The Mashi Tourism Hub, situated in the heart of the Caprivi region, received the official nod from Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah last week. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, together with the Mashi Traditional Chief Tembwe Mayuni, unveiled the Tourism Hub plaque at the environmentally friendly designed craft centre on Thursday.
The tourism hub, situated at the small town of Kongola, took root in 2996 when seven women from the area, with the help of the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) launched a craft selling enterprise.
Today, the Mashi craft centre has attracted 325 conservancy members, 306 of whom are women, who sell their crafts here. To date a quarter of a million Namibian dollars have been generated for the conservancies.
Chief Tembwe on Thursday said the hub is a central point from which local women are able to act as natural resource monitors who help integrate the community into the community based natural resource management (CBNRM) programme and to work with recources such as palm, bark and thatch.
“This hub, combined with our park’s and conservancies will attract tourism into our area for the benefit of the people and our country”.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the tourism hub has been constructed with the support from the World Bank through the ICEMA project, the Strengthening Protected Areas project (SPAN) and local conservation NGO’s”.
The tourism information centre will serve as a source of additional income for the conservancies in Mudumu North and Mudumu South and their members.
In addition to the anticipated income, the community will benefit through the creation of casual and permanent employment opportunities, the exhibition of local culture and the sale of locally made craft.
“This centre will serve the whole tourism industry, as information to be given will not be limited to some areas”.