© WWF-Zimbabwe

60 years of action in Africa

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WITH YOUR SUPPORT...

And working alongside our partners, we supported sustainable agricultural practices that improved incomes and food security for about 15,000 people in Zimbabwe – and helped prevent forest destruction.

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TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

Climate change and soil degradation remain a threat to many farmers in Zimbabwe.

The Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) landscape, which encompasses five countries in southern Africa, is the largest land-based conservation area in the world that crosses frontiers. It’s immensely rich in biodiversity, including about half of Africa’s elephant population, but many of its human inhabitants live in poverty. 

 

With poor soils and scarce water, opportunities for smallholder farmers are limited. Producing more food used to mean clearing more areas of forests, bringing people and wildlife into conflict. But we’re helping to change that.

 

With our partners, we’ve provided training in conservation agriculture for more than 1,000 smallholders living alongside protected areas in Zimbabwe. By growing drought-tolerant crops and adopting smarter farming practices, farmers are now producing significantly higher yields on less land. This has increased their incomes and improved food security for around 15,000 people within their communities. 

 

It’s also encouraged them to be advocates for conservation, helping to improve relations between local people and the nearby national parks.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

There’s an urgent need to expand this conservation agriculture approach. Zimbabwe has struggled with drought for several years, and the situation is only likely to get worse as the climate crisis deepens. Conventional farming practices also lead to diminishing yields as soils become degraded.

 

Human-wildlife conflict is also a growing problem, particularly in the buffer zones alongside national parks. Wild animals raiding crops or preying on livestock are a threat to people’s livelihoods and food security, and the issue can undermine support for conservation efforts.

 

We’re determined to continue our efforts to support communities to improve their livelihoods and food security, and to tackle human-wildlife conflict so that people and wildlife can thrive side by side.

 

Together, we can change this

The Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) landscape, which encompasses five countries in southern Africa, is the largest land-based conservation area in the world that crosses frontiers. It’s immensely rich in biodiversity, including about half of Africa’s elephant population, but many of its human inhabitants live in poverty. 

 

With poor soils and scarce water, opportunities for smallholder farmers are limited. Producing more food used to mean clearing more areas of forests, bringing people and wildlife into conflict. But we’re helping to change that.

 

With our partners, we’ve provided training in conservation agriculture for more than 1,000 smallholders living alongside protected areas in Zimbabwe. By growing drought-tolerant crops and adopting smarter farming practices, farmers are now producing significantly higher yields on less land. This has increased their incomes and improved food security for around 15,000 people within their communities. 

 

It’s also encouraged them to be advocates for conservation, helping to improve relations between local people and the nearby national parks.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

There’s an urgent need to expand this conservation agriculture approach. Zimbabwe has struggled with drought for several years, and the situation is only likely to get worse as the climate crisis deepens. Conventional farming practices also lead to diminishing yields as soils become degraded.

 

Human-wildlife conflict is also a growing problem, particularly in the buffer zones alongside national parks. Wild animals raiding crops or preying on livestock are a threat to people’s livelihoods and food security, and the issue can undermine support for conservation efforts.

 

We’re determined to continue our efforts to support communities to improve their livelihoods and food security, and to tackle human-wildlife conflict so that people and wildlife can thrive side by side.

 

Together, we can change this

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

DONATE

BE PART OF OUR JOURNEY

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We’ve put sustainable seafood firmly on the menu in South Africa by influencing consumer choices, business policies and fishing practices.

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Unsustainable fishing has left fish stocks dangerously depleted and the oceans’ natural systems in trouble.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS

When consumers and businesses choose sustainable seafood, it sends a strong message to the fishing industry. Since 2004, we’ve been empowering consumers, suppliers and restaurants to make informed choices through our Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI).  

With easy-to-use tools – including an app, website and pocket guide – we’ve helped raise awareness of the importance of sustainable seafood and shift demand from overexploited species to more responsible choices. SASSI uses a simple traffic light system for different seafood species: red (don’t buy), orange (think twice) and green (best choice).

More than 40% of our target consumers are now using SASSI tools, and the app has been downloaded over 25,000 times. We’ve trained more than 3,500 chefs who are now promoting sustainable seafood within the industry. And we’ve partnered with five of the six major retailers in South Africa, who have made formal commitments to sourcing sustainable seafood.

All this is leading to changes on the water as fisheries seek to raise their standards. The South African hake trawl fishery, for example, has reduced accidental seabird deaths by 99%. And two commercially important species, kingklip and carpenter, have moved from orange to green.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

The ocean provides us with tremendous economic, social and cultural benefits – from supplying food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people, to regulating the climate, to offering inspiration and recreation. But unsustainable fishing remains a threat to the health of the ocean we depend on. Overfishing has left many fish stocks dangerously depleted and damaged the natural systems of the oceans. Globally, more than a third of all fish stocks are overexploited. 

We’ll continue to push for positive changes across the whole seafood supply chain, from the fisheries and seafood suppliers through to restaurants, retailers and consumers. And we’ll also work to help overexploited species recover back to healthy levels.

 

Together, we can change this

When consumers and businesses choose sustainable seafood, it sends a strong message to the fishing industry. Since 2004, we’ve been empowering consumers, suppliers and restaurants to make informed choices through our Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI).  

With easy-to-use tools – including an app, website and pocket guide – we’ve helped raise awareness of the importance of sustainable seafood and shift demand from overexploited species to more responsible choices. SASSI uses a simple traffic light system for different seafood species: red (don’t buy), orange (think twice) and green (best choice).

More than 40% of our target consumers are now using SASSI tools, and the app has been downloaded over 25,000 times. We’ve trained more than 3,500 chefs who are now promoting sustainable seafood within the industry. And we’ve partnered with five of the six major retailers in South Africa, who have made formal commitments to sourcing sustainable seafood.

