Africa is rapidly growing and transforming, and we need to ensure conservation doesn't get left behind. Part of the problem is the misbelief that we must choose between development and conservation – in fact, one cannot exist without the other. The other part of the problem is that local African communities and Indigenous peoples have historically been left out of both conservation movements and development plans.
For African conservation to be successful, it must include and benefit all people on the continent. That's why it's so important to have African ownership and leadership at the forefront of conservation. This means listening to and following people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds, in both rural and urban areas, and in both the private and public sectors.
The standard 20th century conservation model tried to shape and lead African conservation from the outside, alienating many communities from nature's benefits. AWF, on the other hand, was born amid Africa's independence movements 60 years ago with the primary goal to pioneer and facilitate African conservation leadership, resulting in thriving wildlife populations, protected habitats, and an increased quality of life for everyone.
Sign on to put conservation in the hands of communities. Together, we can create a thoughtful and inclusive conservation agenda that protects Africa's natural heritage and sustainably generates value and opportunities for its people.
Photo Credit: Peter Chira