An official from Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mr Mogotsi Modise informed residents of Seronga during a meeting that since the project was producing impressive results, they have requested an extension of one year.
The five-year project, which is funded by the government in partnership with the World Bank to the tune of P41 million, was piloted in three districts of Chobe, Okavango and Boteti. In Okavango the project was launched from Seronga to Gudingwa villages.
The main objective of the project is to mitigate human-wildlife conflict through proactive prevention interventions in selected rural communities in northern Botswana and to offer local people in the project areas employment choices in wildlife-based tourism to benefit directly from the presence of wildlife.
Earlier on, one of the residents, Mr Rampise Rampise who is the chairperson of the project dismissed it, noting that it had not produced the expected results.
He said the project mainly focused on prevention measures on tested conflict mitigation based on elephant deterrents which can easily be demonstrated and supported, while also piloting additional approaches to mitigate livestock-predator conflict.
He indicated that the intervention brought by the project were not effective, citing that use of chilli pepper to chase away elephants was stopped because the beneficiaries failed to apply it as expected while in bee keeping, beneficiaries were equipped with knowledge and information but no one benefited.
He also noted that regarding the intervention to mitigate livestock-predator conflict, out of eight beneficiaries only three benefited as they managed to establish strong kraals.
Regarding World Bank Scholarship application, Mr Rampise said about 40 people applied but only three had been selected. He said that is disappointing and also frustrates government efforts in uprooting extreme poverty amongst the communities.
Responding to the comments, Mr Modise confirmed that it is true that the bee keeping intervention did not work.
On the issue of tourism scholarship, he explained that the number of people selected might be small but a lot has benefited from the program.
He said most have been trained and secured jobs at camps in the delta.
Mr Modise also noted that the intervention of herding dogs did not produce the results as the dogs were killed by vehicles while roaming the village.
He hoped that since the project has been extended, it will progress well as expected. He urged residents to change their mindset and appreciate the concept, noting that in the long run, they will have impressive results.