Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ORI Library Closed

ORI Library will be closed for the holidays on the 17 of December  and re-open on the 12 January 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mr Thupe Senior Librarian Okavango Research Institute (ORI) branch of University of Botswana attended the unveiling of Mr Motsamai Mpho’s tombstone on Saturday 13th  December 2014, as a representative for ORI. Mr Mpho played a vital role in securing the piece of land in which ORI sits and was instrumental in the mapping up of the location.
In 2008, ORI Library awarded Mr Mpho,  Moabi wa Kitso award, which acknowledges Okavango community members who have made a significant contribution to the sharing of knowledge in their community. The award was created to recognize people who have consistently and over time gone beyond the requirements of their daily activities to include others in their learning process.
At the ceremony, ORI made an undertaking to assess  Mr Mpho’s library collection and possibly include it in the Library collection as a rare collection if Mpho’s family could consider giving ORI the collection.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Presentation by Dr Glen Wilson

Recruitment in floodplain fish assemblages: Alternative approaches and methodological dilemmas in Australia’s northern Murray-Darling Basin
Dr Glenn Wilson, Robb College, University of New England, Armidale, Australia
The Murray-Darling Basin in south-eastern Australia is Australia’s main food bowl, yet has a very low level of water run-off and highly variable flow regimes in its rivers.  The two halves of the basin (southern, northern) have very different conditions, requiring different data for ecological management.  In the north, flows peak in the summer months, and irrigation development commenced much later than in the south.  Many of the northern catchments have a large wetland system at their downstream end, and it is these ‘terminal wetland’; systems that I have been studying in order to support the delivery of appropriate environmental water regimes.  My particular interest in fish!
Since the early 2000s, I have been working ion two main terminal wetland systems and attempting to understand how fish recruitment in particular varies with differing flow conditions.  I have used three main research approaches: (1) modeling ecological relationships with discharge variability from longer-term data, (2) analyzing ecological responses to specific flood events, and (3) examining population-level phenomena using biological (age) data.
I remain very interested in collaborating with southern African researchers on similar projects locally, whether in Botswana or other, neighbouring countries.

Friday, November 28, 2014

ORI Seminars

You are invited to a seminar presentation by visit researchers; Dr Heather Mcginness and Dr Glen Wilson on Monday 01 Dec 2014 at 10am in the Seminar Room.
Presentation titles:
1. Dr Heather Mcginness, Research Scientist in the CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Canberra
“Floodplain river ecology and management in Australia: Variability, complexity, and change” (about 20 mins)
2. Dr Glenn Wilson, Senior Research Fellow in fish ecology, and Head of Robb College, University of New England, Armidale
“Recruitment in floodplain fish assemblages: Alternative approaches and methodological dilemmas in Australia’s northern Murray-Darling Basin” (about 35-40 mins)
3. Dr Heather Mcginness, Research Scientist in the CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Canberra
“Flood regimes driving community transitions in semi-arid floodplain woodlands” (about 30 mins)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Identifying forgoten cultural landscapes in Maun village: Community, Cultural Heritage and Development

Excerpt from seminar presented on 11th September 2014 at Okavango Research Institute (ORI) seminar room
The research presentation which was attended by about twenty (20) dikgosi was a follow up to a research that Dr Susan O. Keitumetse conducted among dikgosi to find out about Maun cultural landscapes from the past that are known to them. The dikgosi were selected because they are the custodians of the culture and the people and are the ones who may understand better on issues of cultural heritage conservation. The information collected included knowledge about various cultural landscapes and features in Maun. These were mapped using a Global Position System (GPS) and overlayed on a map of Maun to create a layer of cultural landscapes on Maun planned map.
The research found that Maun dikgotla, some of which have disappeared have cultural heritage value for both the people and the village. Collected together the dikgotla history make up the village cultural heritage that can be appealing to an international visitor. The cosmopolitan nature of the village was understood through the settlement pattern that is evident through the dikgotla placement.  For instance the grouped identities of the kgotla tell a story of the people’s heritage in the present. Main wards (Kgosing, Mabudutsa, Meno); dikgotla tsa basimane ba kgotla (Matomo, Lebodu, Mopako, Mhapha); dikgotla that were borne out of independent merafhe seeking to settle among the Tawana but being allowed to keep their own dikgotla (Boyei, Shashe, Borolong, Shagen, Bombadi, Kubung); dikgotla that were borne out of a communal need that is not necessarily traditional (Boseja, Sedie, Wenela, Riverside, Bombadi, Disana, etc). The histories that led to these dikgotla is composed of a lot of historical heritage that can be harnessed by the community as heritage product that they package to the tourists visiting the village and develop village cultural heritage trails.
One of the research findings showed that the village used to sustain itself agriculturally whereby masimo a kgosi were ploughed by all and the food deposited in the communal grain bins (matlole) which are now located at the Kgosing ward. The masimo a kgosing were located along the Thamalakane river behind the now Riley’s hotel as well as where Letsholathebe hospital is located. From these knowledges a community agricultural trail can be discerned whereby village tourism trails involving places of agricultural activities that can form tourism notes that stretch across the village towards dikgotla.
There are other landscapes that show the enterprising spirit of the pre-independence Maun whereby communities in the thick of the Okavango Delta came frequently to Maun as the inland village where battering took place. The items battered for included safety pins (dikopelo), beads, bottles, tins, wild animal biltong, lethaka, etc. A spot such as this one could be secured as a civic space by the community for future heritage development involving activities that used to take place there, with tourists paying to participate. A mokoro ride micmicking Yeyi coming out of the islands with goods to be battered is one activity. A build- up of a community restaurant and camping areas around the place is one way the community could develop the area. Also a marketplace could be in order to celebrate the identity of the cultural activities as they took place in the past.
The research findings also indicated that it is important for dikgosi to know of the Maun development plan and influence the direction of its development
The other way that the research highlighted as relevant findings is the development of a vocational curriculum that is informed by the cultural heritage knowledge provided from dikgosi. With the advent of Botswana Technical Education Programme (BTEP), it is becoming necessary to have curriculum based on indigenous skills knowledge framework. As part of capacitating this development, Dr Keitumetse, the research leader has initiated a Standard Setting Task Force for cultural heritage tourism with the former Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), which hopefully will form the basis for community initiatives along this line.
The research outcome will in future be used to advice the community via dikgosi (chiefs) on how to harness their village landscapes for community development deriving using a Community Based Cultural Heritage Resources Management (COBACHREM).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Farmers urged to take ownership of human-wildlife co-existence

