In 2018, KIT Royal Tropical Institute conducted a large-scale livelihoods baseline study in Liuwa Plain National Park (LPNP), Zambia. The study assessed the current situation of communities living in the park though an elaborate mixed-methods design as a basis for informing future decision-making on socio-economic investments in local communities.
Understanding the fine balance between wildlife & local communities
LPNP is located in the Western Province of Zambia. The Park is biologically diverse – with abundant birdlife and large mammals – and is home to an estimated 12,700-15,000 people, most of whom are part of the ethnic group of the Lozi people. These people legally reside in the Park and enjoy traditional residence rights, including access to the Park’s fishing grounds for artisanal fishing and access to agricultural fields. Fishing and agriculture are recognised as the mainstays of communities’ livelihoods, but overall, little data exists on the local communities that live in the Park.
While park management has engaged in different community outreach activities, pressures are mounting which affect the co-existence of wildlife and human beings. A previous assessment by KIT in 2017 highlighted that many of the challenges facing LPNP are grounded in the deep impoverishment of its growing human population.
As a result, in 2018 African Parks commissioned KIT to conduct an extensive household livelihoods study in LPNP to provide in-depth information on the current situation of communities living in the Park. The study will inform future decision-making on socio-economic investments in local communities.
The study targeted the following objectives:
- Inform. Provide detailed information on the topics of interest identified by African Parks regarding the situation and livelihoods of the park’s inhabitants.
- Connect. Contribute to stronger relationships between African Parks’ staff and local communities by means of a participatory research approach.
- Sensitise. Familiarise African Parks’ staff with data collection methods for the purpose of monitoring, evaluation and learning.
- Develop. Contribute to developing a common vision for future pathways for Liuwa Plain National Park by African Parks and local communities.