Fusion project

Published: Sunday 15 December 2002

In a unique experiment, scientists are seeking to blend conventional methods -- gleaned from ancient tribal knowledge -- with modern land management techniques to protect fragile lands bordering Africa's deserts. The project is a part of a us $50 million conservation plan being executed by the United Nations Environment Programme (unep).

"In the past, most of the time we told the local people what to do," said Mohamed Sessay, a programme officer with unep. "Now we will listen to them, sharing our knowledge with them and working as a team," he added. The scientists are hoping to learn new methods of managing the environment, drawing lessons from people in the nine sub-Saharan African countries covered by the project: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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