All this is leading to changes on the water as fisheries seek to raise their standards. The South African hake trawl fishery, for example, has reduced accidental seabird deaths by 99%. And two commercially important species, kingklip and carpenter, have moved from orange to green.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

The ocean provides us with tremendous economic, social and cultural benefits – from supplying food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people, to regulating the climate, to offering inspiration and recreation. But unsustainable fishing remains a threat to the health of the ocean we depend on. Overfishing has left many fish stocks dangerously depleted and damaged the natural systems of the oceans. Globally, more than a third of all fish stocks are overexploited. 

We’ll continue to push for positive changes across the whole seafood supply chain, from the fisheries and seafood suppliers through to restaurants, retailers and consumers. And we’ll also work to help overexploited species recover back to healthy levels.

 

Together, we can change this

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Help build a work where people and nature thrive

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We successfully called on the Zambian government to protect the Luangwa River and halt the development of a damaging hydropower dam.

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80% of freshwater ecosystems in Zambia remain unprotected – more action is needed to protect these vitally important environments for people and wildlife.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

At over 1,000km long, the Luangwa River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in southern Africa and a lifeline for people and wildlife in Zambia. As well as providing water for 25 communities, it supports a wealth of wildlife, including the country’s only black rhinos. The national parks that the Luangwa River flows through are also home to elephants, lions, hippos, leopards, African wild dogs, the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe and over 400 species of birds.

But all this was threatened by plans to build a massive hydropower dam.

So in 2017, WWF and partners petitioned the President of Zambia to protect the Luangwa River. Close to 200,000 people worldwide signed the petition, amplifying the concerns of the 25 communities.

The government listened, and in 2019 it cancelled the dam. Now, we’re in the process of getting the government to formally declare the Luangwa River as a “water resource protection area”. As well as preventing any future dams, this would protect the river from other threats such as unsustainable agriculture and deforestation.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Worldwide, populations of freshwater species have fallen by an average of 83% over the past half-century – a steeper decline than for wildlife on land or in the sea. Only around a third of the world’s rivers remain free-flowing.

In Zambia, just 20% of freshwater ecosystems are protected, leaving the rest at risk of damaging developments that could jeopardize the future of the people and wildlife that depend upon them.

So we’re working with communities, government, civil society organizations, public and private sector partners and research institutions to create a network of science-backed and well-managed water resource protected areas in Zambia. 

We’re also working with government and investors to support the development of alternative sources of renewable energy, like solar power.

 

Together, we can change this

At over 1,000km long, the Luangwa River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in southern Africa and a lifeline for people and wildlife in Zambia. As well as providing water for 25 communities, it supports a wealth of wildlife, including the country’s only black rhinos. The national parks that the Luangwa River flows through are also home to elephants, lions, hippos, leopards, African wild dogs, the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe and over 400 species of birds.

But all this was threatened by plans to build a massive hydropower dam.

So in 2017, WWF and partners petitioned the President of Zambia to protect the Luangwa River. Close to 200,000 people worldwide signed the petition, amplifying the concerns of the 25 communities.

The government listened, and in 2019 it cancelled the dam. Now, we’re in the process of getting the government to formally declare the Luangwa River as a “water resource protection area”. As well as preventing any future dams, this would protect the river from other threats such as unsustainable agriculture and deforestation.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Worldwide, populations of freshwater species have fallen by an average of 83% over the past half-century – a steeper decline than for wildlife on land or in the sea. Only around a third of the world’s rivers remain free-flowing.

In Zambia, just 20% of freshwater ecosystems are protected, leaving the rest at risk of damaging developments that could jeopardize the future of the people and wildlife that depend upon them.

So we’re working with communities, government, civil society organizations, public and private sector partners and research institutions to create a network of science-backed and well-managed water resource protected areas in Zambia. 

We’re also working with government and investors to support the development of alternative sources of renewable energy, like solar power.

 

Together, we can change this

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Help build a work where people and nature thrive

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And thanks to many partners, local communities in Namibia are managing their own natural resources in 87 conservancies covering 20% of the country – benefitting both people and wildlife.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused communities to lose vital tourism income, jeopardizing their ability to manage and protect their wildlife.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve worked with the government, local NGOs and rural communities to set up 87 communal conservancies across Namibia. These put local people in control of managing the land and wildlife on their doorsteps, enabling them to benefit from sustainably managing their natural resources.

Today, conservancies cover 20% of the country and bring in around US$10 million per year in tourism revenue. As well as directly improving local people’s incomes, this covers the costs of conservation work – including employing some 700 community game guards to protect wildlife. 

Because empowered communities benefit from the presence of wildlife, the conservancy programme has contributed to increasing populations of endangered wildlife in Namibia. The country now holds the largest free-roaming populations of black rhinos outside protected areas, and numbers of elephants and lions are also steadily increasing.
  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Living with wildlife comes at a cost. Increasing numbers of wild animals, coupled with the ongoing drought in Namibia, has led to escalating human-wildlife conflict – including livestock being killed by predators, and crops being raided and waterpoints damaged by elephants.

Usually, the benefits outweigh the costs. Tourism revenues fund compensation and insurance schemes as well as projects to reduce potential conflicts. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out tourism income over the past year, undermining conservancies’ ability to manage their wildlife.

We’re providing emergency support to help communities continue with their conservation work and manage human-wildlife conflict. But we’re also looking at ways to reduce their dependence on tourism alone – for example by developing ‘wildlife credits’ schemes, where communities receive performance-based payments for successfully conserving the wildlife that we all value.  

Together, we can change this

Over the past 25 years, we’ve worked with the government, local NGOs and rural communities to set up 87 communal conservancies across Namibia. These put local people in control of managing the land and wildlife on their doorsteps, enabling them to benefit from sustainably managing their natural resources.

