In June 2014 the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) conducted a needs assessment in the 3 Omaheke conservancies that we are supporting as part of a project funded by European Union through the Civil Society Foundation: Institutional and Governance Capacity Building for Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM).

As is best practice the assessment was preceded by a meeting with Ministry of Environment (MET) regional staff in Gobabis. This meeting took place in order to introduce the project and also introduce NNF field staff to regional colleagues.

The needs assessment is an important first step identified by the national CBNRM programme in identifying the training and technical assistance required when working with a conservancy for the first time and a NNF followed used the process and templates created by NACSO (Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations). NNF is a founding member and treasurer of the Management Committee of NACSO. The assessment consisted of three separate meetings. All of the meetings were well attended and NNF field staff was able to gain a much better understanding of the current state of each conservancy in terms of institutional and field capacity. A total of 65 conservancy committee members attended along with traditional authority leaders and other stakeholders including the Honourable A.K Marenga who is currently serving as the Otjiombinde constituency councillor.

After the five day field trip the NNF CBNRM team was able to develop a comprehensive work plan tailored to the needs of the conservancies which includes a series of workshops, a natural resources assessment as well as various other technical assistance tasks to be implemented within the timeframe of the project. It was noted that the conservancies do not have offices in which to file important documents. The NNF CBRNM team has highlighted this as a definite need on the ground and will work to try to obtain external funding for materials to build offices. The absence of a conservancy manager has also been earmarked as an action point during the project implementation period. The NNF has asked the conservancies to identify possibly candidates for training and mentoring under the NNF CBNRM team for the duration of the project. Through the inclusion of this aspect into the project implementation strategy it is hoped that these individuals will use their newly gained skills in conservancy management to further the vision of their respective conservancies after the closure of the EU/Civil Society funded action.