Spotlight on Charity – African Wildlife Foundation @AWF_Official
Making a huge imprint in the Tsu Community is the one and only African Wildlife Foundation. Recently, I had the chance to speak to them about their excellent organization, and although fairly new, they are already thrilled to be here on Tsu. Check out their Tsu page @AWF_Official.
Q) When was the African Wildlife Foundation established and by whom (in terms of founders/staff)
A) The African Wildlife Leadership Foundation (AWLF) was legally established on March 20, 1961. This is the conservation organization that would become African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in 1983. The founders of AWLF included WWII veteran James Bugg former World Wildlife Fund chairman Russell Train, and Kermit Roosevelt, the son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. AWLF provided scholarships to Africans interested in conservation and established a wildlife management training college on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania.
Q) What is the mission of the African Wildlife Foundation? (in general terms, I will get specific soon!)
A) The African Wildlife Foundation, together with the people of Africa, works to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever.
Q) Tell us please about your Wildlife Conservation and Land and Habitat Protection
A) Africa possesses an incredible amount of biodiversity, and we want to make sure this huge diversity of species (humans included) survives for generations to come. The survival of Africa’s wildlife depends on its relationship with local communities, and reducing human-wildlife conflict is one of our biggest challenges. For AWF’s efforts to be successful, our programs must be designed to serve both the animals we seek to protect and the communities that live alongside them.
Africa’s wildlife isn’t confined to national parks. The survival of Africa’s iconic animals depends on their ability to follow migration routes, find food, and arrive at key breeding grounds. This is why land is at the core of our conservation efforts.
By working in large areas that cover entire countries and even span borders, we can support critically important landscapes that harbor biodiversity and offer people economic opportunities. To ensure our conservation efforts move forward, we partner with governments, organizations, and communities, offering them incentives such as education, training in sustainable agriculture, and ecotourism in exchange for setting aside land.
Q) I know these are very broad topics, but please tell us about your Community Empowerment and Economic Development
A) Achieving local support for conservation efforts is critical for success. That’s why we work directly with communities to understand the obstacles they face and provide solutions specific to their needs. These solutions provide jobs, conservation training, educational opportunities, and, ultimately, the ability for people to better their own lives.
Many locals also see wildlife as a threat to their current livelihoods, eating crops and attacking livestock. As a result, people oftentimes have no sympathy for wildlife, seeing it as a nuisance and even competition for resources. Our projects aim to demonstrate the ecological and economic value in conserving wildlife. By setting up economic enterprises, incentivizing conservation, and investing in landscapes across the continent, AWF creates new opportunities for Africans to both improve their lives and embrace conservation. These ventures allow people to earn additional income, learn new job skills, get sustainability training, generate steady revenue for their communities, and be an important part of conservation efforts.
Q) You’ve got so many ongoing projects that I have read about, including rebuilding educational facilities! Please elaborate on any that you would like to mention to Tsu Nation.
A) We have lots and lots of great projects, but if you’re looking for some recent highlights, we suggest you check out the following:
• Our newest conservation school, the Ilima Primary School in DRC: https://www.awf.org/projects/ilima-primary-school
• Our recently launched anti-poaching campaign in Tanzania: https://www.awf.org/news/awf-launches-anti-poaching-campaign-tanzania
• Our incredibly successful Canine Detection Units: https://www.awf.org/projects/canine-detection-unit
• Our efforts to enhance tourism opportunities in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains: https://www.awf.org/projects/simien-mountains-cultural-tourism
Q) How long has your charity been involved with Tsu?
A) AWF joined Tsu roughly two months ago—we’re still pretty new!
Q) Is your charity also being promoted on other sites, and if so, how would you say the Tsu users are responding with donations as compared to other social media sites?
A) AWF actually has a pretty large social media presence—in addition to Tsu, we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr and Youtube!
While we have explored the ability for users to donate directly to AWF on Facebook and Twitter, this function isn’t as easily facilitated as it is on Tsu, so that’s a huge difference. More importantly though, Tsu users are much more active in vigorously promoting AWF to other users—encouraging donations and support in a totally unique way. We also see a lot less “negative” interaction on our posts (i.e. comments calling for violent punishment for poachers or consumers of wildlife contraband), which we do see a large amount of on more mainstream platforms. In general, Tsu users have come across as much more altruistic and optimistic, which is really refreshing.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to add or remind Tsuvians about your charity?
A) Two things:
1.) It is a false dilemma to suppose that Africa’s wildlife and landscapes must be sacrificed in order for the continent to modernize and maintain steady economic growth. In fact, wildlife plays a critical role in that economic growth, and protecting these species and their habitats is essential for ensuring sustained progress.
2.) The power to save Africa’s wildlife and wild lands lies with its people. That’s why so many of AWF’s projects center on people—primarily by providing critical access to education and opening doors to new enterprise opportunities.
Q) In addition to contributing to AWF on Tsu, I find that many Tsu users also enjoy getting involved with the various charities outside of Tsu. Can you leave us a website to get more information?
A) We’re online at www.awf.org, come check us out!
If you would like more engagement to your Tsu Charity Posts then checkout the Tsu Charity Circle
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