Komungandjera Tjambiru
Komungandjera resides in Orupembe Conservancy in the Kunene region of Namibia and is a founding member of the conservancy's plant committee. Since 2005, she and others have collected resin from commiphora plants native to the area. A local NGO, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation, is helping the women find markets for the resin, which can be used for perfume, essential oils and natural medicine. The commiphora project has now expanded to four conservancies in the region.



In 2008, 319 harvesters collected 5 tons of resin, which was sold to perfume companies in Europe. The top earner made $600 U.S. -- serious money in villages with minimal cash economy. Initially, only women collected the gum. When men saw their profits, a few asked to join in. The women agreed, but in some conservancies they insist that the harvested bags be marked “female” or “male,” since they don’t want to be held responsible for poor-quality resin.

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