The 5th of June DRFN arranged, on behalf of The Future Okavango (TFO) project, the first Forum for Integrated Resources Management (FIRM) workshop involving both community representatives from the three project villages Tjeye, Mashare and Mopapama east of Rundu in Kavango region, and their service providers. The workshop was held at MITC at Mashare, following a series of meetings that DRFN, together with other TFO partners, have held over the past 12 months with the Village Development Committees and the broader community in the three villages, aimed at introducing the FIRM concept and identifying current challenges and development goals.
The FIRM is a platform where communities take the lead in their own development by identifying their development needs and then involving required service providers in the formulation and implementation of an action plan.
The FIRMs also serve as platforms for interactions amongst the many researchers from Germany, Angola, Namibia and Botswana that are engaged in the project, and the community members in the three villages. These platforms allows researchers and community representatives to:
– discuss and develop research plans,
– give feedback about research findings, and
– test and implement findings and best practices learnt from the research process.
The purpose of the workshop was to bring community representatives and their stakeholders together to discuss the concept of FIRM and how it could contribute to improved cooperation. During the workshop community representatives presented their key challenges and development goals, and service providers presented their current and planned activities in the area.
Participants learning about the FIRM approach and how it relates to the TFO project
The workshop was attended by 50 participants representing the three Village Development Committees, ten service providers including regional government and traditional authorities.
The next step in the process is to hold a second FIRM meeting with community representatives and service providers aimed at developing an operational plan that addresses key challenges and development needs of the three communities.