Namibia’s community-based natural resource management program (CBRNM) and communal conservancies have gained international acclaim for rural poverty alleviation and wildlife conservation on the commons. Community-based ecotourism enterprise development has played a central role in the generation of community revenues, employment and additional benefits. The place of community-based ecotourism enterprises in the evolution of Namibia’s conservancies is examined. A participatory rural appraisal (PRA) approach was conducted in Namibia as part of recent doctoral research in 2006 and 2007, featuring participant observation, semi-structured key informant interviews and structured communal villager interviews. Findings demonstrate some tangible successes of community-based ecotourism enterprise development, as well as emerging issues in related benefits distribution and power brokering. The case of the Torra Conservancy is profiled as a leading model for success in partnerships between conservancies, as community-based conservation institutions, and tourism enterprises. The experience of Ehi-rovipuka Conservancy is also detailed, to illuminate challenges and prospects for replicating the Torra model. Power relationships between and among private enterprise, community, and the state are elucidated. Ecotourism enterprise development can contribute successfully to community-based conservation. But, issues of power sharing, governance and competition necessitate the further evolution of commons institutions to capture future, sustainable benefits from community-based conservation premised on wildlife and related ecotourism development.
Hoole, A. F. (2009). Place-power-prognosis: Community-based conservation, partnerships, and ecotourism enterprises in Namibia. International Journal of the Commons, 4(1), 78. https://doi.org/10.18352/ijc.112