Rural communities in 13 villages along the Okavango Delta, Chobe–Linyanti and the Makgadikgadi wetlands have been urged to take ownership of a human-wildlife co-existence project through pro-active conflict prevention and skills development.
The calls were made by the project consultants, Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS), during a stakeholder workshop of the Northern Botswana Human Wildlife Coexistence Project (NBHWC) held in Maun.
The project’s activities includes the introduction of chili bush fences, early maturation seed varieties, kraaling and guard dogs to reduce livestock predation as well as beehive fences to prevent damage of crops and livestock killings by elephants and predators respectively.
When delivering her presentation, the Public Relations and Marketing Officer at KCS, Chanana Ntsomeng, said the objectives were to familiarise everyone with the project’s communications strategy and activities and give stakeholders a chance to give feedback on the project. She said another objective is to encourage ownership by Village Project Members.
The Senior Wildlife Biologist in Maun, Mpho Nthomiwa, said the lives of people in the region depended on arable and pastoral farming. “We have challenges of human and wildlife conflict. As growth, they end up encroaching. Reduce conflict; go to co-existence. Challenge for people and wildlife to live in harmony.” He added..
He praised the focal persons in the project for co-operation given to stakeholders, including EcoExist Botswana, who are running parallel research to address human-elephant conflict in ways that may be modeled throughout Botswana. Nthomiwa stated that his department and the two organs have since signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to combat possible clashes with community members. Read more http://www.ngamitimes.com/2014/10/farmers-urged-take-ownership-human-wildlife-co-existence/

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pirates threaten fishing industry

Illegal fishing in Lake Ngami is a threat to species and local livelihoods and any move against it could spark conflict with Zambia and the DRC.
The Botswana ministry of environment, wildlife and tourism’s failure to crack down on illicit fishing operations in the wetlands of Ngamiland and the Chobe region may result in extinction of species, economic losses, and destruction of livelihoods in the northwest of the country.
Information gathered by the Oxpeckers Centre for Investigative Environmental Journalism suggests that the influx of Congolese and Zambian fishermen at Lake Ngami has left authorities worried about the depletion of resources and environmental challenges that arise at the fishermen’s informal settlements.
Lake Ngami falls at the southwest fork of the Okavango Delta and mostly feeds from the inflows of the delta. The Okavango, one of the largest bodies of inland water, was recently listed under the Ramsar wetlands of global importance by the United Nations.
Along the lake’s shores, fishermen can be seen drying fish and packing it in large consignments ready to be trucked into Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A few years ago there were less than 200 fishermen from other countries, but the numbers have exploded to more than 3?000.
Ngami farming communities have appealed to the ministry to suspend fishing at the lake because of a proliferation of squatter camps and the uncontrolled influx of pirate fishermen attracted to Botswana by the booming fishing opportunity on the lake.
Bareetsi Bogaisang, chairperson of the Lake Ngami Fishing Cluster, said the problem had escalated beyond control.
There was a high demand for bream and barbel in Zambia because these species had been overfished in that country, he said.
“The Zambians now come to Botswana and fish in bulk,” said Bogaisang.
“Some even put in orders for 30?000 to 45?000 fish a month – a figure that has increased from about 7?000 a couple of years ago.
“The rising demand has caught us unprepared. This explains the failure to monitor, regulate and protect the trade from this exploitation,” Bogaisang said.
Read more http://mg.co.za/article/2014-10-24-pirates-threaten-fishing-industry