Today, conservancies cover 20% of the country and bring in around US$10 million per year in tourism revenue. As well as directly improving local people’s incomes, this covers the costs of conservation work – including employing some 700 community game guards to protect wildlife. 

Because empowered communities benefit from the presence of wildlife, the conservancy programme has contributed to increasing populations of endangered wildlife in Namibia. The country now holds the largest free-roaming populations of black rhinos outside protected areas, and numbers of elephants and lions are also steadily increasing.
  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Living with wildlife comes at a cost. Increasing numbers of wild animals, coupled with the ongoing drought in Namibia, has led to escalating human-wildlife conflict – including livestock being killed by predators, and crops being raided and waterpoints damaged by elephants.

Usually, the benefits outweigh the costs. Tourism revenues fund compensation and insurance schemes as well as projects to reduce potential conflicts. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out tourism income over the past year, undermining conservancies’ ability to manage their wildlife.

We’re providing emergency support to help communities continue with their conservation work and manage human-wildlife conflict. But we’re also looking at ways to reduce their dependence on tourism alone – for example by developing ‘wildlife credits’ schemes, where communities receive performance-based payments for successfully conserving the wildlife that we all value.  

Together, we can change this

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

DONATE

BE PART OF OUR JOURNEY

SUBSCRIBE NOW
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We have worked with partners and communities to ensure Indigenous people like the Maasai in Kenya lead conservation efforts and areas.

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Many Indigenous peoples and local communities around the world continue to be denied their rightful say and role in the future of their ancestral territories.

TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THIS

The Maasai people have lived on the plains of Kenya and Tanzania for generations, herding their cattle with the seasons and celebrating their distinctive culture. Living in close harmony with nature, they are the guardians of some of the most spectacular wildlife habitats on the planet – a land where elephants and lions still roam free, and where vast herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles follow their ancient migration routes.

But the Maasai’s traditional way of life is changing. Human pressures such as unsustainable development are growing. Droughts  and unexpected environmental disasters are increasing as a result of climate change. People and wildlife are being brought into closer contact. And outdated conservation approaches that seek to exclude people from wildlife reserves have also caused conflict. 

With our partners, we’ve worked with communities in Kenya to create new community conserved areas – where communities are rightfully in charge of managing their land, wildlife and resources. In parallel, we are supporting them to improve habitat management and animal husbandry practices and strengthen their livelihoods, including through nature-based tourism. 

These areas are already showing positive results. Wildlife numbers are increasing and so have tourist revenues until the recent global pandemic lockdown – proving that both people and nature can thrive together here, as they always have.  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Indigenous peoples and local communities are the guardians of many of the world’s most important natural places. These “territories of life” contain about 40% of the land that’s still relatively unharmed by human activities, including some of the richest wildlife habitats as well as forests that store vast amounts of carbon.

Safeguarding these areas is vital for tackling the crises of nature loss and climate change. It also contributes to realizing our vision of a world where people and nature thrive and maintaining the rich cultural heritage of those who live there. Yet, they are under ever growing pressure from outside threats like unsustainable agriculture, logging, mining and infrastructure development.

In far too many cases, the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities to decide the future of their ancestral lands aren’t recognized. They may face threats and violence, and their voices are often ignored or marginalized. Conservation initiatives, too, have sometimes failed to take account of their potential impacts on communities. 

We believe that conservation and human rights go hand in hand. Around the world, we’re supporting Indigenous peoples and local communities to continue managing their lands sustainably – and to ensure their voices are heard and their rights are recognized. But we know there are still many complex challenges to be overcome. 

Together, we can change this

The Maasai people have lived on the plains of Kenya and Tanzania for generations, herding their cattle with the seasons and celebrating their distinctive culture. Living in close harmony with nature, they are the guardians of some of the most spectacular wildlife habitats on the planet – a land where elephants and lions still roam free, and where vast herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles follow their ancient migration routes.

But the Maasai’s traditional way of life is changing. Human pressures such as unsustainable development are growing. Droughts  and unexpected environmental disasters are increasing as a result of climate change. People and wildlife are being brought into closer contact. And outdated conservation approaches that seek to exclude people from wildlife reserves have also caused conflict. 

With our partners, we’ve worked with communities in Kenya to create new community conserved areas – where communities are rightfully in charge of managing their land, wildlife and resources. In parallel, we are supporting them to improve habitat management and animal husbandry practices and strengthen their livelihoods, including through nature-based tourism. 

These areas are already showing positive results. Wildlife numbers are increasing and so have tourist revenues until the recent global pandemic lockdown – proving that both people and nature can thrive together here, as they always have.  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Indigenous peoples and local communities are the guardians of many of the world’s most important natural places. These “territories of life” contain about 40% of the land that’s still relatively unharmed by human activities, including some of the richest wildlife habitats as well as forests that store vast amounts of carbon.

Safeguarding these areas is vital for tackling the crises of nature loss and climate change. It also contributes to realizing our vision of a world where people and nature thrive and maintaining the rich cultural heritage of those who live there. Yet, they are under ever growing pressure from outside threats like unsustainable agriculture, logging, mining and infrastructure development.

In far too many cases, the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities to decide the future of their ancestral lands aren’t recognized. They may face threats and violence, and their voices are often ignored or marginalized. Conservation initiatives, too, have sometimes failed to take account of their potential impacts on communities. 

We believe that conservation and human rights go hand in hand. Around the world, we’re supporting Indigenous peoples and local communities to continue managing their lands sustainably – and to ensure their voices are heard and their rights are recognized. But we know there are still many complex challenges to be overcome. 

Together, we can change this

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

DONATE

BE PART OF OUR JOURNEY

SUBSCRIBE NOW
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And with communities and governments in East and Central Africa, mountain gorilla numbers have increased by 25% in 10 years.

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Wildlife populations around the world* have seen an alarming 68% decline on average in the past five decades.

TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

Mountain gorillas are found in only two places – the Virunga mountains, where the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda meet, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Just over 1,000 remain in the wild but the outlook for these gentle giants looks much brighter than it did a few decades ago.

In 1991, we set up the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) with our partners at the African Wildlife Foundation and Flora and Fauna International. And by working together with local communities and the governments of the three countries, we’ve managed to reverse the decline in mountain gorilla numbers.

Regular censuses show both populations steadily increasing. The Virunga population now numbers over 600 individuals, up from 480 in 2010, while the Bwindi population grew from around 400 in 2010 to 459 at the latest count in 2019.   

Working with local people is at the heart of our gorilla conservation work – and we’re supporting communities with alternative sources of fuel, water and livelihoods to take pressure off the gorilla’s forest habitat.  Gorilla tourism, although currently impacted by the global pandemic lockdown,  provides local people with a strong incentive to protect the species – providing them with an important source of jobs and income, as well as revenue for national governments. 

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Mountain gorillas are the only great apes whose numbers are increasing. Populations of chimpanzees, bonobos, orang-utans and the other gorilla sub-species are all declining as a result of the actions of their close relative: Homo sapiens.

It’s the same story across all groups of species. The Living Planet Index, which tracks trends in almost 21,000 populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes, shows an average decline of 68% since 1970. In other words, we’ve lost almost two-thirds of the world’s wildlife in less than half a century.

Dedicated conservation initiatives, like the IGCP’s efforts to save mountain gorillas, can make a difference for particular species and populations, and remain a core part of our work. But to save the world’s wildlife, we need to address the underlying threats. 

Habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, climate change, invasive species and pollution are the main causes of species decline – and they’re all a result of human actions. In particular, the way we produce and consume food and energy have a huge impact.

As the human population increases, the populations the other species we share the planet with will continue to fall unless we transform our relationship with nature.

Together, we can change this.


*almost 21,000 monitored populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish

Mountain gorillas are found in only two places – the Virunga mountains, where the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda meet, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Just over 1,000 remain in the wild but the outlook for these gentle giants looks much brighter than it did a few decades ago.

In 1991, we set up the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) with our partners at the African Wildlife Foundation and Flora and Fauna International. And by working together with local communities and the governments of the three countries, we’ve managed to reverse the decline in mountain gorilla numbers.

Regular censuses show both populations steadily increasing. The Virunga population now numbers over 600 individuals, up from 480 in 2010, while the Bwindi population grew from around 400 in 2010 to 459 at the latest count in 2019.   

Working with local people is at the heart of our gorilla conservation work – and we’re supporting communities with alternative sources of fuel, water and livelihoods to take pressure off the gorilla’s forest habitat.  Gorilla tourism, although currently impacted by the global pandemic lockdown,  provides local people with a strong incentive to protect the species – providing them with an important source of jobs and income, as well as revenue for national governments. 

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Mountain gorillas are the only great apes whose numbers are increasing. Populations of chimpanzees, bonobos, orang-utans and the other gorilla sub-species are all declining as a result of the actions of their close relative: Homo sapiens.

It’s the same story across all groups of species. The Living Planet Index, which tracks trends in almost 21,000 populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes, shows an average decline of 68% since 1970. In other words, we’ve lost almost two-thirds of the world’s wildlife in less than half a century.

Dedicated conservation initiatives, like the IGCP’s efforts to save mountain gorillas, can make a difference for particular species and populations, and remain a core part of our work. But to save the world’s wildlife, we need to address the underlying threats. 

Habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, climate change, invasive species and pollution are the main causes of species decline – and they’re all a result of human actions. In particular, the way we produce and consume food and energy have a huge impact.

As the human population increases, the populations the other species we share the planet with will continue to fall unless we transform our relationship with nature.

Together, we can change this.


*almost 21,000 monitored populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

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Together with local communities around the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas in the Central African Republic, we’ve established an ecotourism programme that both helps critically endangered western lowland gorillas and boosts livelihoods.

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Poaching, the illicit bushmeat trade, unsustainable logging and recurring political instability remain a threat to the local communities, who rely on nature.

TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

Bayanga in the Central African Republic is an extraordinary place. Part of the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area complex in the Congo Basin rainforest, the area is home to incredible wildlife including forest elephants and critically endangered western lowland gorillas.

For over 20 years, we’ve been running a programme in the area to enable gorilla tourism and research. This provides a major source of income and employment to local people, as well as helping to fund conservation and the management of the protected area.

Since 1998, the programme has successfully habituated several gorilla families – helping them to become comfortable with the presence of people. This work owes much to the exceptional tracking skills and unparalleled knowledge of the forest of the native Ba'Aka people, who still practise their traditional lifestyle in this area.

Among the habituated gorillas that tourists come to visit are the Makumba group. The growing family comprises a silverback, two adult females, one blackback (adolescent male), a pair of 5-year-old twins, an infant born in February 2019 and a new baby born in October 2020.

 

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

Poaching, illicit bushmeat trade, unsustainable logging and political instability continue to threaten the forests of Dzanga-Sangha and the people and wildlife who depend on them. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic halted tourism in Dzanga-Sangha, resulting in an income cut for local communities.

As one of the most active NGOs in the region, we’ve helped build hospitals, a radio station, schools, a campus and a research station. We’ve also rebuilt an eco-tourism lodge, helped set up a human rights centre and provide about 700 scholarships to Ba’Aka students every year. We also run a mobile health clinic which provides free treatment to up to 10,000 people a year.

We know that human well-being and the protection of the rainforest are inextricably linked – conservation is only successful when people thrive too.

 

Together, we can change this.

Bayanga in the Central African Republic is an extraordinary place. Part of the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area complex in the Congo Basin rainforest, the area is home to incredible wildlife including forest elephants and critically endangered western lowland gorillas.

