About Project LIFE (Living in a Finite Environment)

A traditional village in the Torra Conservancy rel=
A traditional village in the Torra Conservancy
© WWF / Jan Vertefeuille

A sustainable future for all Namibians

There is great potential for Namibia to achieve a healthy environment and development of its people. Large wildlife populations, aesthetically attractive scenery, rich fishery resources, and forests, among other assets, are the basis of a sustainable future for all Namibians.
Yet the legacy of the colonial past has resulted in an underdeveloped nation with a highly segregated society, vast economic disparities, and overexploited resources. The implementation of a comprehensive community-based natural resource management programme for Namibia's communal lands has been promoted as a possible means of rectifying much of the above situation.

The "Living in a Finite Environment" (LIFE) project provides assistance to comprehensive community-based natural resource management programmes through the provision of technical support, training, grants, and regional coordination and information dissemination to government agencies, NGOs, and communities.
Tsibeb conservancy office sign. rel=
Tsibeb conservancy office sign.
© WWF / Joanna Benn
In partnership with like minded organizations
The LIFE Project has a very strong partnership element, and works largely through host country organizations (NGO and government) to support the National Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Program.

As conservancies are now expanding to all corners of the country, it is important that a nationwide capacity be built into conservancy support organizations to assist in the development and rolling-out of conservancy management and monitoring systems.

Similarly, as conservancies expand their management mandate beyond wildlife to other natural resources, the project will assist with the integration of management approaches for new natural resources into conservancy management plans.

LIFE, which started in May 1993, is now in its third implementation phase (LIFE Plus). The Project is being implemented by WWF through a cooperative agreement with USAID. Institutional partners to WWF under the agreement include: Namibia Nature Foundation; Cooperative League of the United States of America; and International Resources Group, Inc.

Project scope
Key elements of community-based natural resource management which are being supported by the project include:

  • Empowerment of local residents as natural resource managers and recognized, equitable decision-makers;

  • Strengthening of community-based organizations as mechanisms for participation, stewardship, and resource management;

  • Generation of benefits linked to sustainable management of the resources, including income and employment;

  • Applied research in the social and biological fields to develop appropriate and relevant natural resource management strategies, for programme monitoring, and for monitoring the natural resource base;

  • Extension and training to increase local environmental awareness and resource management skills; and

  • Support and information for decision-makers, including policy research and dialogue.

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