Microfinance and small business development are the foundation of growing economies in developing countries such as Tanzania. We support the combination of entrepreneurship with sustainable business principles, with projects that help alleviate poverty while also benefiting the environment:
- Support for Women-owned Businesses. Aspiring businesswomen receive entrepreneurship training and can apply for microgrants to start and run environmentally-friendly enterprises such as beekeeping and beadwork.
- Community-based Wildlife Tourism. This tourism program, which will be wholly owned by the community, is being developed in partnership with experts from the Tanzanian tourism industry, conservation practitioners, and investors.
|Your dollars make a difference – for people and for wildlife.Funds go directly toward programs that protect livelihoods and save lions.|
The two main priorities for this initiative – the promotion of community-based wildlife tourism enterprises and women’s business development – derived from locally-identified strategies for poverty alleviation at a 2011 workshop convened by APW in the Maasai Steppe. In both cases, the goal is to help communities derive new and alternative means of revenue from environmentally-sustainable activities in the Maasai Steppe.
Creating Gender Equality
A woman’s ability to earn an independent income increases her involvement in community work, raises her children’s education level and reduces her family’s environmental impact. With this in mind, we began the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Initiativeand have since piloted this program that trains women in entrepreneurship and gives them the opportunity to apply for a microgrant to fund a business. Rather than requesting traditional repayment, we ask women to repay in conservation gains by organizing local conservation projects.
Since Maasai women only have ownership over self-generated income, this program helps them to establish a sense of independence, a stream of individual wealth, and helps empower them to take control of their landscapes and natural resources.
Recently funded beekeeping businesses for honey production are now protecting habitat around more than 650 hives. We believe that this market is much more local and stable, and can provide a viable source of wildlife-friendly income. By teaching women vital accounting, marketing and enterprise-specific skills, we can help them lift up their entire community.
APW has awarded 50 microgrants to women entrepreneurs for environmentally-friendly businesses, including beekeeping and a solar power enterprise. We have involved over 1000 women in this program.
Our Community-based Wildlife Tourism initiative is intended to generate valuefor communities that successfully live alongside wildlife. We are developing this initiative in partnership with the community. Rather than rushing the decision-making process, APW is working to ensure that local communities have a range of models to choose from, so they can eventually pursue the most appropriate option(s) from a local point of view.
In the first stage, APW has begun increasing the exposure of local leadership to various types of wildlife-based tourism models developed in Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia. Activities include community workshops with experts from the Tanzanian tourism industry as well as conservation practitioners with wide-ranging expertise on the African continent.
Study tours to neighboring projects put people face-to-face, so community members can also get advice and learn directly from their counterparts
Our next step is to help local communities to find investors, develop fair agreements, build local institutional and governing capacity and the skills to promote their enterprise.