As a response to the uncontrollable livestock theft that plagued Notugre and neighbouring villages in 2020, the communities formed the Greater Madiope Farmers Association (GMFA). This association was formed to create community patrol units that generated a presence in the community lands to combat the major theft of Motswana livestock. Motswana livestock was, and still is, being stolen and driven into Zimbabwe where it is then kraaled and sold within the country. The government has no compensation scheme for stolen livestock so the community came together to protect their animals and their livelihoods.
On this initiative the GMFA works with Mephato, a citizen manned and run project under the guidance of the Botswana Police. The Mephato men working for the project are paid through a poverty eradication program called Ipelegeng under the ministry of local government and each represent their home villages. The Mephato have grown from three units to 13 units, covering thousands of hectors of land all the way from Mothlabaneng to Lepokole hills. These men are anti-poaching and anti-livestock theft rangers and work under the GMFA (but are paid by the government poverty relief fund). TCT was approached by the GMFA with a request for a donation for patrol equipment in the form of tents to secure bases in their patrol areas, shelter from the elements and to ensure mobility so the patrols can be quickly relocated to rustling hot spots when needed. The Trustees approved the donation of 13 large tents and five smaller tents, but on ordering the tents with the supplier of choice, Jolly Bushman, it very generously donated the five smaller tents.
The handover ceremony took place on 26 May 2023 and already the Mephato men have operated as a great support to Notugre through reporting poaching activity, incursions to the back line fence and assisting with human-wildlife conflict issues particularly regarding the lions of Tuli.