Rural District Council level

What guides RDC financial management?

The overall policy for financial administration by RDCs is set out in the Rural District Councils Act (1988) and the Accounting Handbook for Rural District Councils. These state that:

What should the CAMPFIRE levy be used for?

The RDC levy is set at a maximum of 15% of gross CAMPFIRE revenue. The levy should be paid from the CAMPFIRE Account to the RDCs General Account at the same time revenue is disbursed to producer communities. Once in the General Account the levy can be used for general council activities.

What should the management fee be used for?

The management fee is set at a maximum of 26% of gross revenue. To balance income and costs to the RDCs all appropriate natural resource management activities should be transferred to sub-district levels along with the disbursement of the management fee to the community. The activities and costs incurred by the RDC will depend on the scale and complexity of CAMPFIRE within the district.

The RDCs management fees should not be used for infrastructural development. Even when such projects are proposed to donors, RDCs need to be very careful about their long-term technical viability and who will bear the maintenance costs.

The types of expenditure of RDCs can be broken into:


In Zimbabwe CAMPFIRE producer communities cannot function independently of the RDC. A maximum of 26% of the gross CAMPFIRE revenue should be used to support community-based, natural resource management activities at RDC or community level. RDCs need carefully to consider the cost of their CAMPFIRE activities in relation to the revenue they can retain.


Revenue at Community Level

What are community-based natural resource management activities?

These are all the activities that are necessary to ensure that the producer community is managing its natural resources effectively. Examples of natural resource management activities that have been successfully carried out by producer communities are:

What expenditure can be made at producer community level?

Direct incentives: These are the household dividends paid by communities to individual households. Household incentives are very effective at raising the awareness of CAMPFIRE within an entire community. To pay household dividends means that:

Development projects: These are projects that are either fully or partially funded by revenue earned from CAMPFIRE. Development projects are the most common investment made by communities from CAMPFIRE revenue. Generally these projects are used to enhance existing social infrastructure such as school buildings, clinic buildings, and diptanks. Successful projects are those that have:

As a general rule, communities should avoid undertaking large projects, which take several years to complete, or trying to do too many small projects, never finishing any of them.

Income generating projects: These are secondary activities whose objectives are to earn further revenue, as well as provide a service for the community. Income generating projects are found throughout CAMPFIRE communities.

Experience has shown that many of these projects fail in their objectives. This is because communities and their representative structures (such as a ward wildlife committee) do not have the necessary skills, time or organisation to run business activities.

RDCs and communities are strongly advised to avoid this category of investment. This does not mean that communities should not encourage business activities. If communities want to encourage business then they should consider:

Building and owing the infrastructure (i.e. a shop, a mill, a guest house) which is then leased to a business person. If this option is chosen the management committee must enter into a written and legally binding contract with the business person.

Using CAMPFIRE revenue as a loan for local emergent businesses. If this option is chosen the management committee must assess and minimise the risk to the community of the business person defaulting.

Some projects are managed by Trusts. The advantage of a community trust is that it is legally recognised and enables the community to own the project. The RDCs oversee their development and operation.

General management activities: Producer community management activities include all the activities that are necessary to ensure that the community is able to actively manage its natural resources. For example, meetings, training, quota setting, project planning and resource monitoring.

How should producer communities manage their revenues?

CAMPFIRE was the first development programme that transferred the responsibility for large sums of money to rural communities. To use their CAMPFIRE revenue effectively, communities need to develop financial management systems that are able:

Communities need simple financial systems to achieve the above objectives. Above all else the systems need to encourage those running them to be consistent and regular in the way they do transactions. Note: Details on Financial Management can be found in the WMS Manual entitled Financial Management.

How should producer communities account for their expenditure?

Annual summaries of expenditure and proposed expenditure for the future year should be presented at the producer community’s Annual General Meeting. This will allow members of the community to monitor and comment on how their representatives are using CAMPFIRE revenue. In addition, this information should be given to the RDC for their records.

The amount of revenue received annually will affect a producer community’s attitude to CAMPFIRE. It is important that money is used effectively in order to maximise the incentive for natural resource management. Producer communities must have in place systems for managing and recording all income and expenditure. All financial transactions must be carried out in a transparent manner so to keep the confidence and trust of the community members.