BirdWatch Zambia (BWZ) formerly Zambian Ornithological Society (ZOS), is a membership-based environmental NGO established in 1969. BWZ is a member of a global environmental and conservation partnership through its membership of BirdLife International. Currently, BWZ is the only BirdLife International Partner in Zambia.
The objective of BWZ is to promote the study, conservation, and general interest in birds and their habitats in Zambia. The organisation produces a monthly members’ newsletter and conducts monthly bird-walks were members learn about birds and birding in Zambia.
BWZ’s main activities are centred on Zambia’s 42 Important Bird Areas (IBA) and are based on 4 focal areas of:
Species- Take Action on Species, particularly Globally Threatened;
Develop species conservation strategies for the Zambian Barbet, Black-cheeked Lovebird, Wattled Crane, Shoebill and Vultures.
Develop a waterfowl monitoring programme with a focus on behaviour ecology and inter-wetland migration in country and Southern Africa sub-region in the face of climate change/ variability.
Sites: take action for Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Biodiversity monitoring of IBAs – at least 35 IBAs are regularly monitored, some as part of the African Waterfowl Census Programme
Enhanced legal protection for IBAs through collaborative work with ZAWA
Establishment of Site Support Groups (SSGs) in at least 15 IBAs:
Habitats: collect data on habitats and influence land use and other policies impacting birds and their habitats
Bi-annual waterfowl counts at most wetlands across the country as part of the African Waterfowl Census Programme
People: Promote links between biodiversity conservation and rural livelihoods, promote interest in birds, conservation and the environment through public awareness campaigns and educational programmes;
Regular bird walks, members newsletter, and lectures on conservation
Community avian tourism development and capacity enhancement (citizen science)
A school environmental education programme including curriculum development, local (indigenous) bird stories, competitions, and publications
Published Owls want loving schools reader (stories done by school pupils) and Common Birds of Zambia.
BWZ’s activities and programmes are funded from membership fees and contributions as well as project support from the Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF) and the Civil Society Environmental Fund (CSEF). In the past, support has also been received from the Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Wildize Foundation, Jensen Foundation, and the European Commission (EC).
BWZ Executive Committee
BWZ is headed by a democratically elected executive committee consisting of a chairperson and vice, secretary, treasurer, and up-to 7 committee members as well as a technical advisor. The Executive Committee is responsible for BWZ policy and programme development and supervision of the secretariat.
The BWZ secretariat is headed by a Programmes Manager and has a staff compliment of 5 people. It consists of 3 units broadly divided into Science (Biodiversity, Conservation and monitoring programme), Rural development and people (SSG, Community development, livelihoods and conservation) and, Education (environmental education programme, awareness campaigns, and advocacy).
BWZ works in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Tourism – Department of National parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), University of Zambia (UNZA), Worldwide Fund (WWF) as local partners on a number of initiatives as well as the International Climate Fund (ICF) and Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) the major international partners. By virtue of its partnership with BirdLife International, BWZ also works with over 200 other BirdLife Partners across the world.