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.

  • Esilalei Cultural Boma Mohammed Hashim
    Esilalei Women’s Cultural Boma
    Empowering women while encouraging conservation

    Poverty and conservation both are issues in Tanzania. 

    Tanzania, like many parts of Africa, still struggles with poverty and issues of economic empowerment. Women...

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  • Simien Mountains Community Members
    Simien Mountains Cultural Tourism
    Optimizing tourism revenue to support local communities

    Communities need help balancing their needs and the needs of their environment.

    Ethiopia’s highlands are among the most densely populated agricultural areas in Africa. Agriculture is...

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  • Ewaso Lions Ewaso Lions
    Ewaso Lions
    Monitoring lions while raising community awareness

    Kenya’s lions could be extinct in the next two decades.

    Habitat loss and conflict with humans are the prime culprits of the drastic reduction in lion populations...

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  • Kolo Hills John Salehe
    Kolo Hills REDD+
    Food security in the face of climate change in Central Tanzania

    Drastic measures must be taken to mitigate climate change in Africa. 

    In Africa, achieving long-term conservation requires the often-competing demands of wildlife...

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  • African Wildlife Foundation Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project
    Chyulu Hills REDD+
    Protecting forests, water and more in southern Kenya

    In Africa, deforestation and climate change give real cause for concern.

    The African continent is anticipated to experience more than its fair share of climate change’s negative impacts....

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