As our programs expand and teams grow in number, African People & Wildlife (APW) remains committed to creating a world “where Africa’s people and wildlife coexist and thrive in vibrant, healthy landscapes.” Looking back at 2022, we see our core values at work - acting dynamically in the face of change, collaborating with partners and communities, innovating based on experience and science, and engaging and empowering those around us.
Safe Lands for Lions
Land development, agriculture, and human activities at park boundaries spark conflict with wildlife like lions and other big cats. This year, APW signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) that kicks off a partnership to bring human-wildlife coexistence programs to five parks, including Mikumu and Mkomazi National Parks, and the surrounding rangelands.
Buzzing with Business
The continued success of the Women’s Beekeeping Initiative is a shining example of win-win solutions for people and nature – and how conservation can give decision-making power to rural women. Ongoing opportunities to learn business and beekeeping skills have strengthened this busy network of 104 women’s groups across Northern Tanzania. 2022 included a leap from Mama Asali honey sales to value-added products using wildlife-friendly beeswax such as skin care, soaps, and candles. Prosperity for people and nature!
Keeping Community in Conservation
Partnering with communities is the foundation of conservation strategies that stand the test of time. There has been a growing call for ACTIVE™ Community Engagement strategies from environmental professionals and partners this year, and we are thankful to have Alais Morindat at the helm! This fall, Alais and APW team members conducted onsite ACTIVE™ training at Noloholo for partners from the Wild Bird Trust as part of our support for the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project in Angola.
A Return to Smiles
After two years without in-person Youth Environmental Education programs at Noloholo due to COVID-19, students and APW staff enjoyed the burst of energy this year. According to Revocatus Magayane, our Environmental Education and ACTIVE™ Senior Program Officer, “In-person youth environmental education is a sustainable approach to engaging children in conservation as they learn by seeing and doing and experiencing nature. It's the best way to connect the future of community livelihoods and conservation.”
Going Big on Wildlife Data
Year after year, we see the power of equipping community partners to collect and use scientific data. In addition to building Community Technology Hubs – places where local people can access real-time wildlife information – 2022 included an evolution of our big cat and human-wildlife conflict data collection efforts. Expanding APW programs to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area requires collecting and sharing data on elephants that keep them safe from poaching, preserve their habitat, and reduce human-elephant conflicts.
Widening Warrior Reach
This year, our network of Warriors for Wildlife (W4W) grew to reach 55 villages with a total of 107 W4W or human-wildlife conflict officers! With 44 new officers in the Greater Lake Natron landscape and 10 newly trained officers in the Engaruka Valley, the capacity for community-based conservation is growing across Northern Tanzania. Rapid response to wildlife conflicts continues to save the lives of big cats and livestock, especially as they share habitat and resources in times of drought.
Respect is an essential part in our approach to conservation and deeply connected to human rights protection. Our Sustainable Rangelands team supported more than 40 villages this year as local people made decisions about the management of their livestock, water, and 800,000+ acres of community grasslands - an increasingly challenging task in light of climate change. From training pastoralists on rangeland health and data collection to holding feedback meetings on project progress, our programs make an impact because of community engagement and relationships.
Looking ahead to 2023, our approach to holistic conservation will continue to find the balance for people and nature - whether we are working in Tanzania’s national parks or outside of protected areas on communal lands. No matter the location, we are grateful for the common ground we build with partners, supporters, neighbors, officials, and those who see the connection between healthy ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and prosperous communities.