Are NRMP funded Programs meeting funder and institutional objectives: Perspective from South African National Parks.

Are NRMP funded Programs meeting funder and institutional objectives: Perspective from South African National Parks.
Nicholas Cole
South African National Parks, Biodiversity and Social Projects unit, NMMU Saasveld campus, George

With NRMP funding allocation to SANParks increasing from cR25.5 million in 2002/2003 to cR216.6 million in 2012/2013 the relationship between the funder [NRMP] and SANParks can be considered healthy and mutually beneficial. However, as in any relationship between two parties one has to ask if each individual’s expectations and objectives as well as their joint expectations and objectives are being met.  Further, as simple as the relationship may look on the surface, the marriage between NRMP and SANParks has spawned many children some of whom may seem illegitimate to either party.   To top this throw in the lovers and hangers –on to be found gravitating around any well- healed family and you have a soapy in the making.

The bread winner [NRMP] expects poverty alleviation to be a key focus area whereas the bed partner [SANParks] looks towards bio-diversity as a key focal area, well at least institutionally so. SANParks  have,  seemingly, proven  themselves capable  of  implementing funding  received  from NRMP [keeping the bed warm] and in doing so manage to produce employment opportunities for communities adjacent to and beyond National Park boundaries [keeping the children happy].

However are these employment opportunities really alleviating poverty, do training and social interventions up-skill people to the point where they can be considered as skilled and does this all contribute to biodiversity conservation?  Without doubt strides are being made in realizing partners expectations and objectives, poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation [two of the children], but could a higher state of euphoria be reached in this relationship?