For over 20 years, we’ve been running a programme in the area to enable gorilla tourism and research. This provides a major source of income and employment to local people, as well as helping to fund conservation and the management of the protected area.

Since 1998, the programme has successfully habituated several gorilla families – helping them to become comfortable with the presence of people. This work owes much to the exceptional tracking skills and unparalleled knowledge of the forest of the native Ba'Aka people, who still practise their traditional lifestyle in this area.

Among the habituated gorillas that tourists come to visit are the Makumba group. The growing family comprises a silverback, two adult females, one blackback (adolescent male), a pair of 5-year-old twins, an infant born in February 2019 and a new baby born in October 2020.

 

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

Poaching, illicit bushmeat trade, unsustainable logging and political instability continue to threaten the forests of Dzanga-Sangha and the people and wildlife who depend on them. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic halted tourism in Dzanga-Sangha, resulting in an income cut for local communities.

As one of the most active NGOs in the region, we’ve helped build hospitals, a radio station, schools, a campus and a research station. We’ve also rebuilt an eco-tourism lodge, helped set up a human rights centre and provide about 700 scholarships to Ba’Aka students every year. We also run a mobile health clinic which provides free treatment to up to 10,000 people a year.

We know that human well-being and the protection of the rainforest are inextricably linked – conservation is only successful when people thrive too.

 

Together, we can change this.

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

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And local communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12,000 hectares of forest have been planted outside the Virunga National Park – offering a sustainable and legal alternative to taking charcoal from the protected area.

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Too much charcoal is still coming from Virunga – we need to double these fuelwood plantations in the next five years.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

The city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has grown rapidly in recent decades, and the vast majority of its population relies on charcoal for cooking. The surrounding natural forests have almost disappeared, but one source of wood still remains: the forests of Virunga National Park, one of Africa’s most important wildlife havens and home to critically endangered mountain gorillas.

In the mid-2000s, 80% of charcoal consumed in Goma originated from Virunga. To stop the destruction, we launched our EcoMakala project with the aim of producing a sustainable supply of charcoal (makala in Swahili) from planted trees.

Working with local farmers, we’ve helped plant 20 million fast-growing trees in small woodlots around Virunga National Park, covering an area of around 12,000 hectares. As well as taking the pressure off natural forest, charcoal from the fuelwood plantations provides an income for local smallholders.  

At the same time, we’ve also introduced energy-efficient cooking stoves that can halve a typical household’s charcoal consumption. Tens of thousands of families are now using these improved stoves.   

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Despite the progress we’ve seen, illegal fuelwood harvesting remains a threat to Virunga and its wildlife. There’s not yet enough wood from plantations to supply the 2 million inhabitants of Goma and surrounding areas, the vast majority of whom depend on charcoal for their energy needs.

We’re aiming to increase the area of fuelwood plantations to at least 20,000 hectares – though we know this will be challenging in a densely populated area where local people also need land to grow food. At the same time, more families must gain access to energy-efficient stoves.

By reducing charcoal demand while increasing the sustainable supply, we can save Virunga’s forests and the wildlife they support – before it’s too late.  

Together, we can change this

The city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has grown rapidly in recent decades, and the vast majority of its population relies on charcoal for cooking. The surrounding natural forests have almost disappeared, but one source of wood still remains: the forests of Virunga National Park, one of Africa’s most important wildlife havens and home to critically endangered mountain gorillas.

In the mid-2000s, 80% of charcoal consumed in Goma originated from Virunga. To stop the destruction, we launched our EcoMakala project with the aim of producing a sustainable supply of charcoal (makala in Swahili) from planted trees.

Working with local farmers, we’ve helped plant 20 million fast-growing trees in small woodlots around Virunga National Park, covering an area of around 12,000 hectares. As well as taking the pressure off natural forest, charcoal from the fuelwood plantations provides an income for local smallholders.  

At the same time, we’ve also introduced energy-efficient cooking stoves that can halve a typical household’s charcoal consumption. Tens of thousands of families are now using these improved stoves.   

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Despite the progress we’ve seen, illegal fuelwood harvesting remains a threat to Virunga and its wildlife. There’s not yet enough wood from plantations to supply the 2 million inhabitants of Goma and surrounding areas, the vast majority of whom depend on charcoal for their energy needs.

We’re aiming to increase the area of fuelwood plantations to at least 20,000 hectares – though we know this will be challenging in a densely populated area where local people also need land to grow food. At the same time, more families must gain access to energy-efficient stoves.

By reducing charcoal demand while increasing the sustainable supply, we can save Virunga’s forests and the wildlife they support – before it’s too late.  

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And together with partners and Madagascar’s ministry for education, we have set up 750 environmental clubs for young people since 1992.

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We need even more youth engagement to keep protecting the unique biodiversity of Madagascar from deforestation and climate change.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

The island of Madagascar is incredibly rich in biodiversity. It’s home to 5% of all the world’s plant and animal species, and a staggering 80% of them – including more than 100 species of lemurs – aren’t found anywhere else on Earth.

Madagascar is a young nation – half the population is under 20 – so it’s vital that young people understand the importance of nature and are inspired to protect their unique heritage. That’s why, since 1987, we’ve been concentrating on environmental education in the country. 

Back in 1991 we launched the magazine Vintsy (from the Malagasy word for kingfisher), which is read and loved by young people across the country. There are now 750 Vintsy clubs right across the island, giving them the guidance and inspiration they need to become active eco-ambassadors in their communities. More than 41,000 young Malagasies are active members of the Vintsy movement, raising awareness for the environment, planting trees, organizing beach clean-ups and educating others.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Despite many positive developments, Madagascar’s natural riches are under severe threat. The inheritance of future generations risks being squandered through illegal and unsustainable logging, deforestation, wildlife trafficking and overfishing – fuelled by corruption and poor governance. The loss of habitats for lemurs, tortoises, geckos and other amazing species is undermining the country’s thriving ecotourism industry. And the island and its biodiversity are also being hard hit by climate change.

