Community Empowerment | African Wildlife Foundation

A continent on the rise, one community at a time

Community Empowerment

Together with the people of Africa, we are creating change.

African Wildlife Foundation is improving the lives of local people, helping their communities, and saving wildlife simultaneously. We work directly with communities to understand the obstacles they face and provide solutions specific to their needs. These solutions provide jobs, conservation training, educational opportunities, and, ultimately, the ability for people to better their own lives.

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Challenges

The people, the land, and the wildlife are undergoing a tough balancing act.

People want to do more than survive—they want to thrive and prosper. But, the opportunities aren’t always available. Africans living in rural areas often lack access to good schools. They survive off the land, cutting down trees in critical wildlife habitats for fuel and engaging in slash-and-burn agriculture for food.

Many locals also see wildlife as a threat to their current livelihoods, eating crops and attacking livestock. As a result, people oftentimes have no sympathy for wildlife. Instead, wildlife is seen as a nuisance and even competition for resources. 

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Solutions

Empowering communities improves livelihoods and saves wildlife.

AWF works with communities where they are and provides solutions based on what they need:

  • Provide ranger and scout training—and jobs—to protect wildlife.

    In Southern Zambia’s Sekute community, AWF trained locals to work as Sekute Trust Community Scouts. By providing this training, AWF is creating new job opportunities, educating people on conservation and involving the community in anti-poaching efforts. This has resulted in the confiscation of ivory, illegal fishing nets, and assault rifles from poachers.

    We also developed ranger groups in the Lomako-Yokokala Faunal Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Working with DRC park authorities, we’re training local eco-guards to help patrol the protected bonobo sanctuary.

  • Give those with the interest the means to pursue conservation.

    Conservation is still not a go-to career path for many Africans, but there are plenty who have the passion and the talent for it. AWF encourages these dedicated individuals by giving them the means to continue their conservation education and training. We provide scholarships, have established wildlife management institutions, and even offer on-the-job training to ensure Africans have the training to manage and protect their natural resources into the future.

  • Improve lives of the future with education.

    By building conservation schools throughout the priority landscapes we work in, we are educating young Africans on conservation and how it will not only improve their lives, but the lives of Africa’s wildlife.

Projects

Explore some of our community empowerment projects and see how AWF helps local communities improve their livelihoods while protecting wildlife.

  • Lupani Primary School
    Education for conservation in Zambia

    Education remains one of the major challenges facing Africa.

    In the Sekute community of Zambia, students often had to walk miles a day to attend school. Classes were...

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  • Student Gorilla Trek
    Facilitating conservation education through interaction with wildlife

    Wildlife permits are too expensive for native Rwandans. 

    Despite living so close to the magnificent mountain gorilla, many Rwandans lack the ability to fully engage...

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  • Nasaruni Savings and Credit Cooperative
    Lending and saving in Kenya.

    Access to financial credit remains a roadblock to economic opportunities. 

    Pastoralist communities in East Africa rely heavily on livestock as a means to accumulate...

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  • Manyara Ranch IT Lab
    Connecting local communities to the World Wide Web

    Information accessibility is low in rural communities.

    Though computers may be a part of everyday life for many students in Western countries, computers—and the...

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  • The Kuku Project
    Selling eggs in the Samburu Heartland

    Economic conditions often affect women more harshly. 

    Despite its rapid economic development, many of the communities in Kenya face the same financial and empowerment...

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