From Collaboration to Conservation: Insights From the Okavango Delta, Botswana Academic Article uri icon


  • This article summarizes 10 years of ethnographic research in the Okavango Delta and describes how local communities are collaborating with government, tour operators, and conservationists to manage wildlife through the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) program. CBNRM channels social and economic benefits to communities in exchange for their participation in wildlife conservation. Benefits include secured access to land, institutional support, employment, and share of profits from wildlife tourism. By some accounts, CBNRM has effectively achieved co-management and wildlife conservation; by others, the program has achieved only rhetorical success. We highlight collaboration between social actors at various levels-community, government, tourism industry, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)-as one indicator of success. We then consider the steps that need to be followed to ensure that collaboration leads to long-term conservation. Experiences from this case may provide insights for co-management and conservation in other places where the fate of biodiversity and local livelihoods are entwined. 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Mbaiwa, J. E., Stronza, A., & Kreuter, U.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Mbaiwa, Joseph E||Stronza, Amanda||Kreuter, Urs

publication date

  • February 2011