AMSCO supports the African Parks Network (APN), a private park management institution in Africa that takes on a long-term responsibility of managing protected areas, in partnership with governments and the community. Through this project, there has been a positive impact on the Zambian community through enhanced professionalism in the management of Bangweulu Parks.
The project has created a number of job opportunities (from staff size of 2 to 98) including law enforcement personnel, and also achieved a sharp increase in the animal and birds stock level of the Park.
What makes it unique is that it is one of the first protected areas in Zambia to be owned and conserved by the local communities, whilst being jointly managed by African Parks who have a day-to-day responsibility for running the project, and Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) who are playing a guiding and supporting role.
Most work to date has been focused on developing relationships with key stakeholders across the local communities to conserve their environment. Effects of the green economy have therefore been exceptional amidst the global climate change.
The Bangweulu ecosystem provides habitation to a range of animals and birds. It had previously been unattended to the point that a number of species were almost getting extinct. This was largely due to lack of resources, manpower and expertise. Before AMSCO intervention, the Wetlands were not under any professional management team. The local communities heavily depended on them for fish resources to improve their livelihood resulting in fast declining fish population.
Emphasis is placed on achieving financial sustainability of the parks, principally through tourism, related private enterprises and payments for eco-system services which serve as a foundation for economic development and poverty alleviation.