Reduce Land degradation through Holistic Land and Livestock Management
3.1 Project Summary
This program is part of a growing international effort to utilize properly managed livestock to restore degraded land and thereby reduce both the frequency and severity of drought and flood disasters. It builds on the successes and learning from our efforts over the last four years (funded by USAID) to develop and then test in the neighbouring Hwange Communal Lands (HCL), a Holistic Management curriculum for communities embedded in an effective community mobilisation process. As such, the process has led to the discovery of key factors influencing successful implementation in land restoration-through-livestock efforts: 1) Bulk water storage to ensure large herds can drink quickly at least once per day while being herded; and, 2) The use of mobile ?bomas? (enclosures) that keep herds safe from predators at night, and allow crop fields to be ?tilled? by concentrated hooves and fertilised with dung and urine, which more than doubles crop yields on the poorest of soils.
Currently Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM) is working with 14 communities situated in Hwange Communal Lands which are implementing the Holistic Land and Livestock Management. These communities which lie in five Chiefdom-ships include Sizinda, Dibutibu, Chisuma,Ntabayengwe, Dobolo, Makala, Siyanyanga, Chigusi/Chibombo, Mwemba, Simangani,Gurambira, Kapami, Chamabanda and,Mashala. Over the last 4 years, ACHM managed to provide water and mobile kraals (bomas) in the following communities; Sizinda, Mwemba, Chezya, Siyanyanga and Ndajila/Masikila.. The following communities will require development of water-point infrastructure at Chigusi/Chibombo and Makhala whilst 5 bomas will be required at Chamabanda,Chisuma,Chigusi/Chibombo,Gurambira, Ntabayengwe. Therefore, this project seeks to support the establishment of 2 water points with bulk water storage, 5 mobile bomas and2 nutritional gardens (see Appendix 1). The requested funds from GEF will scale up the efforts which were started through the USAID funded Holistic Land and Livestock Management. The table below shows the previous funding received from USAID and the new areas that require GEFSGP support.

In each case, the community will have planned for this infrastructure, including their own contribution of 15% of cost, paid for in cash, labour and materials. They will create a maintenance fund and maintenance schedules to ensure the longevity of the assets. ACHM therefore requests for financial support from the GEF Small Grants Programme for procurement of materials required for this work and for establishing the water points.
3.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the Project
Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM) is a non profit Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded and registered in 1992, to support the dissemination of Holistic Management in Southern Africa through innovative training and outreach programmes based on a practical learning site (Dimbangombe Ranch) that provides evidence of land, water and wildlife restoration using livestock as a tool. ACHM employees 72 workers.
Most people in the Southern African region are affected by droughts more than any other type of natural disasters. Yet most of the droughts are human-caused or made worse by human practices. This view is further supported by Kofi Annan (1999) as he wrote, ?the term ?natural disasters? has become an increasingly anachronistic misnomer. In reality, it is human behaviour that transforms natural hazards into what should be called unnatural disasters?. This program is addressing those human-caused drought (and floods) through Holistic Land and Livestock Management. Pastoral droughts occur in most years in the communal grazing areas that make up the bulk of Southern African landscapes. As a result, boreholes and rivers are going dry, livestock are malnourished and more susceptible to disease, and in a genuine meteorological drought , which is made worse by the state of the land, and many animals perish. Livestock are commonly blamed for the land destruction, and there is ample evidence that livestock management practices have led to the creation of bare ground which means most of the rain that falls either evaporates immediately or runs off, creating ?drought? in the upper catchment and floods lower down. This is desertification in process and until Southern Africa begins to reverse it the conflict, impoverishment and social breakdown that accompany it will only increase. In addition, climate variability is expected to increase due to various climate related factors over time. However, the Holistic Land and Livestock Management is an innovative approach which seeks to mitigate and reduce the impacts of pastoral droughts.
Similarly, Zimbabwe and in particular Hwange Communal Lands where this project is based is not spared from the effects of droughts. Hwange Communal Lands are located in the agro-ecological region IV and V, characterised by marginal environmental conditions of low rainfall, poor soils and persistent droughts. Small holder farmers in this region depend on mixed crop and livestock production for their livelihoods. Animal husbandry is the major production activity in Hwange Communal Lands given the harsh environmental conditions characterizing this region. Through the implementation of Holistic Land and Livestock Management the project is aimed at increasing crop yields by about 3t/ha, reduces bare ground by 20% and increase forage by 40 days per hectare.
Livestock if properly managed can be used to lay down plant litter, prepare the soil so that more plants can grow, and thereby reduce evaporation and runoff and improve rainfall effectiveness. Through Holistic Land Management and its planned grazing methodology, pastoral droughts can be eliminated and the severity and impact of any meteorological droughts that do occur can be reduced and land restoration to productivity achieved.
Key to the success of this programme is the development of water infrastructure including borehole drilling, installation of solar-powered pump, and construction of a water reservoir to store water that can be used to water large livestock herds. Besides watering livestock, these water points can also benefit the community particularly in Hwange which is a dry area by ensuring that they have access to portable water for domestic use and for nutritional gardening activities. Another key piece of infrastructure is night time enclosures to protect livestock from predators lions in particular. ACHM has devoted time and resources over the last six years to designing, testing, and further developing low-cost, durable water tanks and troughs, and enclosures for protecting livestock from predators at night. Community mobilization, through a process known as the Community Action Cycle (CAC), together with these infrastructural requirements are key ingredients to the success of the programme and it is these aspects which we require The GEF Small Grants Programme to consider for funding:
? Water point Infrastructure. This includes the drilling or refurbishing of boreholes. For water storage, ACHM construct a thin-walled cement tank that can supply up to 500 cattle watering as a group for about 3 days. To pump from borehole to tank we install a power source (usually solar panels and a submersible pump), and then use large-diameter piping to gravity-feed water rapidly from the tank to a cement trough.
The solar panels will be protected from vandalism and theft by constructing a metal security cage where the panels will be locked. In addition, these solar panels will be installed adjacent to homesteads to enhance 24 hour protection from thieves.

