LEFATSHE I. MAGOLE, LAPOLOGANG MAGOLE AND TUELO BAPEDI, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, BOTSWANA
Abstract: Community based natural resources management (CBNRM) is a rural development approach in Third World Countries that seeks to achieve a dual objectives namely to form of biodiversity conservation and promote socio-economic development. Whilst conservation lobby groups applauds the program as contributing significantly to biodiversity conservation, in Botswana, achievement of the socio-economic objective is varied and contradictory. On one hand, the promoters of CBNRM point to substantial amounts of funds (in thousands of US-Dollars) generated by the program for some communities. On the other hand, critics of the program argue that benefit sharing contradicts the objectives of the programme at every point. While community self governance in natural resources management and utilisation is one of the main principles of CBNRM for instance, government interference in CBNRM projects, is endemic. This paper investigates the dynamics of benefits sharing models (actual and desired) in two San (Basarwa) remote communities of Mababe and Phuduhudu that are involved in CBNRM projects in Ngamiland district in north western Botswana. Study findings suggest that benefit sharing models in these communities do not differ from the social welfare poverty alleviation model promoted by the Botswana government. Subsequently, the dynamics of this benefits sharing model tend to polarize the community into two groups, namely those who acquire extensive benefits and those who benefit minimally. This study has shown that the trickle down assumption [of equitable sharing of benefit accruing from CBNRM development project] has been misguided and presumptuous. Whilst the government and donor agencies have not succeeded in implementing the trickle down wealth re-distribution at international and national levels, it was unreasonable to expect poorly resourced communities with low human capital and infrastructural development to succeed in it.
Keywords: CBNRM, Benefits Sharing, Trickle down