Rehabilitation and Regeneration of Degraded Arid and Semi-Arid Rangelands by Motivated Food Secure Communities

Facilitate empowered smallholder rural communities in degraded arid and semi-arid rangelands of Africa and internationally

Photo of Osmond Mugweni
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Osmond Mugweni Email: Mobile: +263776519456 Skype: osmond.mugweni

Initiative's representative date of birth

12th December 1954

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Zimbabwe

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?

The Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute Holistic Land and Livestock Management is being implemented in Ward 5 Mufiri, Tongogara Rural District Council, Shurugwi Rural District, Midlands Province Zimbabwe

Website or social media url(s)

Date Started

May 2013

Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

“Growing up in traditional Shona woodlands, biodiversity was the norm. I am sadened seeing the demise of the ecosystem due to land degradation. Project Sustainable Rangelands Management sees the blooming savannah grasslands in Zimbabwe and in all semi-arid rangelands of the world.” Osmond Mugweni

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Land degradation and loss of biodiversity in arid and semi-arid rangelands by inappropriate management practices. Resolving this problem results in reversing desertification and produces the following outputs. Project Outputs Restores healthy grasslands Rehabilitates degraded rangelands Restores natural water sources Recharges underground water Reverses desertification Improves herd management Increases herd productivity Increases food & nutrition security

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Methodology/Approach Use of a research and development action model. Its participatory approach and skills transfer on managing arid and semi-arid rangelands. Activities are based on the Major Programme Components: Rangelands Management (planned grazing and combined herding) Livestock Management (improved productivity and bull schemes) Community Development (empowerment, capacity building, support for organizational and management structures). Its activities primarily contribute to Goal Number 15 (LIFE ON LAND: PROTECT, RESTORE AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE USE OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS, SUSTAINABLY MANAGE FORESTS, COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, AND HALT AND REVERSE LAND DEGRADATION AND HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS SINCE HUMANS AND OTHER ANIMALS RELY ON OTHER FORMS OF LIFE ON LAND FOR FOOD) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Page 3 of 10 Aside from Goal 15, NBI also addresses the following sustainable goals: • Goal 1: NO POVERTY: END POVERTY IN ALL ITS FORMS EVERYWHERE • Goal 2: ZERO HUNGER: END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE • Goal 8: DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: PROMOTE SUSTAINED. Also Goals 13, 5 and 4

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The Outreach Experiential Learning Cycle used for the HLLM Programme An ‘Experiential Learning Approach’ through the ‘Community Action Cycle’ is adopted to implement the Community Outreach Programme. The Experiential Learning Approach is a process which facilitators use with individuals and outreach community groups involved in learning and/or promoting collective action through community mobilization. The learning approach guides the learner through four phases of the experiential learning process namely Experience, Process, Generalize and Apply. Experiential learning involves learning from experience. The experiential approach starts from where the participants are and allows them to manage and share responsibility.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Collaborative partnership is key to NBI Zimbabwe, USA, An Ashoka Fellow since 2003 Key funding Partner is Tudor Trust UK since May 2013. • Zimbabwe: Implementing partners are NBI, TSURO and CELUCT • Costa Rica: Earth University and Earth Charter International • USA: NBF- Washington DC 501C Not for Profit, and University TBA The NBI experiential curriculum is guided by the Earth Charter four pillars of Respect and Care for the Community of life; Ecological Integrity; Social and Economic Justice and Democracy, Nonviolence and PEACE.(Earth Charter International - 2005).. The Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute Training and Development Centre of Excellence provides public access to a first-class experiential education and the tools of discovery. This has resulted in a culture of ambition and leadership, where physical scale is matched by bold goals and achievements.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Intensification of community empowerment on the use of grazing plans by herding clusters in the ward was enforced. The waterpoint coupled with improved grass saved the community cattle from dying in the severe drought that was experienced during the period. Other areas without the programme lost cattle from the drought. Also, the cattle produced more milk and manure. The manure was then used to fertilize the vegetable garden at the water point. Thanks to Tudor Grants the Mufiri community cattle were saved from the devastating drought. Locally, NBI received an award entitled Communicator of the year 2013 from the Banga Chieftainship in Shurugwi District, Zimbabwe. The citation is, “For his efforts to communicate directly from Ward Level to Village Level on the Holistic Land and Livestock Management Program in Ward 5 Shurugwi District, Zimbabwe. He is a real Community Empower and Capacity Builder”. Internationally, in 2014 NBI received Teach A Man to Fish Pan-African Award Winners