A human-use tap will be installed in the tank, which will be used to water a community nutrition garden. In addition ACHM has developed a water point Tank & Trough construction & maintenance guide.
?Predator-Deterrent Enclosure Material (Boma). Communities wanting to combine animals into one large land management herd may opt to return animals to individual homesteads each evening, which limits grazing time. Livestock fare better when they can stay out grazing longer, and the land improves faster when they spend the night in a portable enclosure (or boma), (appendix 1).This is moved weekly over bare ground areas, or crop fields (in the dry season). Years of experimenting with local materials that could be used to construct portable panels did not produce any that could withstand regular movement or be sustainably harvested. The kraal panels developed by ACHM using PVC cloth (used in the wildlife capture industry), are the most promising to date for durability and portability. These were immediately popular in the first two communities that tested them. Five additional communities have since received them as well. We have developed a construction and maintenance guide for mobile bomas that also includes information on installing, taking down, and transporting the boma safely.
?Fencing materials for establishing nutritional and agro-forestry gardens. At each water point there is need for assistance in procuring fencing materials for the establishment of community nutritional gardens to enhance food security. In communities where ACHM has helped in the establishment of community nutritional gardens, the majority of the members use income derived from selling garden produce to buy groceries, agricultural utensils, pay school fees, clothing and grinding mill charges. As a result, community gardening will be also a major livelihood activity. By constructing a tank and installing the pump, this will also ensure the availability of water for growing throughout the year, thereby providing rural households with a consistent source of vegetables and regular income. With part of their earnings, the households are paying for electricity bills, seeds and tools thereby supporting the sustainability of these community gardens through a water fund.
?The communities involved will also engage in conservation farming and will engage in zero tillage, moisture harvesting techniques and promotions of small grains

ACHM is uniquely qualified to undertake this program and works with 14 communities in the Hwange Communal Area which provides a living laboratory of the challenges other communities will face. In this project ACHM work with livestock owners (men, women and youth) and crop farmers. The specific villages that are going to directly benefit from this project are given in table 2:

ACHM will also work in collaboration with other stakeholders: Veterinary Services, Livestock Production Department, and Agritex within the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, Forestry Commission, Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, Hwange Lion Research and others. ACHM intends to build capacity in Hwange Communal Lands for restoring degraded land and reducing the risk and severity of droughts and floods, through training in Holistic Land & Livestock Management. Table 3 shows the different stakeholders and their roles in the project:
Table 3: List of stakeholders and their roles
Name of Organisation Role in the project/Responsibility
Veterinary Services Advise on livestock diseases and condition
Livestock Production Department Advises farmers on livestock production
AGRITEX Advise farmers with agricultural extension
Ministry of Water Resources Knowledge and best practices.
Forestry Commission Provides knowledge and extension of agro- forestry practices
Department of Parks and Wildlife Management Deals with human/ wildlife conflicts
Hwange Lion Research Involved in gathering data on lion and livestock predation

Problem statement or challenge the project intends to address
Rural livelihoods in Matebeleland province are based on crop and livestock production. However, agricultural is constrained by the limited agricultural potential of the region, manifested through poor soils and low annual rainfall of 450-650mm. The erratic rainfall is a regular hazard which limits both the crop and livestock production in this region. In general, rainfall is below average for the zone in every 3 to 5 years within a decade. Recurrent droughts and intra-seasonal dry spells lead to crop failures and livestock mortalities for the majority of the rural households. These trends increase the vulnerabilities of the small holder farmers in Hwange District thereby leading into food insecurity and abject poverty. More so, Hwange District is faced with a serious water shortage for crop, livestock and drinking water for human beings. Currently, most communities which ACHM is working with travel an average of 7km to water their livestock. In addition the water sources which are mainly rivers, streams and pools are of poor quality and quantity (Appendix 1 (e). Water scarcity in the District also limits the production and viability of nutritional gardening activities for majority of the households. Furthermore, livestock predation is also a frequent problem in Hwange Communal Lands since most of the rural communities? shares borders with national parks. Lion predation on livestock is reported to be the main form of conflict between predators and the local people in such regions.
Thus, GEF funding to small holder farmers will enhance and facilitate the successful implementation of the Holistic Land and Livestock Management which is aimed to address the above mentioned problems. It is against this background that the GEF funding is critical and important in complimenting the current efforts undertaken by Africa Centre for Holistic Management in mitigating these above mentioned challenges.

