Working in Partnership
A key component of our work in Africa is partnership. We work with local community groups, regional and global conservation and development organizations, governments, and public funding agencies. Collaboration enables us to harness skills that complement our strengths.
Most of our partnerships are with Africa-based conservation organizations. We also recognize the need for and value of partnering with development organizations to harness their social and economic expertise and thus build long-term sustainability into conservation projects.
The Nature Conservancy brings the following skills and expertise to our partnerships in Africa:
• Conservation planning
• Measuring conservation impact
• Fire management
• Climate change science
• Freshwater, marine and land conservation science
• Conservation financing and real estate
• Fundraising and marketing
• Public policy and funding
We also recognize the need for an on-the-ground presence to ensure success. So our collaboration with partners is balanced with implementation by our Nature Conservancy staff. This direct involvement helps strengthen relationships with our government partners and local constituencies.
Our formal partners are listed below by country, followed by brief descriptions of the organizations and our work together.
• Frankfurt Zoological Society
• Honeyguide Foundation
• Jane Goodall Institute
• Pathfinder International
• Tanzania National Parks
• Tanzania Natural Resources Forum
• Tanzania People & Wildlife Fund
• Ugalla Primate Project
• Ujamaa Community Resource Trust
• Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux – ANPN
• Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Téchnologique – CENAREST
• Ministère des Eaux et Forêts – MINEF
• Wildlife Conservation Society – WCS
• World Wide Fund for Nature – WWF
• Organisation Ecotouristique du Lac Oguemoué – OELO
• Gabon Oregon-Center
The National Parks Agency of Gabon is responsible for implementing national policy in Gabon’s 13 national parks, which together encompass almost 11% of the nation’s area. The Agency is responsible for the long-term protection and management of Gabon’s national parks and its natural resources, and works to coordinate research, education, community outreach and sustainable eco-tourism in the parks. The Conservancy is working with ANPN to collaboratively strengthen freshwater biodiversity conservation and management within and around national parks in Gabon by bringing tools and building capacity to address threats and maintain a high level of ecological integrity as economic activities are developed.
The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) comprises seven U.S.-based international conservation non-governmental organizations with field programs in Africa. ABCG explores emerging and high-priority African conservation issues, shares lessons learned, and seeks opportunities for collaboration.
Through ABCG’s grant from USAID, the Conservancy is collaborating with partners in eastern Africa to conduct research on land tenure on communal lands, mainstream human responses to climate change into conservation climate adaptation planning, understand how planned grazing can improve grassland management and soil carbon sequestration, improve freshwater conservation and, in the Western Indian Ocean, support expansion of marine protected areas.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has worked over the past 45 years to protect Africa’s wildlife and wild landscapes as the key to the future prosperity of Africa and its people.
The Conservancy works with AWF on several projects, including support to the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust to keep large ranches and wildlife migration corridors intact, finding solutions to human-animal conflicts, and promoting sustainable ecotourism to provide economic opportunity for local communities. Another project focuses on a the acquisition of a private ranch in northern Kenya’s Laikipia district that fills a critical role in maintaining wildlife corridors from national parks in central Kenya up to the northern communal lands.
The National Center for Scientific and Technological Research is Gabon’s central research agency. It is comprised of 5 semi-autonomous institutes, including the Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Research (IRAF) which is home to the Hydrobiological and Ichthyological Laboratory. CENAREST mission is to conceive, coordinate and implement research programs and activities; promote the training and education of young Gabonese researchers and scientists; and make available relevant information for management and general awareness. The Conservancy works closely with CENAREST/IRAF to better understand and document Gabon’s aquatic biodiversity, to put in place long-term monitoring protocols, and to design and implement capacity building opportunities for young Gabonese professionals.
The Gabon-Oregon Center (Transnational Research Center on Environment and Development) is a facility linking the network of Universities in Oregon (US) with Gabon’s training, research and management institutions. The Center is focused on developing collaborative research, education and public outreach partnerships that link US and Gabonese institutions, to address the urgent sustainable development challenges and opportunities faced in both regions. The Conservancy is working with GOC to build the capacity of researchers around freshwater conservation topics in Gabon through training and education to become the nation’s next generation of conservation leadership.
Wangari Mathai celebrated her Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 by planting a tree. Recognizing how environmental destruction deepened poverty, Mathai has enlisted Kenyan women and communities across the country to plant and nurture 40 million trees since the 1970s as part of the Green Belt Movement (GBM). The women not only have lifted themselves up from poverty, but also have helped stabilize degraded ecosystems, enhance wildlife habitat — with sustainable harvesting — and produce natural resources for themselves and their communities.