We’re continuing to work with young people, communities and grassroots organizations so local people can defend their environment from threats like deforestation, overexploitation and climate change, and benefit from taking care of their natural resources. We’re also working with the national government to improve environmental policies and regulations.  

Together, we can change this

The island of Madagascar is incredibly rich in biodiversity. It’s home to 5% of all the world’s plant and animal species, and a staggering 80% of them – including more than 100 species of lemurs – aren’t found anywhere else on Earth.

Madagascar is a young nation – half the population is under 20 – so it’s vital that young people understand the importance of nature and are inspired to protect their unique heritage. That’s why, since 1987, we’ve been concentrating on environmental education in the country. 

Back in 1991 we launched the magazine Vintsy (from the Malagasy word for kingfisher), which is read and loved by young people across the country. There are now 750 Vintsy clubs right across the island, giving them the guidance and inspiration they need to become active eco-ambassadors in their communities. More than 41,000 young Malagasies are active members of the Vintsy movement, raising awareness for the environment, planting trees, organizing beach clean-ups and educating others.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Despite many positive developments, Madagascar’s natural riches are under severe threat. The inheritance of future generations risks being squandered through illegal and unsustainable logging, deforestation, wildlife trafficking and overfishing – fuelled by corruption and poor governance. The loss of habitats for lemurs, tortoises, geckos and other amazing species is undermining the country’s thriving ecotourism industry. And the island and its biodiversity are also being hard hit by climate change.

We’re continuing to work with young people, communities and grassroots organizations so local people can defend their environment from threats like deforestation, overexploitation and climate change, and benefit from taking care of their natural resources. We’re also working with the national government to improve environmental policies and regulations.  

Together, we can change this

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We have helped 21 wetlands in Madagascar gain recognition as sites of international importance – committing the government to safeguard these vital wildernesses for people and wildlife.

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There are still many biodiversity-rich wetlands around the world that must be safeguarded.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

The island of Madagascar is rich in unique wildlife – including in its wetlands, which support nearly 100 endemic fish species and over 300 types of amphibian.

Thanks in part to support from WWF, the country has designated 21 sites with a combined area of more than 2 million hectares as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. When a wetland is designated under the convention, the government commits to protecting its natural characteristics and making sure it’s managed sustainably.

We’ve been actively involved in getting several of the Ramsar sites listed, beginning in 2012 with Lakes Ambondro and Sirave – a wildlife-rich complex of lakes, marshes, rivers and mangroves that provides shelter, breeding and nesting areas to 30 species of aquatic birds as well as Nile crocodiles. 

Working closely with the Malagasy government and local communities, WWF manages three of Madagascar’s Ramsar Sites. These include the mangroves of Tsiribihina – a 47,000-hectare area that’s home to 44 species of waterbirds, as well as flying foxes, lemurs and hawksbill turtles.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Designating an area as a wetland of international importance isn’t the end of the story – it’s essential that Ramsar sites continue to be actively managed, and that requires political will, continued funding and active involvement from local communities.

But even more urgent is the need to safeguard wetlands that don’t yet have any sort of official protection – an estimated 1.6% of the world’s wetland area is lost every year.

We hope Madagascar will inspire other countries, in the southwest Indian Ocean region and beyond, to take bold action to protect these priceless wildernesses.

 

Together, we can change this

The island of Madagascar is rich in unique wildlife – including in its wetlands, which support nearly 100 endemic fish species and over 300 types of amphibian.

Thanks in part to support from WWF, the country has designated 21 sites with a combined area of more than 2 million hectares as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. When a wetland is designated under the convention, the government commits to protecting its natural characteristics and making sure it’s managed sustainably.

We’ve been actively involved in getting several of the Ramsar sites listed, beginning in 2012 with Lakes Ambondro and Sirave – a wildlife-rich complex of lakes, marshes, rivers and mangroves that provides shelter, breeding and nesting areas to 30 species of aquatic birds as well as Nile crocodiles. 

Working closely with the Malagasy government and local communities, WWF manages three of Madagascar’s Ramsar Sites. These include the mangroves of Tsiribihina – a 47,000-hectare area that’s home to 44 species of waterbirds, as well as flying foxes, lemurs and hawksbill turtles.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Designating an area as a wetland of international importance isn’t the end of the story – it’s essential that Ramsar sites continue to be actively managed, and that requires political will, continued funding and active involvement from local communities.

But even more urgent is the need to safeguard wetlands that don’t yet have any sort of official protection – an estimated 1.6% of the world’s wetland area is lost every year.

We hope Madagascar will inspire other countries, in the southwest Indian Ocean region and beyond, to take bold action to protect these priceless wildernesses.

 

Together, we can change this

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We worked with the government of Cameroon and partners to create and manage 11 protected areas covering over 2 million hectares.

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These protected areas – so vital for Indigenous peoples and local communities – face increasing threats from agricultural expansion, poaching and the illegal ivory trade.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS.

The Congo Basin is the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, covering an area roughly the size of Europe. These forests harbour incredible wildlife from rare butterflies to great apes, provide food, water and shelter for over 75 million people, and store a huge amount of carbon. But during the 1990s, more than 9 million hectares were destroyed as a result of illegal and unsustainable logging.

In 1999, we helped bring together the heads of state from six Congo Basin countries in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. This led to the Yaoundé Declaration, in which the leaders promised to cooperate to conserve the forests.

The declaration has led to action on the ground. In Cameroon, more than a fifth of the forest area is now officially protected. We’ve supported the government of Cameroon and partners to create and manage 11 protected areas covering well over 2 million hectares. Forest management has also been strengthened, with more than 340,000 hectares in Cameroon certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as being managed sustainably.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Forests in Cameroon and across the Congo Basin face increasing pressure from agricultural expansion and logging, as well as poaching and illegal wildlife trade. We’re determined to keep Africa’s green heart beating. 

