Supporting Solar-powered Conservation of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe | One Earth
Supporting Solar-powered Conservation of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe

Park rangers crossing the river. Image credit: Courtesy of the Zambezi Society

Supporting Solar-powered Conservation of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe

Organization The Zambezi Society
Category Nature Conservation

There are five main project categories: Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as Indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers and community agriculture. Climate Change covers global science efforts, climate adaptation, and social justice work.

Realm Afrotropics

The Project Marketplace is organized by the major terrestrial realms divided into 14 biogeographical regions – N. America, Subarctic America, C. America, S. America, Afrotropics, Indomalaya, Australasia, Oceania, Antarctica, and the Palearctic realm, which coincides with Eurasia and is divided into Subarctic, Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern regions.

Status ongoing

Seed indicates an early stage project that needs some level of support to develop into a larger funding proposal. Ongoing indicates any project that needs core programmatic funding. Urgent indicates a short-term project initiated in response to a natural disaster or other impending risk.

Funding Level $$

$$ indicates a project with a funding need between $50,000-$250,000.

Timeframe 12 Months
Partner Empowered by Light

Zimbabwe’s Charara Safari Area, managed by the Zimbabwe National Parks Authorities, was in a state of neglect and vastly under-resourced prior to the Zambezi Society (ZamSoc) coming in to support and strengthen operations. 

Charara is located just across the border from Zambia’s Chiawa Game Management Area, was supported by the conservation and education-focused Conservation Lower Zambezi, who brought solar power and energy storage to the region in partnership with Empowered by Light.

ZamSoc is using a holistic, sustainable community approach to improving the situation for the Park’s personnel and the communities surrounding the Park. In particular, it works to repair efforts by tobacco companies who encouraged local residents to cut down trees in order to create more tobacco fields. ZamSoc is working with women from the community to grow saplings for reforestation efforts that will create a green buffer zone around the national park. 

Image credit: Courtesy of the  Zambezi Society

To support ZamSoc’s efforts, Empowered by Light will install solar and energy storage for 2 tented ranger camps, providing power for a water pump, lights, radios and cold storage. A concurrent project will bring solar power and energy storage for 4 schools benefitting 1,200 students, a key to building long term economic stability for communities living near the park. 

The solar energy systems for the two tented ranger camps and schools can be done in phases, with an average of $30,000 per installation. These systems can also power an adjacent “business center” at each school, with a computer and phone-charging room used by adults who would pay using mobile banking, with the proceeds used to cover the maintenance and operational costs of the solar systems.

Image credit: Courtesy of Moira Hanes

With tourism down due to COVID-19 related restrictions, supporting parks like the Charara Safari Area and its surrounding communities is more critical than ever, and a relatively small investment can go a long way. Providing reliable, renewable energy to rangers and their communities boosts morale, strengthens communities so people are less likely to resort to poaching, and it makes rangers safer and more effective in their efforts to protect critically endangered species and their habitats. 

​If you are interested in supporting this project ​please use the form to the right to submit an inquiry.

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Your contribution will help ensure the long term success of this important project. Gifts can be made as a tribute to a friend or family member and are tax-deductible for U.S. residents. Please contact us!