When the Manda Wilderness Community Trust was initially set up in the region, an initial analysis of the community leadership structures and a plan to set up a suitable system to represent each village was undertaken. In partnership with an experienced local NGO called UCA (União de Camponeses e Associações de Lichinga - Union of Local Associations), each of the sixteen villages involved in the Manda Wilderness region were trained in natural resource management and initiated in their relevant roles to ensure cohesive community based committees. Following this, a committee was elected in each participating village, consisting of ten to twelve individuals with a minimum representation of 30 percent women.
These committees monitor and control the use of natural resources within the community and surrounding regions, prevent hunting, and monitor usage and development projects. Each committee received training sessions and advice from UCA on how to achieve these goals on behalf of their own communities.
Village committees advocate on behalf of their communities and decide which projects are most urgent. The committees and/or village members then approach the Manda Wilderness Community Trust and ask for support. Specific projects that are feasible are then selected and a contract is drawn up. Community collaboration and contribution are encouraged and become crucial to the process.
The Trust helps with materials that are beyond the communities' reach and assist in covering part of the cost of using skilled builders and carpenters. Future development projects are dictated by the needs and wishes of the communities and villagers themselves. In general, most villages are now asking for boreholes, health posts, association run projects and micro-loans to start up small businesses.