The Conservancy worked with The Green Belt Movement on a reforestation project in two watersheds of the critically important Mau forest. Additionally, we have provided targeted technical support to improve GBM’s monitoring and evaluation program. We are jointly embarking on a watershed-conservation blueprint for the Aberdare Mountains in central Kenya, in the water catchment for the growing city of Nairobi.
The Kenya Land Conservation Trust (KLCT) is a charitable Trust registered in Kenya. KLCT’s mission is to ensure the integrity of the natural habitat of land outside protected areas in Kenya whilst taking into account the socio-economic interest of local communities. KLCT was founded with the aim to use innovative conservation tools such as conservation easements, long-term leases, management agreements and acquisition to achieve its objectives. These tools can help communities benefit directly from land protection and support the long term viability of Kenya’s existing protected areas. KLCT seeks to protect biologically significant land and support the formulation and implementation of policies and legislation relevant to biodiversity conservation in Kenya.
The Conservancy is providing support to KLCT to develop the first official conservation easements in Kenya.
Lewa is credited with bringing Kenya’s endangered black rhino back from the brink of extinction and serves as a sanctuary for an additional 70 species of large mammals. Lewa’s model of community-based conservation has served as a catalyst for people to enhance their well-being through conservation.
Lewa Milele (Swahili for “Lewa Forever”) describes a strategic partnership between Lewa and The Nature Conservancy to secure 62,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat and sustain nearly 30 years of successful community-based conservation.
The Ministry of Water and Forest in Gabon is responsible for the sustainable management of the nation’s forest and aquatic resources, oversees the implementation and monitoring of its Forestry and Environmental Code, and reviews and approves Environmental Impact Assessments for new projects. The Conservancy works closely with the Aquatic Ecosystems Department and the Environmental Protection Department to improve the information available to decision-makers to sustainably manage and conserve Gabon’s forest and aquatic resources.
Through its community-based conservation movement, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) empowers local people and proves that conservation can be a positive force for improving livelihoods and resolving conflicts. This approach evolved from the successful Lewa model, whereby local communities manage their lands for wildlife resources; develop ecotourism businesses; and use the income to fund education, conservation, and social-welfare projects. Currently, 18 groups have formed community wildlife conservancies (protected areas on communally held lands), benefiting more than 100,000 people and protecting 3.5 million acres of land.
The demand for NRT assistance is so great — an additional 23 conservancies have applied for support — that they must now prioritize their conservation efforts and develop operational capacity. The Nature Conservancy worked with NRT to create a five-year strategic plan and conservation action plan and is now providing key technical support to help NRT implement the activities prescribed in those plans.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) is one of the largest private conservancies in the Republic of Kenya. It is also the largest sanctuary for black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in East Africa. OPC aims to develop as a financially self-sustaining and innovative conservation development model that simultaneously generates tangible social benefits at both a local and national level. OPC runs an integrated wildlife and livestock operation that aims to maximize the economic productivity of the land. As a non-profit company all profit is reinvested into wildlife conservation and local community development. OPC is becoming a benchmark for private conservation initiatives in East Africa and, critically, is increasingly being leveraged as an incubator for significant new conservation developments beyond its borders.
For example the Conservancy is working with OPC and other partners on a livestock purchase program that purchases livestock from households who are practicing good grazing management and are members of the Northern Rangelands Trust. This allows local pastoralists to sell cows on a regular basis at a price higher than the local market. During drought times this greatly helps households adapt to these difficult conditions and means there are less livestock on the range.
Local citizens from the Lake Oguemoué community gathered in 2010 to brainstorm ways to protect their lake and environment for future generations — and OELO and its first project was conceived and implemented as the ecotourism site Tsam Tsam. Today OELO is a local NGO leading efforts in environmental education, sustainable fishing, community outreach and biodiversity research in the lakes region of Gabon. The Conservancy is working with OELO to improve fisheries management by local communities within the Bas-Ogooué Ramsar site and document lessons learned for fisheries co-management elsewhere in Gabon.
Save The Elephants (STE) is a non-profit organization founded in 2003. STE’s main objective is to secure a future for elephants and their habitats. This they do by: 1) research on elephant behavior and ecology; 2) protection of wild elephant populations; 3) grassroots conservation by working with local people and 4) education and awareness. STE has pioneered satellite and GPS radio tracking to provide fresh insights into elephants’ ways of life and seasonal movement in particular. Over the past few years, STE has radio-collared not less than 88 elephants in central (Mt Kenya, Meru) and northern Kenya (Samburu, community conservancies, Marsabit). This resulted in a better picture of elephant seasonal movements in these areas and led to recommendations to set connecting wildlife movement corridors.
