As noted in the last issue, the National Association of Conservancies and Stewardship of South Africa (Nacssa) will assist with forming and registering a conservancy. Biodiversity can be found almost everywhere and the first step is deciding what type of conservancy will suit your area and needs.
Be certain that you can meet the responsibilities once the conservancy is registered. To add strength to your proposal, get like-minded people in your area to join forces with you, including the local conservation officer as you’ll need their input and support. Once you’re certain this is for you, do the following:
- Hold a public meeting in your area. Advertise this well to garner support and make sure you invite the conservation officer.
- At the meeting, form a committee, making sure that the members are committed to the concept and are not out for personal gain.
- Set a date for the committee to meet in order to discuss the drawing up of a constitution and possible names for the conservancy. It would be wise to submit these ideas to a further gathering of the community to ensure it ‘buys-in’ to the project.
- A pro-forma constitution can be obtained from Nacssa. A constitution is necessary for the registration and should be submitted together with the completed registration form (also available at Nacssa), a list of committee members and contact details (including an address for correspondence), a map of the area depicting the conservancy boundaries, a copy of the minutes of the first meeting and a species list (your local conservation officer should be able to assist with this).
- All the information should be submitted to your Nacssa provincial office to ratify it and issue a certificate. Although not mandatory, it is wise to charge a membership fee to enable the organisation to pay for administration costs. – Susan Pletts