As part of improving and strengthening Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) through monitoring and data collecting, BIO-HUB Trust is promoting the Management Oriented Monitoring System (MOMS) tool. The MOMS tool is being successfully implemented in many Namibian conservancies. The tool helps communities to gather information through monitoring different actives and generate database that help in making well informed decisions as well as promoting a bottom-up approach. Information gathered, collected and monitored at community level ensures the participation of the local communities in monitoring as well as decisions making. Therefore, the MOMS training offered by BHT contributes to the empowering of local communities to plan and monitor their area, activities, put in place safety and security measures, develop database(s) and participate in decision making processes of their own environment.
Management Oriented Monitoring System (MOMS) originates from Conservancies in Namibia after the Namibian legislation passed in 1996 to give certain rights to communities in communal lands to benefit from wildlife. In return the communities were required to assume some responsibilities for the sustainable management of natural resources, in particular wildlife. A joint venture between government, NGOs and rural communities gave birth to the Namibia’s Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) program. The program would assist the communities to improve management and the sustainable use of biodiversity in communal lands. As the management of natural resources is complicated because it involves many variables (wildlife, livestock, rangelands, fire, rainfall, etc.) and depends on the objectives of the community, the same area could be used for cattle production, game farming, tourism, crop farming or a mixture of all of these. The result of this complexity and an incomplete understanding of how the ecosystem functions, conservancies had to use an adaptive management approach. Central to adaptive management was a requirement for conservancies to set in place monitoring systems to check to see if the objectives were being reached. The monitoring systems started at the beginning of the CBNRM program were conventional in that external experts (scientists) working in government or NGOs designed them. Field staff (conservancy members) collected the data, data sheets were handed in and subjected to expert analysis. Many communities never received feedback due to the experts moving on, data being lost, computer problems, etc. In cases where the experts did return results, there were often lengthy delays and community members did not understand the resulting graphs, tables and maps . The consequence was no ownership of the monitoring process or results and conservancies struggled to maintain these systems beyond a few years. This system is based on the principals of adaptive management and aims to constantly review the monitoring results and if the objectives of the conservancy are not being achieved take required actions to address the situation. This system is known locally as the ‘‘Event Book System’’, and is designed around meeting the information needs of the local community. It gets its name from the challenge of monitoring events that occur stochastically e.g. fire, poaching, problem animal incidents, wildlife mortalities, etc. The system also makes provision for more systematic and planned monitoring activities (e.g. vegetation monitoring or wildlife censuses). A more correct term for this methodology might be a management orientated monitoring system. The ‘‘Event Book System’’ differs from the conventional way of monitoring in that: (i) the community decides on what they want to monitors, (ii) the technicians only provide support upon request from the conservancy and facilitate the design process; and (iii) all data collection and analysis is undertaken locally by conservancy members.