The Project's ultimate beneficiaries are composed of pastoral, agricultural and agro-pastoral communities, particularly vulnerable groups including women whose livelihoods largely depend on the sustainable management of land and other natural resources conflicting with wildlife. About 350 towns and villages totaling close to one million inhabitants are found within 40 km of the protected areas in the WAP Complex. The largest riparian population is found in Benin (close to 700,000 persons), while the smallest is found in Niger (less than 100,000 persons). Burkina Faso has about 200,000 persons around the complex; 40 communities/villages around the Niokolo Complex, totalling close to 200,000 pastoralists in Senegal, Guinea and transhumant herders from Mali, about 600,000 pastoralists from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria and 350,000 pastoralists in the Karamajong .
In African drylands, women's traditional roles and knowledge in natural resource management and food security are critical for livelihoods. Promotion of alternative livelihoods, which is key to the proposed Project, is mainly focused on developing small scale livestock and non-livestock related enterprises targeting women and other vulnerable groups.
The role of traditional/local institutions such as councils of elders and other community-based organisations (CBOs), including local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), e.g. pastoral associations, farmers, etc., in conflict management and sustainable natural resources will be strengthened through capacity building and support to peace building and conflict resolution initiatives.
Issues to be addressed by this action fall within two or more line Ministries. Collaboration across existing governance (administrative) systems which is necessary for the implementation of the project will strengthen the integration of environmental concerns into the development agenda both at local, national and regional levels. It is envisaged that the capacity of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will also be strengthened to effectively implement projects at country and regional level.