People rely on, and sometimes unsustainably use, the continent’s natural resources to prosper.
People everywhere want to do more than survive. They want to thrive and prosper. But the opportunities are not always available. Rural Africa is home to some of the most marginalized groups of people — not only do they lack access to quality education and healthcare, they depend largely on the natural environment for their income. Whether they are small-scale subsistence farmers or traditional pastoralists, many of these communities are neighbors to wildlife species in conservation areas.
Their settlements overlap with critical wildlife dispersal zones in some cases, and the close proximity increases the risk of human-wildlife conflict, habitat degradation, and illegal hunting activities. As these ecosystems fall under increasing demand from growing human pressure, sustainable conservation practices can be an economic driver that is used to protect biodiversity and address the livelihood needs of Africa’s people.
Limited access to knowledge and skills that promote environmentally friendly livelihoods.
Communities that reap substantial socioeconomic benefits from the wildlife and nearby habitat, naturally become conservation advocates.
However, poor access to education and alternative practices in rural landscapes maintains a cycle of poverty and unsustainable land-use in critical biodiversity areas. Without managing natural resources responsibly, the decline of Africa’s species and lands will continue, hindering people from realizing long-term prosperity.