The project forms part of a rural development plan for the village industries. The project areas have been declared disadvantaged areas and according to the KwaZulu-Natal’s Premier, it should receive preference for development purposes. The dung paper making site benefits the tourism industry, as well as assists the surrounding impoverished communities in need of income.
The paper making workshops are established at The Wildlife Spirit, part of the Pongola Poort Nature Reserve at Nkosi Myeni NsindeTraditional Authority. The reserve supports good numbers of elephants and rhinos. It is the general policy of wildlife reserves to engage with and encourage the surrounding communities to become involved in the economic opportunities. This ensures that, as long as communities are earning an income from the protected areas, they will support the existence of wildlife there. Popular tourist activities already available in the area include accommodation in ethnic homes, elephant and rhino watching, fishing, indigenous food providers, canoeing, hiking trails, story-telling, cultural dancing, geology and gemstone trails. Paper-making is a new asset added to this list.
Projects within the protected areas are focused on raising the profile of, and encouraging, eco-tourism in the area. Without sufficient visitors (and their corresponding financial contribution), the wildlife reserves will no longer be able to operate and the land will likely be turned back to subsistence farming. Residents will, therefore, not tolerate the protection of the biodiversity, which will ultimately lead to the demise of our animal heritage.