Conservation can only be successful with the leadership of local people. So we support the efforts of  Indigenous peoples and local communities to uphold their rights – ensuring they can access natural resources within forests and benefit equitably from their sustainable use.

We’re also focusing on protecting biodiversity hotspots and forests with a high conservation value, and promoting good agricultural practices – particularly to ensure the growth of commodities like palm oil and cocoa doesn’t threaten vital forests.

 

Together, we can change this

The Congo Basin is the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, covering an area roughly the size of Europe. These forests harbour incredible wildlife from rare butterflies to great apes, provide food, water and shelter for over 75 million people, and store a huge amount of carbon. But during the 1990s, more than 9 million hectares were destroyed as a result of illegal and unsustainable logging.

In 1999, we helped bring together the heads of state from six Congo Basin countries in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. This led to the Yaoundé Declaration, in which the leaders promised to cooperate to conserve the forests.

The declaration has led to action on the ground. In Cameroon, more than a fifth of the forest area is now officially protected. We’ve supported the government of Cameroon and partners to create and manage 11 protected areas covering well over 2 million hectares. Forest management has also been strengthened, with more than 340,000 hectares in Cameroon certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as being managed sustainably.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

Forests in Cameroon and across the Congo Basin face increasing pressure from agricultural expansion and logging, as well as poaching and illegal wildlife trade. We’re determined to keep Africa’s green heart beating. 

Conservation can only be successful with the leadership of local people. So we support the efforts of  Indigenous peoples and local communities to uphold their rights – ensuring they can access natural resources within forests and benefit equitably from their sustainable use.

We’re also focusing on protecting biodiversity hotspots and forests with a high conservation value, and promoting good agricultural practices – particularly to ensure the growth of commodities like palm oil and cocoa doesn’t threaten vital forests.

 

Together, we can change this

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Elephant populations in Tanzania have bounced back by 40% in five years after strong efforts to tackle poaching.

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The threat of wildlife crime hasn’t gone away, and human-elephant conflict is increasing.

TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THIS

Tanzania is one of the strongholds of the African elephant. But between 2009 and 2014 a surge in industrial-scale poaching wiped out some 60% of the population, around 60,000 elephants.

In response to the poaching crisis in Africa, we launched a global campaign to push wildlife crime up the international agenda. Today, with support from WWF and many others, countries are doing far more to tackle the issue. And it’s making a difference. 

Tanzania is a case in point. The country has focused on going after the organized criminal syndicates behind poaching and wildlife trafficking. It’s arrested more than 20 high-level “kingpins” – including Chinese businesswoman Yang Fenlang, known as the “Ivory Queen”, who recently lost an appeal against her conviction. 

As a result, poaching has declined dramatically, and elephants are making a comeback. According to government figures, the population increased from 43,000 in 2014 to 60,000 in 2019 – a rise of 40%.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

While Tanzania is no longer the epicentre of elephant poaching and ivory trafficking, the threat hasn’t gone away. At a local level, limited resources and capacity are making it difficult to protect elephants and other wildlife from poachers.

There’s also the growing issue of human-elephant conflict. As the human population grows and natural habitats shrink, people and elephants are pushed closer together. Elephants coming into villages and raiding crops can damage people’s livelihoods and property and cause injury or even death. This in turn can lead to people killing elephants in retaliation and opposing conservation and anti-poaching efforts.

We’re working with communities to put in place solutions to the problem, so that people and elephants can thrive together.

 

Together, we can change this

Tanzania is one of the strongholds of the African elephant. But between 2009 and 2014 a surge in industrial-scale poaching wiped out some 60% of the population, around 60,000 elephants.

In response to the poaching crisis in Africa, we launched a global campaign to push wildlife crime up the international agenda. Today, with support from WWF and many others, countries are doing far more to tackle the issue. And it’s making a difference. 

Tanzania is a case in point. The country has focused on going after the organized criminal syndicates behind poaching and wildlife trafficking. It’s arrested more than 20 high-level “kingpins” – including Chinese businesswoman Yang Fenlang, known as the “Ivory Queen”, who recently lost an appeal against her conviction. 

As a result, poaching has declined dramatically, and elephants are making a comeback. According to government figures, the population increased from 43,000 in 2014 to 60,000 in 2019 – a rise of 40%.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

While Tanzania is no longer the epicentre of elephant poaching and ivory trafficking, the threat hasn’t gone away. At a local level, limited resources and capacity are making it difficult to protect elephants and other wildlife from poachers.

There’s also the growing issue of human-elephant conflict. As the human population grows and natural habitats shrink, people and elephants are pushed closer together. Elephants coming into villages and raiding crops can damage people’s livelihoods and property and cause injury or even death. This in turn can lead to people killing elephants in retaliation and opposing conservation and anti-poaching efforts.

We’re working with communities to put in place solutions to the problem, so that people and elephants can thrive together.

 

Together, we can change this

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And by working closely with the government, businesses and civil society, we’ve made sustainable palm oil production the norm in Gabon.

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We need to maintain this commitment as the industry grows, and ensure that local communities benefit.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THIS

Forests cover almost nine-tenths of Gabon, and contain some of the richest biodiversity in Africa. While the country is committed to preserving this forest heritage, it also wants to grow its economy – and is seeking to become one of Africa’s main palm oil producers. 

There is a huge demand for this vegetable oil around the world for use in food, personal care products and as a biofuel. It’s vital that the palm oil industry develops in a way that doesn’t threaten Gabon’s forests and wildlife – which is why we’ve been promoting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. RSPO-certified palm oil plantations must minimize their impact on the environment and respect the rights of workers and local communities. 