STE also assists the Kenya Wildlife Service in their fight against ivory traders and poachers, particularly by monitoring elephants with aerial surveillance and radio-tracking. STE is also involved in surveys to establish population trends, elephant mortality and ivory trade, providing systematic and factual information used by the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) to determine the conservation status of the African elephant.
The Conservancy is supporting radio collaring of elephants in northern Kenya to monitor the effectiveness of community wildlife conservancies in providing safe and effective habitat for these focal species.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) was established in 1858 and is an internationally operating conservation organization based in Frankfurt, Germany. FZS is an independent, non-profit organization, whose projects are financed through membership fees, private donations and bequests, investment returns from its trust funds as well as grants from large government donors like the European Union, World Bank, GEF and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
FZS’ goal is to protect the natural diversity in the most significant ecosystems across the globe – in partnership with and for people. FZS recognizes that we as humans are both the source of environmental problems and potential problem-solvers. Biological diversity on Earth must be preserved and protected not only for human beings, but as an end in itself.
The Conservancy is working with FZS in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem of western Tanzania to protect forests and to diversify and improve income in local villages. In western Tanzania, threats to the well-being of both the people and the environment in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem adjacent to Lake Tanganyika are tied to poverty, a rapidly growing human population and extreme isolation. The area fosters an incredible diversity of life and is home to more than 300 species of fish and 90 percent of Tanzania’s endangered chimpanzee population. The 40,000 or so people residing in the eight villages neighboring Mahale National Park have no roads, no cell phone service, no hospitals and poor access to market. They are incredibly isolated from the rest of the world due to their remoteness. They are entirely dependent on the land and the lake’s natural resources for their livelihoods. Without access to modern contraception, health services and education, villages continue to grow and are forced to expand their settlements and farms up the nearby rivers and into the wild lands. As forests are haphazardly cleared for agriculture, the coastal zones become overwhelmed with sediment and push fishery production into further decline. The integrated nature of the challenge calls for a holistic solution.
The Honeyguide Foundation (HGF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that supports communities and environmental conservation in Tanzania, making use of tourism as a sustainable source of income. HGF focuses on improved and transparent community governance, poverty alleviation, and sustainable management of natural and socio-economic resources. The Honeyguide Foundation provides the catalyst for the communities, to have a positive influence on their surrounding natural resources using tourism, through the following components:
• Providing mechanisms that contribute positively to community sustainability and poverty reduction
• Developing appropriate, transparent and accountable Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy strategies for tourism enterprises working with communities
• Developing long-term, positive strategic links between communities and their business partners in the recognition that long-term partnerships rely upon rigorous community governance and sustainable management of the natural and socio-economic resources.
The Conservancy is working with HGF in northern Tanzania to improve community wildlife monitoring, community revenue generation and coordination of all stakeholders through the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum’s Wildlife Working Group.
Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) continues Dr. Goodall’s pioneering research on chimpanzee behavior. In 2010, JGI celebrated the 50th anniversary of the commencement of her research in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, and the organization remains a leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitat.
The Nature Conservancy and JGI enjoy a broad partnership that has included developing conservation action plans for Gombe Stream National Park and the Masitu Ugalla region, along with reforestation efforts along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. In 2010, Conservancy staff led a hands-on workshop to help JGI and Tanzania Wildlife Division develop a Chimpanzee Conservation Action Plan aimed to identify and protect priority chimpanzee populations across Tanzania. In 2011, we completed a climate change vulnerability assessment for western Tanzania and worked with JGI and other Tanzanian partners to design climate change adaptation strategies. We are also working with JGI to conduct a peer review of their Tanzania conservation programs in an adaptive-management framework.
For more than 50 years, Pathfinder has provided women, men, and adolescents with a range of quality health services—from contraception and maternal care to HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment. Pathfinder strives to strengthen access to contraception, ensure availability of safe abortion services, advocate for sound reproductive health policies, and, through all of its work, improve the rights and lives of the people it serves. When people take charge of their life choices, such as when and how often to have children, they gain confidence and strength. They can better pursue their education, contribute to the local economy, and engage in their communities. Pathfinder Tanzania is now working on six programs, ranging from advocacy for family planning to home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Conservancy is working with Pathfinder in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem in western Tanzania to bring better access to health services and healthy families. In Western Tanzania, threats to the well-being of both the people and the environment in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem adjacent to Lake Tanganyika are tied to poverty, a rapidly growing human population, and extreme isolation. The area fosters an incredible diversity of life and is home to more than 300 species of fish and 90% of Tanzania’s endangered chimpanzee population. The 40,000 or so people residing in the eight villages neighboring Mahale National Park have no roads, no cell phone service, no hospitals and poor access to market - they are incredibly isolated from the rest of the world due to their remoteness. They are entirely dependent on the land and the lake’s natural resources for their livelihoods. Without access to modern contraception, health services and education, village populations continue to grow and are forced to expand their settlements and farms up the nearby rivers and into the wild lands. As forests are haphazardly cleared for agriculture, the coastal zones become overwhelmed with sediment and push fishery production into further decline. The integrated nature of the challenge calls for a holistic solution.
