Building strong and lasting local management of natural resources requires a combination of many different elements.
Various incentives can be put in place; for example, it is now common to see microfinance schemes embedded in community conservation projects. In East Africa, Village Savings and Loans Associations, also known as Village Community Banks, are particularly popular.
In the south of Zanzibar’s Pemba Island, Tanzania, dozens of community savings-based microfinance groups were established a few years ago by rural development projects, and continue to function today without the need for ongoing external support.
The sustainability of this approach was particularly interesting to Fauna & Flora International (FFI). We were on the lookout for a model that offered a lasting, community-based incentive tied to positive conservation actions, and which could be replicated when local initiatives scale up.