AWF first launched African Wildlife Capital (AWC) in 2011. In the nearly three years since, AWC has moved quickly and successfully to provide financing to a variety of small and midsize African companies—and, as a result, has been able to provide another way to ensure conservation results on the continent.
Besides Lupani Primary School and Machenje Fishing Lodge, a number of other key AWF projects—in this area that includes Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—are bringing benefits to wildlife and people in the Kazungula landscape.
Longtime AWF followers might remember Nakedi Maputla, the leopard researcher working out of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The intrepid South African recently became our Congo landscape ecologist, where he is working to protect bonobos, forest elephants, and, yes, also leopards.
To hear Craig Sholley tell it, AWF never intended to build schools. Supporting capacity building and opportunities for conservation education, sure. But physically building a school?
In Africa, getting access to a good education isn’t so easy if you live in the bush. Meanwhile, these rural areas are where you find the rich habitats and wildlife.
Through the AWF Conservation Schools (ACS) program, AWF has leveraged education as a way to encourage conservation among rural communities: In exchange for target communities agreeing to take certain conservation actions, AWF is building, or rebuilding, primary schools.