Pathfinder International, The Nature Conservancy and Frankfurt Zoological Society have created a partnership to address population, health and environment issues in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem.
Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) was created in 1959 under the Tanganyika National Parks Ordinance. Today, TANAPA manages 15 National Parks across Tanzania. The legal mandate of the TANAPA is to manage and regulate the use of areas designated as National Parks by such means and measures to preserve the country’s heritage, encompassing natural and cultural resources, both tangible and intangible resource values, including the fauna and flora, wildlife habitat, natural processes, wilderness quality and scenery therein and to provide for human benefit and enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.
The Purpose of Tanzania National Parks is
• Areas possessing exceptional value or quality illustrating the natural or cultural resources of Tanzania’s heritage
• Areas with outstanding examples of a particular type of resource
• Water and soil resources critical to maintain ecological integrity and which support the subsistence needs of people outside park boundaries
• Areas that offer superlative opportunities for public benefit, enjoyment or scientific study.
• National Parks retain a high degree of integrity as a true, accurate and unspoiled example of a resource
• Management Plans for parks are developed by interdisciplinary teams comprised of appropriate professionals with the best available information to achieve a balance between preservation and use that does not adversely impact park resources and values
• A quality visitor experience, rather than emphasizing “mass-tourism” at the expense of park resources and values
• Optimum levels of revenue and benefits accrue to the national economy, the parks and communities without impairing park resources.
TANAPA understands that guardianship of this rich resource, however, relies on the goodwill of the parks' neighbors. TANAPA is working hard to ensure that local communities have a sense of ownership and a vested interest in the future of the parks by sharing the rewards of conservation and delivering tangible benefits. A percentage of park revenues is used to assist community development initiatives, such as schools, health dispensaries, water schemes and roads. Villagers are encouraged to develop cultural tourism projects to cultivate their own financial returns from park visitors. Many locals are employed within the parks by lodges and tour operators - and by TANAPA, particularly in the fight against poachers who desire to steal from the parks for profit or subsistence.
The Conservancy is working with TANAPA in Mahale and around Tarangire national parks.
The Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) is a Tanzanian membership-based civil society organization which works to promote sustainable natural resource management through improved resource governance and collaboration amongst diverse groups and interests. TNRF’s strategy and programs work to strengthen collective action around natural resource management and governance issues, including strengthening public participation in decision-making processes; to improve knowledge and information sharing around natural resource issues; and to support innovative approaches to conservation and development. Central to all of TNRF’s activities is the need to improve local communities’ rights to manage and benefit from the country’s rich natural resources, in order to strengthen incentives for sustainable use which contribute to local livelihoods and provide the basis for conservation efforts.
The Conservancy has provided staff to work side by side TNRF to develop a communications plan and refine marketing strategies. We also work closely with TNRF in building the Wildlife Working Group and have provided financial assistance to this critical partner in Tanzania.
The African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) and sister organization Tanzania People & Wildlife Fund (TPW) work to conserve wildlife, protect natural habitats and promote village development through innovative, multidisciplinary strategies that emphasize coexistence with the natural world. APW and TPW aspire to help build the capacity of rural Africans to engage in environmental conservation and sustainable livelihood strategies that promote the dual objectives of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.
The Conservancy is working with TPW in the village of Loibor Siret to create a resource management action plan that will serve as the village's long-term blueprint for sustainable resource use and wildlife conservation.
Ugalla Primate Project (UPP) is an international consortium of researchers that has been conducting scientific research on chimpanzee presence and distribution throughout western Tanzania since the 1980s. More recently, the UPP has collaborated with partners on biodiversity surveys (2005), community outreach (2009-present), and Conservation Action Planning (2009-present). The UPP has extensive experience surveying chimpanzees across the region, as well as incorporating genetic analyses and acoustic monitoring techniques to improve survey efficacy and results.
The Conservancy is working with UPP to define priority chimpanzee conservation areas in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem. Their research will help inform our conservation activities – where the most viable populations are located and which landscape connections are critical for their survival.
Ujamaa Community Resource Trust (UCRT) was established in 1998, then known as the Tazama-Community Resources Team. It was registered under Tanzania civil society of NGOs legislation of 1957 in 2003 as UCRT.