?To reduce land degradation for 14 communities under Hwange Communal Lands through land & water restoration ( Holistic Land & Livestock Management)

?To provide waterpoint infrastructure and mobile kraals to mobilized communities that have applied for and met all requirements for receiving them.
?To train communities on managing their catchments sustainably through holistic land and livestock management
?To support communities in improving their food security through establishment of nutritional gardens and support in conservation farming.
?To document on the lessons learnt on the implementation of Holistic Land & Livestock Management and its impact on the degraded areas.

In the communities where ACHM has provided mobile kraals to farmers, increased crop yields especially maize has been reported by farmers.. However, it remains a challenge for communities without mobile kraals and bulk watering for livestock. In communities with community nutritional gardens in place that have been facilitated through establishment of water points by ACHM, farmers have reported an increase in income as indicated through produce sales to TM local supermarkets. Holistic planned grazing produces more forage and more ground-covering litter between plants. It does so by keeping the bunched animals moving around the grazing area, giving plants a chance to grow where the herd isn?t grazing, and scarifying bare soil surfaces and trampling down litter to enhance growing conditions. Within a year, more forage will be produced and water evaporation and runoff decrease.
ACHM is uniquely qualified to undertake this program. The neighbouring communities in the Hwange Communal Lands provide a living example of the challenges other communities and the NGOs assisting them might face. The Dimbangombe learning site shows dramatically what is possible when communities come together with their animals and share a common vision. Through this programme, ACHM and the participating communities seek to rehabilitate 72087 hectares of land.

1.1Pumps and solar panels
1.2Construction of 2x water tanks
1.3Travel & labour expenses
1.4 Trough construction
1.1 Purchase and installation of 5 x mobile kraals
Documentation (Production of information materials, videos, signage). The information will be communicated to all relevant stakeholders /parties and authorities to monitor progress and findings.
Monitoring and Evaluation
1.4 Establishment of nutritional gardens at each water point

Outputs (0-6 months of completed activity)
1.1 2x Solar modules, 180W, 24 V, 72 cells, poly purchased for Makala and Chiguswi/Chibombo
1.2 2x Grundfos Pumps SQF 2.5-2N purchased for Makala and Chiguswi/Chibombo
1.3 70 000 Litre water tank and trough constructed
1.1 crop field impaction
1.2 Herding together of livestock
1.1 Success stories of the various HLLM initiatives such as nutritional gardens, crop field impaction and holistic planned grazing.
.1 Forage assessment
1.2 Livestock Condition
1.3 Weekly herding register
2xNutritional gardens established
1.5 2x5kg seed support for nutritional garden to participating farmers
1.6 2x20m fencing materials for the garden

Outcome (1 year after completed activity)
1.1Healthy livestock
1.2Healthy Land
1.3 Adequate water available
1.1 Improvement in crop yields
1.2Protection of livestock from predators
1.3 The whole ecosystem rehabilitated with a total of 72087.hectares
1.1Well labeled signage
1.2 Documentation of healthy Land
1.3More forage production for livestock
Monitoring and Evaluation of the difference this infrastructure will make to the successful implementation of HLLM in these communities
Improved food security and livelihoods enhanced

3.5 Implementation Plan and Time-frame
Hwange Communal Lands will benefit from forage production on lands under planned grazing through Holistic Land Livestock Management (HLLM) practices. Community mobilisation using the Community Action Cycle takes about 2 years to move through all six phases, the last of which is a community-led evaluation of implementation success. Each of the 14 communities are at different stages of the process. Water point construction and boma manufacture, transportation and delivery to communities will take at most 2 months. Monitoring and Evaluation of the difference this infrastructure will make to the successful implementation of HLLM in these communities will be continuous, with data being aggregated monthly and analysed quarterly over the 2 year programme. The summary of activities, responsibilities, and indicators over the 2-year period is given below.
Loading map...

Project Snapshot

Africa Centre for Holistic Management
Area Of Work:
Land Degradation
Operational Phase:
Phase 5
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 113,183.00
Project Number:
Start Date:
End Date:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Planning non gef grant
- communities managed to mobilize boma sheeting of lions park
Policy Influence
-The project has not influence any policy at national level.
+ View more