WHERE WILDLIFE PRODUCES MEDICAL DOCTORS

By Emmanuel Koro
Johannesburg, 12 November 2020

In Africa, some communities still don’t have a single person who has graduated as a
medical doctor.


The reasons are many. It could be a lack of funds for brilliant children to further their
education. In some very unfortunate situations, it can just be a case of not having
high-achievers coming from certain communities.


The unthinkable rural benefits from a wildlife hunting revenue-built school in
Zimbabwe’s wildlife-rich Mid-Zambezi Valley where stunningly revealed by a Masoka
hunting community representative, Ishmael Chaukura this month. Right from the
‘belly’ of the poor Masoka Community, popped two medical doctors; from the
hunting-revenue-built Masoka School. Now we know who they are. One of them has
impressively narrated how he personally benefited from learning at a hunting
revenue-built Masoka School.

 

 

 

 

 

For the two medical doctors who are now working in the country’s capital city
Harare and adding great value to badly needed medical services at a time when most
of them are opting to work abroad, it was not just a case of learning at a school built
using wildlife revenue. According to one of the medical doctors, doctor Knowledge
Fero, after completing their education at Masoka School, he and the other medical
doctor further benefited from wildlife hunting revenue that Masoka Community
used to pay their university fees at the University of Zimbabwe.


Masoka’s historic wildlife revenue powered production of medical doctors started
with the graduation of its first medical doctor, Goodluck Fero. No doubt that he must
have inspired the Masoka Community, especially his brother Knowledge Fero who
years later also became a medical doctor.


Apart from producing medical doctors, Masoka school has produced teachers,
professional hunters, accountants, mechanics, electricians, plumbers,
businesspeople and health workers such as nurses who not only have lifted
themselves out of poverty but are also contributing towards the socio-economic
development of Zimbabwe. This seems to be a development wishlist for most
African rural communities, especially those not benefiting from hunting revenue.


“It’s true,” said doctor Knowledge Fero. “I learnt at Masoka, a school that was built
from hunting revenue under the Zimbabwe Communal Areas Programme For
Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). “The Masoka School is a testament for all to see
and change their perceptions towards wildlife conservation.”

He said that his community’s benefits from CAMPFIRE wildlife hunting revenue “are
not only limited to Masoka School and teachers’ houses but include other
infrastructure such as road rehabilitation, widening and bridge construction.”
Doctor Fero said that before the coming of wildlife hunting revenue and
conservation, Masoka was not accessible at all – it was totally cut out from the rest
of the world. The wildlife revenue linked them to the rest of the world with US$30
000 having been used to construct the first-ever road, effectively linking Masoka to
the rest of the country and no doubt the world. Previously villagers had to walk 50
kilometres to the nearest bus stop.


Before they started benefiting from hunting revenue, the remote, hot and arid
Masoka area, near Kanyemba on Zimbabwe’s northeastern border with Zambia and
Mozambique didn’t offer much hope for local residents. They continued to pay for
the costs of living with wildlife as marauding elephants and other wildlife often
ruined their few crops, killed their livestock and often killed their loved ones,
including breadwinners.


Fortunately, the developments brought by hunting revenue dumped this unbearable
suffering into the dustbin of history.


“We have built ourselves this clinic, drilled the boreholes and built the teachers’
houses, Masoka School and more,” said Masoka headman Kanyurira in a recent
interview.


Poaching is also now history as Masoka residents continue to enjoy benefits from
wildlife and other natural resources in the area. The benefits from wildlife have
made them appreciate the need to become actively involved in wildlife and wildlife
habitat conservation.


Other wildlife use benefits enjoyed by Masoka include the employment creation of
the youth through working as rangers and also working with safari operators and the
construction of a clinic.


For Masoka, hunting revenue also brought fun with some of it having been used to
support sporting activities such as soccer. It created skills development and
entrepreneurship opportunities and was used to fund sewing projects for women.
Doctor Knowledge Fero fondly remembers, “At year ends people would get
dividends as bonuses for being part of the conservation initiatives. “The benefits are
many and for those who are opposed to wildlife use and conservation [the animal
rights movement], I think they have no place in modern society because I am a living
testimony of [wildlife hunting revenue benefits]. Even as I was furthering my studies
in medicine, wildlife proceeds would still be channeled towards my educational fees.
I am very grateful.”


A Masoka Community representative, Ishmael Chaukura, said that about 40 schools
were built using wildlife revenue in Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE communities that cover
60% of the country’s total land area. This shows that wildlife has great potential to
continue uniquely making people born into poverty; find a quick escape route out of
it through education. Education is enabling them to contribute not only towards the
socio-economic development of their country Zimbabwe but also for the
improvement of their families.


Some of the graduates from other wildlife hunting revenue-built schools are working
as maths and English teachers in South Africa. They include Rumbidzai Tapfuma from
Chisunga Village in Mbire, Sam Chaukura from Masoka and Samson Assamu also
from Masoka.


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,”
said the late first president of independent South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Chaukura said that only time was going tell, if world leaders who claim
to support socioeconomic developments in Africa “can now allow education brought
by trophy hunting to continue, by totally dismissing animal rights groups that are
opposed to hunting; out of ignorance”.


Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education said in an April 2013 statement,
“Education is the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to
creating a sustainable planet, to preventing needless deaths and illness, and to
fostering peace. And in a knowledge economy, education is the new currency by
which nations maintain economic competitiveness and global prosperity.”


Therefore, one might conclude that only the people who want to harm the African
people and their wildlife can suggest that hunting should be banned and sadly end
the impressive education benefits that hunting revenue is bringing to rural Africa.

Well treed Masoka School where those born in poverty part with it when they qualify as medical doctors and other professionals.

Hunting revenue was also used to build teachers' houses at Masoka School

 

 

 

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