UCRT works with local ethnic minority groups in northern Tanzania, particularly those who depend on access to common property and communal resource management regimes for their livelihoods. In particular UCRT works with and supports pastoralist and hunter-gatherer groups including the Maasai, Barabaig, Akie, Sonjo and Hadzabe. UCRT aims to build the capacity of these groups to better access, control, manage and benefit from their lands and natural resources, and to assist them in taking a more central role in related planning and decision-making processes. It is believed that by doing so the food security of the rural communities will be strengthened, abilities to cope with environmental change and crises will be built up and poverty levels and vulnerabilities will be reduced.
The Conservancy works with UCRT in the Maasai Steppe of northern Tanzania to protect critical land for compatible sustainable use. Specifically, we are working with UCRT to create government recognized community use zones for the Hadzabe hunter gather tribe. This land tenure is critical for their survival as it protects their traditional hunting areas from agricultural expansion which is the leading pressure on their culture. We are also working with UCRT to protect critical wildlife movement corridors and reduce human wildlife conflict outside of Tarangire National Park.
The vision of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) is “To achieve excellence in wildlife estate management by developing innovative approaches and partnerships that encompass best practice, and complete transparency and integrity.” The Zambia Wildlife Authority’s mission statement is to achieve excellence in the Management of wildlife resources. The primary objectives of the Zambia Wildlife Authority are:
• To improve the quality of life among communities in wildlife estates and maintenance of sustainable biodiversity in National Parks and Game Management Areas;
• To reverse the decline in wildlife resources;
• To improve wildlife resource management to a level which will secure sustainable flow of benefits from the resources; and
• To considerably improve the wildlife resource base investment in co-operation with the private sector and local communities.
The Conservancy is working with the Zambia Wildlife Authority in Kafue National Park to improve wildfire management, resource protection and benefits to local communities.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is an international conservation NGO whose field research and priority assessments of Gabon’s biodiversity helped lead to the formation of its 13 national parks in 2002. Since then, WCS has focused its efforts on protecting marine biodiversity along Gabon’s coastline as well as forest habitat and wildlife in the Ivindo-Chaillu forest in the heart of Gabon. In addition, WCS has been a leader in wildlife research, monitoring and anti-poaching programs, and capacity-support and training of conservation staff. The Conservancy is collaborating with WCS to combine and streamline joint efforts in advancing freshwater management in Gabon.
WWF is a non-profit organization organized for the purposes of promoting the conservation of the Earth’s life-supporting resources and to advance, improve, and encourage knowledge and understanding of such resources, their natural distribution and wise use, and their essential relationship to each other and to the sustenance and enrichment of all life.
In northern Mozambique, the Conservancy is working with WWF to improve livelihoods and conservation of coastal and marine resources. The Conservancy is bringing coral reef resiliency science to the local project team to help local communities adapt to climate change pressures by protecting priority coral reef communities.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international conservation NGO whose efforts in Gabon have focused in the tri-national Dza-Odzala-Minkebe (TRIDOM) area in the North-Eastern corner of the country, the Gamba forest complex along the central coast, and the Bas-Ogooué region, where it has worked to support management of national parks, and outreach to industrial forestry operators around those parks, among other activities. The Conservancy is collaborating with WWF in the development of management decision-support tools and best management practices for industrial activities to reduce impact on protected areas.
Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) Namibia was established in 1982 as a non-profit organization and has been active for the last quarter century in the conservation of desert adapted Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis). SRT was founded by Blythe Loutit, in collaboration with local communities, initially to address the drastic decline of Black Rhino in the Kunene region of northwest Namibia (then Damaraland and Kaokoland) during the 1970’s and 1980’s. During this time, some 95% of all rhino in Africa were lost to poaching. SRT’s role in the Kunene thus helped to fill a critical gap in conservation efforts at a crucial time. Over the last 30 years, the population of Black Rhino has increased from its low point of ~40 animals to over 200 today, largely through the efforts of SRT working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), the Damara Traditional Leadership, local communities and conservancies, and other NGOs active in the region. SRT also played a significant role in building community support for wildlife conservation in the region and it’s staff are widely viewed as being highly dedicated. Through strategic partnerships within Namibia and beyond, SRT has also raised the profile of these conservation efforts at the international level and today supports the largest free ranging black rhino population in the world.
The Conservancy provides a science advisor to SRT as well as assistance with fundraising and organizational development. We believe that organizations like SRT play a critical role in bridging a technical gap between communities and the Government. TNC is helping SRT pioneer a new community game scout stewardship incentive program to improve protection on communal lands.