NGO spotlight: African Wildlife Foundation




Africa is home to certain species that are facing extinction, including mountain gorillas, Grevy’s zebras, black rhinos and African wild dog. The endangerment of these creatures is due to causes such as overexploitation, habitat endangerment and poaching. The organisation has chosen to take a stance against animal endangerment by putting safeguards in place like training rangers, using sniffer dogs and empowering communities in order to ensure all of Africa’s wildlife survives.

African wildlife foundation (AWF) has recognised that the local people of the surrounding areas are critical in order to protect wildlife. As sharing the land, often alongside each other, can lead to struggles for resources and deforestation. If the local people and wildlife learn to cohabit—inside and outside of protected areas—the future for all will thrive.

AWF is working to protect over 80 species of animals. They use the aforementioned 4 solutions to aid in the conservation of the animals. The use of the sniper dogs to help prevent poaching, here they provide funding to organisations such as Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), who are trained to detect illegal animal products such as ivory and in some cases sniffer dogs are able to locate poachers.

They work with the community directly to make sure that the members get direct benefits from the conservation efforts and create a positive impact for all. AWF has helped communities create conservancies or wildlife management areas where locals agree to protect the natural resources.

AWF has been able to work to implement community projects that benefit both people and wildlife. Now that they have a better understanding of specific community needs they are able to introduce projects like rainwater tanks, which are deterring people from going into forests to collect water and causing deforestation.

Above all the AWF has been able to apply research to all of their work. They are putting research to the test in all of their work. Some efforts include putting GPS collars on elephants in northern Tanzania so they are able to identify which land must be conserved. They also attach radio collars to lions in order to track population trends, seasonal movement patterns, and mortality.

Through working with the local communities African Wildlife Foundation provides a variety of solutions to encourage economic development to better serve those the locals who help protect the wildlife. They provide new enterprise opportunities to conserve and sustain livelihoods.

Enterprises are organised by AWF in exchange for a commitment from communities to help save the land and wildlife. Communities and brokers are able to put up money toward an enterprise, such as a high-end eco-lodge, and AWF ensures that both parties contribute in their own way toward the lodge’s success. Communities are able to own the land and the lodge and often get a percentage of lodge revenues, while experienced private operators are responsible for running the lodge. Operators also pay communities for leasing the land as well as employ locals. AWF is involved in various other successful conservation enterprises ranging from cultural centres and trails to beekeeping projects to women’s handicraft associations and more. In addition AWF also trains farmers in sustainable agricultural practices and provide market access.