Helping rural Africans to successfully manage their land and wildlife populations while also achieving significant benefits is complicated and difficult work. The African People and Wildlife Fund’s model of community natural resource management and development is substantially different from the status quo. The general tendency in the conservation and development communities is to implement projects for the benefit of rural communities. While developed for communities, local people do not often lead these projects. In addition to omitting local ideas and knowledge, critical foundational work to build local people’s skills and abilities to run these projects is typically absent.
At APW, our model of community engagement is substantially different. We recognize community-led initiatives driven by local interests, needs and aspirations represent the best chance for long-term success. Building local skills and abilities, fostering good governance and promoting active community management are the cornerstones of our approach. Achieving this model is a gradual process that requires flexibility and long-term commitment to the individual goals of each community, best supported via a place-based presence.
APW integrates our four-step model of community engagement within each of our five core initiatives. As of 2013, the Maasai Steppe Big Cats Initiative integrates all of the steps for conservation and human benefit. This is the foundation for APW’s programs and projects. To find out more please visit each of these initiative pages: Wildlife Conservation, Rangeland Management, Environmental Education, Conservation Enterprise and Environmental Governance.