Together with Gabonese civil society organizations, the private sector, researchers and the government, we’ve adapted the RSPO standard for the Gabonese context, ensuring it protects all forests that are important for nature and the climate, while recognizing the rights of local people to develop their land.

Today, Gabon is the first and, so far, the only country to adopt the RSPO standard as its national policy. Almost all palm oil concessions in the country are RSPO certified or in the process of being certified.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

It’s important to make sure the palm oil industry in Gabon continues to develop sustainably – and a key way to do that is to enable local communities to monitor palm oil operations.

In Ngounié province, we’ve helped set up a platform where civil society organizations and local communities bordering oil palm concessions can have their say. It will enable them to ensure palm oil companies are meeting their environmental, social and human rights obligations – which include commitments to support community development and create opportunities for smallholders.

We aim to create similar platforms in all palm oil growing areas across the country. And we’ll continue to work with civil society, government, private sector and financial partners to ensure Gabon’s palm oil industry benefits people without damaging nature.

 

Together, we can change this

Forests cover almost nine-tenths of Gabon, and contain some of the richest biodiversity in Africa. While the country is committed to preserving this forest heritage, it also wants to grow its economy – and is seeking to become one of Africa’s main palm oil producers. 

There is a huge demand for this vegetable oil around the world for use in food, personal care products and as a biofuel. It’s vital that the palm oil industry develops in a way that doesn’t threaten Gabon’s forests and wildlife – which is why we’ve been promoting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. RSPO-certified palm oil plantations must minimize their impact on the environment and respect the rights of workers and local communities. 

Together with Gabonese civil society organizations, the private sector, researchers and the government, we’ve adapted the RSPO standard for the Gabonese context, ensuring it protects all forests that are important for nature and the climate, while recognizing the rights of local people to develop their land.

Today, Gabon is the first and, so far, the only country to adopt the RSPO standard as its national policy. Almost all palm oil concessions in the country are RSPO certified or in the process of being certified.

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

 

It’s important to make sure the palm oil industry in Gabon continues to develop sustainably – and a key way to do that is to enable local communities to monitor palm oil operations.

In Ngounié province, we’ve helped set up a platform where civil society organizations and local communities bordering oil palm concessions can have their say. It will enable them to ensure palm oil companies are meeting their environmental, social and human rights obligations – which include commitments to support community development and create opportunities for smallholders.

We aim to create similar platforms in all palm oil growing areas across the country. And we’ll continue to work with civil society, government, private sector and financial partners to ensure Gabon’s palm oil industry benefits people without damaging nature.

 

Together, we can change this

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We’ve provided solar electricity to hundreds of households as well as schools, clinics and businesses in Uganda, in partnership with the government – helping to benefit people, nature and the climate.

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A majority of Uganda’s population still depend on other fuels for lighting, leading to health problems, CO2 emissions and conflicts over natural resources.

TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THIS

Renewable energy isn’t only vital to combating climate change – it can also be a life-changer for communities who’ve never had access to reliable electricity.

In Uganda, we’ve worked with the government to bring solar power to hundreds of households and businesses in remote rural districts around Queen Elizabeth National Park – a vital area for conservation of lions, elephants and many other species. Solar power means local people no longer need to harvest firewood, preventing damage to the environment and incidents of human-wildlife conflict. 

As well as reducing energy costs and improving people’s quality of life, solar power is transforming health and education services.

The Hamukungu Health Centre, which serves over 50,000 people, is now able to offer a 24-hour service for the first time. It now has cold storage for vaccines, which has helped reduce infant mortality, and can carry out blood tests, which are vital for HIV treatment.

Young people at Kitabu Primary School are now getting to use equipment like computers and printers, can keep studying even after daylight fails, and even board at the school – all of which is giving them better educational opportunities

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

Many communities across Uganda – and other parts of Africa – still lack access to reliable electricity. For 62% of Uganda’s population, lighting is provided by burning kerosene, which is not only expensive, but also causes health problems and carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, a growing population’s demand for charcoal is putting ever increasing pressure on Uganda’s forests. Conflict with wildlife is also a growing problem for communities living alongside protected areas.

We know that conservation and community development go hand in hand. We’re working to scale up renewable energy solutions across Uganda, and elsewhere – benefiting people, nature and the climate. 

Together, we can change this

Renewable energy isn’t only vital to combating climate change – it can also be a life-changer for communities who’ve never had access to reliable electricity.

In Uganda, we’ve worked with the government to bring solar power to hundreds of households and businesses in remote rural districts around Queen Elizabeth National Park – a vital area for conservation of lions, elephants and many other species. Solar power means local people no longer need to harvest firewood, preventing damage to the environment and incidents of human-wildlife conflict. 

As well as reducing energy costs and improving people’s quality of life, solar power is transforming health and education services.

The Hamukungu Health Centre, which serves over 50,000 people, is now able to offer a 24-hour service for the first time. It now has cold storage for vaccines, which has helped reduce infant mortality, and can carry out blood tests, which are vital for HIV treatment.

Young people at Kitabu Primary School are now getting to use equipment like computers and printers, can keep studying even after daylight fails, and even board at the school – all of which is giving them better educational opportunities

  

THE CHALLENGE WE STILL FACE… 

Many communities across Uganda – and other parts of Africa – still lack access to reliable electricity. For 62% of Uganda’s population, lighting is provided by burning kerosene, which is not only expensive, but also causes health problems and carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, a growing population’s demand for charcoal is putting ever increasing pressure on Uganda’s forests. Conflict with wildlife is also a growing problem for communities living alongside protected areas.

We know that conservation and community development go hand in hand. We’re working to scale up renewable energy solutions across Uganda, and elsewhere – benefiting people, nature and the climate. 

Together, we can change this

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

DONATE

BE PART OF OUR JOURNEY

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Support our work

Help build a work where people and nature thrive

DONATE

BE PART OF OUR JOURNEY

SUBSCRIBE NOW
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