Community-led conservation saves wildlife

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Community Conservation Fund – Africa (CCFA) has identified a gap around conservation awareness in communities adjacent to protected areas. Supporting communities through environmental and economic educational programmes could cultivate community leaders who want to change the fate of the planet.

CCFA is committed to identifying rural African communities who have not yet realised their potential in creating their own sustainable economies. They aim to educate and empower local communities to understand that giving back does not have to be a costly undertaking – just a conscious one. CCFA shares the dream of a continent that demonstrates pride and respect for its wildlife.

Diverse cultures and varying levels of education in rural African communities pose a challenge to economic growth outside of city living. This is why CCFA has identified the integral role that these diverse communities play in maintaining a cohesive ecosystem between man and nature.

Together with project partners African Parks, Wilderness Foundation Africa and TUSK, CCFA educates and empowers local communities, enabling them to become leaders in driving sustainable wildlife management systems on the ground. CCFA is involved with a few wildlife management programmes to preserve both the wildlife and the viability of tourism in Africa.

African Parks – Akagera Fisheries Project

Akagera Fisheries Project. Photo: Scott Ramsay

Lake Gishanda just outside the Akagera National Park in Rwanda was completely devoid of fish after the 1994 genocide. A cooperative fisheries project reintroduced fish into the lake and encourages breeding, creating scalable aquaculture opportunities that benefit at least 120 families through income generation, employment and food security. CCFA has invested R1.5 million into the Akagera Fisheries project and will continue to support African Parks until this business becomes fully sustainable.

Wilderness Foundation Africa – Siyazenzela and Addo Community Project

The Wilderness Foundation Africa’s (WFA) Siyazenzela training course drives holistic skills development and conservation-based education interventions for previously disadvantaged youth. The training course focuses on emotional and social wellness, occupational and financial wellness, and physical and environmental wellness.

The Addo Community Project benefits 120 youth between the ages of 18 and 24, enhancing their chances of finding employment. The programme includes a four-week Siyazenzela life skills and employability skills course, as well as an intensive three-day Imbewu Wilderness Trail, which aims to connect the youth to their cultural-environmental heritage. It also draws attention to the healing power of nature for personal and social transformation. Top students attend further training to equip them to become field guides in conservation.

TUSK Trust – The Northern Rangelands Trust

There are currently 39 community conservancies covering 42 000km² of northern and coastal Kenya, home to 320 000 people belonging to 18 different ethnic groups. This territory is also home to diverse wildlife including elephant, lion, giraffe, oryx, hirola antelope and black rhino.

The complex ecosystem offers potential for change, growth and conservation awareness.
The Northern Rangelands Trust supports the management of community-owned land for the benefit of livelihoods, focusing on sustainable enterprise directly or indirectly related to conservation. Key focus points include good governance, wildlife, enterprise security and peace, rangelands and marine.

To date 71 000 people have benefitted from the Conservancy Livelihood Fund. More than 420 youth members were engaged in conservancy initiative awareness, while over 850 were involved in dialogue meetings around key rangeland and peace issues. Women got involved in peace-building training.
On the wildlife front, only three elephants were poached in the Northern Rangelands Trust area,
a decrease of 97% between 2012 and 2018.

 

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