Coloured gemstone producer Gemfields has partnered with National Geographic to showcase vital projects supported by the company in Africa that benefit both communities and conservation.
Two short films created through the collaboration, follow National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Shannon Wild as she explores the communities and environments benefitting from projects supported by Gemfields.
The first film, based in Zambia’s Kafue National Park, highlights the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP), which both studies large carnivores and addresses threats to them and their ecosystem, to assist their onward survival.
The Greater Kafue ecosystem is the largest protected area in Zambia and the second largest National Park in Africa. Kafue is home to large numbers of lion, cheetah and wild dogs and studies of their population, interaction with human population and the ecosystem are key parts of ZCP’s work.
“The Zambian Carnivore Programme monitors Kafue’s large carnivores using advanced satellite tracking collars” explains Shannon. “By fitting just one lioness with a collar, the team can extrapolate information on the whole pride. It’s opened up a whole new window on their world.”
Gemfields has aided this work through contributions funding the purchase and deployment of satellite tracking collars. The satellite collars are far more efficient than the old VHF collars they replaced and ZCP aims to visit every collared animal once a week.
The second film explores Mozambican community projects which are in the immediate vicinity of Gemfields’ ruby mine in Montepuez. The film takes an inside look into three of Gemfields’ projects including a primary school, a mobile health clinic and a farming association.
Before Gemfields introduced formalised mining operations, the remote Montepuez community had little or no access to healthcare. Now, two mobile health clinics in Mozambique serve six remote villages of around 10,000 people.
Gemfields has also created nine farming associations (two of which are run by women) in Mozambique, providing training in agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, pest control and conservation farming as well as teaching the community how to manage these projects autonomously.
The projects are designed to enable individuals to foster a sustainable livelihood. At the heart of the community is education. Gemfields has established four schools in Mozambique with a combined capacity of 2,000 students.