a, !Narenin and ||Ubun !haoti or lineages) who lived as hunter-harvesters and small stock pastoralists throughout the wider west Namibian landscape. A combination of factors cleared people from these lands, causing disruption to cultural, family and individual identities. Using an array of research methods – from recorded oral histories and musics associated with remembered sites, to logging mapped coordinates and associated information on google maps – the project aims to (re)inscribe layers of cultural significance now occluded from maps of the area. The paper focuses on three dimensions that are hard to make visible using conventional cartographic techniques: 1. the rhizomatically interwoven relationships between people, places and ancestors that on-site oral histories draw into focus as densely connected through past mobilities and genealogies; 2. the greeting practice tsē-khom that foregrounds the agentic presence of known ancestors and anonymous spirits of the dead associated with specific places and land areas; and 3. the remembered significance of |gais praise songs and arus healing dances linked with former living sites (||an-||huib).



Book chapter

Selma Lendelvo

Selma Lendelvo is working with co-authors Romie Nghitevelekwa and Mechtilde Pinto on a book chapter called 'Climate Change Induced Human-Wildlife Conflict among Women in the Erongo Region, Namibia',
for a volume provisionally titled COP26 – Negotiating Climate Change and Capitalism in a Time of Corona Crisis, edited by Steffen Böhm and Sian Sullivan (MayFly Books, 2021).

Abstract. The risks of climate change on drier countries have become riskier. Today, climate change is one of the top five global risks. In the different parts of the world, the remotest corners of our planet climate change continue to manifest its different faces. It has already been shown that the 1.5°C and higher levels of global warming show that what seems like small increments in temperature at the global scale can have serious local consequences. This is more so for hotspot areas such as Namibia and Botswana. In Namibia, in addition to the effects of climate change manifested through prolonged and reoccurring droughts, communities have begun to witness different manifestations of climate change including climate induced human-wildlife conflicts. In this piece we focus on how the communities in the Erongo Region of Namibia and especially women as a vulnerable social group have been affected by climate induced human wildlife conflicts, and how they are adapting. The rationale is to show that communities continue to grapple with the impacts of climate change at practical levels, hence radical action is needed now. Women in the Erongo region are finding difficulties to adapt to the effects of HWC as the realities of climate change have altered local conditions – that at one point used to be safety nets for survival. The desert environment these women inhabit coupled with recurrent droughts have compromised the benefits from conservation – despite being a wildlife rich area.

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​© 2020 Etosha-Kunene Histories

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