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

The next Five Year (2020 to 2025) Strategic Objectives are: To have 5 wards developing and being well documented as working examples of HLLM in the Runde-Tokwe-Mukosi catchment of Zimbabwe. To develop examples of HLLM in communities in arid/semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe and other countries (Kenya, Uganda, South Africa & Zimbabwe), by working in collaboration with partners. To increase the awareness of the potential of HLLM in arid and semi-arid environments globally To develop NBI as a well-governed and learning institution able to mobilize resources for its programmes and operations Finally, we desire to set up a rural university on sustainable semi-arid and arid rangelands management and implemented at the Institute.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

The NBI experiential curriculum is guided by the Earth Charter four pillars of Respect and Care for the The community of life; Ecological Integrity; Social and Economic Justice and Democracy, Nonviolence and PEACE.(Earth Charter International - 2005).. The Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute Training and Development Centre of Excellence provides public access to a first-class experiential education and the tools of discovery. This has resulted in a culture of ambition and leadership, where the physical scale is matched by bold goals and achievements. At NBI Zimbabwe our events and learning experiences are modelled on the changes we want to see in higher education and in our lives.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Currently, the Institute outreach work is being funded by a Tudor Trust Grant up to 2025 complemented by income from the production at the Institute. The long-term plan is to transform the Institute from a Non-profit to a Compound that develops the Institute to a University whose income will fund the outreach work and receive grant funding as well. NBI transfers knowledge and management skills to communities. The HLLM Outreach programme has clearly demonstrated this. The NBI-Zimbabwe planned and achieved the following Project Outputs on Land Management, Livestock Management and Community empowerment 1) MEMBERSHIP FEES START WHEN SATELLITE COMMUNITIES COME ON BOARD. EACH COMMUNITY PAYS US$ 200 ANNUALLY.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Please refer to the website link: Recruit permanent Staff: Executive Director, Operations Director, 6 Programmes Officers, Institute Manager, Accountant, Finance and Admin Officer, Programme Secretary and Programme Driver.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email from Chubaka Muchiga Fabrice of Ashoka of Jan 24, 2020, 12:30 PM

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far


Yes, absolutely! - 25%

Yes/maybe - 25%

Maybe - 50%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 25%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 50%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 25%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 25%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think so. - 0%

3- Maybe. - 75%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 75%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 25%

1- No. - 0%


5 -Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 25%

1- No. - 0%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 25%

3- Maybe. - 25%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 50%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 100%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 0%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 50%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 100%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 50%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 100%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 33.3%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 66.7%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 33.3%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 33.3%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 66.7%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 33.3%

Other option - 33.3%

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Attachments (3)

BOOK Njeremoto.pdf

Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute history, governance, principles and results

2 Revised NBI Experiantial Curriculum Feb 2019 Final.pdf

The concept, principles and practice that guide the Holistic Land and Livestock Management approach used by Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute

3 Njeremot Biodiversity Institute Organization Profile..pdf

The vision, mission, values and operational modalities of Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Cynthia Nyamutsambah

Given the challenges that Zimbabwe has faced in terms of food insecurity, this program is timely and contributes to national and international efforts to improve food security in Zimbabwe through the elimination of hunger and malnutrition. The program has a unique approach to empowering marginalised communities to address land degradation and improve agricultural productivity . This is an important aspect of supporting poor rural communities to transition from emergency humanitarian aid to long-term economic stability, agricultural recovery and livelihood development.

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