A Holistic Approach to Conservation: WILDERNESS and Leadership for Sustainability – slide presentation
Environmentalist and social entrepreneur Andrew Muir presented a multi-faceted model of nature conservation implemented by the Wilderness Foundation (WF) in South Africa.
Recognizing that the protection and sustainability of South Africa’s unique wilderness areas and natural heritage is dependent on socio-political and economic conditions, WF takes a holistic approach to conservation. Through its Umzi Wethu Academies for Disadvantaged Youth, it trains AIDS orphans and child heads-of-household on the verge of adulthood to become game rangers and chefs, integrating them into the ecotourism industry of South Africa and equipping them with life skills to retain their employability as they earn sustainable income for their families. Through wilderness trail experiences, Umzi also generates conservation leaders.
In 2013, WF aims to recruit partners so it can expand its Ranger Academy to become a “Pan African Academy” recruiting youth in other parts of Africa for Umzi training specifically in anti-poaching, linking it to WF’s Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative which seeks to end the slaughter of wild rhinos for horn intended primarily for the Asian market. Boosting the capacity of rangers in rhino range countries is a number one priority of Forever Wild.
Also integrated is a WF strategy to “Green Leaf” certify tourism establishments in rhino range countries so that social-economic factors of the local community are taken into account – utilizing the Umzi strategy as a means of building range protection capacity but giving job opportunities to local people.
WF welcomes organizations that are interested in partnering to expand this integrated initiative to reach more of Africa.
~ Andrew Muir, June 2013
Photo: Wilderness Foundation South Africa