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.

  • Kitengela Land Conservation
    Protecting habitat and communities near Kenya’s capital

    Human expansion is threatening wildlife outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

    For many years, local Maasai communities, their livestock, and wildlife comfortably shared the open...

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  • Maasai Steppe Predator-Proof Bomas
    Ending human-carnivore conflict in Tanzania

    Lions face violence from local pastoralists. 

    Lion populations across Africa face many threats to their continued existence. Habitat loss, disease, and violence all...

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  • Lomako Conservation Science Center
    Research and solutions for bonobo populations

    Loss of habitat and a skyrocketing bushmeat trade have taken a toll on bonobo populations.

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s)...

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  • Maasai Olympics
    Replacing lion hunting with competitive sports

    It is Maasai tradition to hunt lions. 

    In Maasai culture, young men who are entering warriorhood traditionally hunted lions to show their physical prowess and...

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  • Mountain Gorilla Rangers
    Gorillas face peril

    Fewer than 900 mountain gorillas exist today.

    Mountain gorillas remain exceedingly endangered and live in only one area—the Virunga Heartland. This landscape spans...

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