African People & Wildlife’s Top 10 Highlights from 2019

African People & Wildlife
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This year was the most successful and impactful to date for African People & Wildlife. Our programs created record numbers of wins for people and wildlife, we shared our community-driven conservation model across Africa and beyond, and stories about our work reached new audiences around the world.

Please scroll below to read about our top 10 highlights from 2019.

1. Celebrating a conservation milestone with 1,000 Living Walls

In January, APW announced the construction of our 1,000th Living Wall, an important landmark for human-wildlife coexistence in northern Tanzania. Today, more than 1,100 Living Walls create peace across five conservation landscapes, protecting approximately 150 lions each year, uplifting livelihoods, and adding more than 184,000 trees to the landscape.

Community engagement framework document cover

2. Sharing our model of community-driven conservation through a groundbreaking publication

This fall, APW was proud to release Community, Conservation and Collaboration: A Framework for Success in partnership with National Geographic. This major achievement began last year when we hosted The Future of Community Engagement in Conservation workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. An essential guide to community engagement, the framework was created to help organizations across Africa and beyond to achieve sustainable conservation outcomes in partnership with local people. As a companion piece, our team also created an interactive story map to demonstrate how best practices referenced in the framework are being implemented on the ground in Africa. To date, news of the framework's publication has reached media outlets in more than 20 African countries.

Dashboard showing the number of big cat observations

3. Revolutionizing conservation impact with ArcGIS Solutions for Protected Area Management

Through a new partnership with Esri, APW began using integrated data collection apps and analysis tools in 2019 to seamlessly visualize our results and impact. The Solutions enable us to strengthen our programmatic outcomes by identifying gaps in conservation and development and visualizing landscape-level trends, ultimately helping us to maintain a personalized relationship with government, NGOs, businesses, philanthropic partners, and local communities.

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4. Expanding the Sustainable Rangelands Initiative to preserve vital grasslands for communities and nature

With people and wildlife sharing 92 percent of northern Tanzania’s available habitat, community-driven natural resource management has never been more important. In 2019, APW expanded our successful Sustainable Rangelands Initiative to 16 new communities, bringing the total number of participating villages to 20. Together, we are preserving critical grasslands across 585,639 acres.

Cover shot of the AP article

5. Bringing the story of coexistence to new audiences

In November, APW was honored to be included in the in-depth “What Can Be Saved?” series from the Associated Press. Including both a multi-media story and mini-documentary film, this powerful narrative about lion hunters turned lion protectors has been shared around the world by more than 18 media outlets.

6. Featuring women at the forefront of conservation

As an organization that values the empowerment and support of women in conservation, APW was thrilled to have two of our female team members highlighted in prominent media stories this year. In October, our co-founder and CEO, Laly Lichtenfeld, was honored to be named a “Woman of Impact” by the National Geographic Society and featured among some of the world’s leading female visionaries in Women of Impact: Changing the World, a one-hour documentary aired on the National Geographic Channel. In November, APW Monitoring and Evaluation Program Assistant Yamat Lengai was recognized as an Unsung Conservation Hero in Wild Aid Africa's #BeThePride campaign to protect Tanzania's lions. In 2020, we look forward to advancing the careers of more women through our Women in Conservation internship.

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Disney Enterprises

7. Joining together with conservationists across Africa to Protect the Pride

This summer, APW teamed up with Disney, the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), and other partners to bring lions back through the Protect the Pride global initiative. Created in honor of Disney’s groundbreaking remake of The Lion King, Protect the Pride aims to double the number of lions in the wild by 2050. As a grantee of LRF and the Disney Conservation Fund, APW is proud to take part in this critical effort to protect and revitalize lion populations and the habitats they depend on

Planning the women's center with local input on the building layout

8. Breaking ground on a new Women’s Enterprise Center

In 2019, we began to deepen our engagement with members of our Women’s Beekeeping Initiative. In the community of Loibor Siret, local women are actively creating their own enterprise center, which will include a honey processing and packaging facility. This development is a key step toward the wider production and distribution of our Mama Asali honey brand, which can provide sustainable income for more than 1,260 women. In November, the women broke ground on the two-acre center, which is scheduled to open in 2020.

Baby elephant

9. Conserving vulnerable and endangered wildlife species across six conservation landscapes

In 2019, we continued to protect wildlife—including seven vulnerable or endangered large mammal species—and preserve critical habitats in one of the world's greatest biodiversity hotspots. Our Northern Tanzania Big Cats Conservation Initiative experienced many successes this year: Warriors for Wildlife responded to 426 human-wildlife conflict events, prevented 11 retaliatory killings of big cats, recorded 281 large carnivore sightings, and recovered 1,778 lost livestock.

Staff planning meeting at Noloholo

10. Planning strategically for 2020 and beyond

As we approach our 15th anniversary in 2020, the APW team is engaged in an intensive strategic planning process in partnership with Impact by Design, Inc. Since our inception in 2005, we have achieved incredible results for people and wildlife in northern Tanzania. Now, we plan to build on this momentum by defining a vision for the future that is both big and bold. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of this process with you as we create our roadmap and embark on this exciting next chapter!

These achievements would not have been possible without the dedication of our amazing supporters and partners. Together, we can make an even bigger impact in 2020.