Hit enter to search or ESC to close
hand shake samburu warriors

ARTICLES

Community Empowerment Through Conservation

Conservation initiatives only succeed with the participation of local communities. And something that we’ve noticed through our global conservation efforts is that participation is at its most effective when it doubles as empowerment.

Today we find ourselves in a situation where we are doing everything possible to preserve the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity.  With the effects of CO2 destabilizing the climate at a terrifying rate, and anthropogenic factors devastating vital habitats, international conservation efforts have never been more critical. Success, however, depends on the inclusion and engagement of local communities often in some of the world’s most remote corners, deep in the Amazon or amid the dunes of Namibia.

Papua New Guinea Huli Tribe

“Indigenous communities are stewards of an estimated 65% of the earth’s land, hosting 80% of all biodiversity.”

Condé Nast Traveller

To achieve that increased involvement and empowerment, global education around the devastation caused by climate change and over-tourism must be increased. It’s so important that people understand how harmonious co-existence with their natural environment benefits them and preserves their cultural heritage.

Community empowerment blossoms from active involvement. That empowerment can take the form of employment, family support, role establishment, or even livelihood improvement. With conservation and sustainability at the heart of everything we do, Pelorus understands the fundamental power that role and network creation hold to encourage empowerment.

Many initiatives are also doing fantastic work bringing together women and conservation, helping to resolve the issue of the marginalizing of women, and offering them empowerment through participation. Education is providing these women with the skills and knowledge to become decision-makers or just to join the debate.

Scroll on for real-world examples of Pelorus Foundation partners who are empowering local communities through conservation, delivering change, and making a tangible impact on the destinations where they operate.

SEAS4LIFE IN KENYA

Covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, the oceans regulate our climate and provide an ecosystem for marine species. Maintenance of our oceans is crucial, ensuring that the global waterways are kept clean, healthy, and free of pollutants and plastics.

indian island ocean turquoise whale breaching ocean alaska
river valley aerial georgia Mangrove Roots Above and Below Water

In the East Africa region, the Seas4Life Trust is taking direct action. The organization, powered by the belief that our most vulnerable ecosystems must be rebuilt and protected for future generations, raises awareness and funding that benefits neighboring communities.

With the participation of local communities, the Seas4Life marine conservation initiatives wouldn’t exist. These coastal communities depend on these waters to sustain their daily lives, with their economic activities intertinwed with the marine ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems strengthen the provision of critical sustainable services for the locality, while traditional and cultural ties only deepen how ocean deterioration affects these coastal communities.

Kenya boat experience

The Seas4Life Trust is currently focused on the Msambweni seascape—a beautiful pocket of seagrass beds, patch reefs, mangroves, and deltas. The marine life you’ll find here includes sea turtles, whale sharks, at-risk dugongs, and migrating humpback whales.

Great potential exists for a healthy Msambweni ecosystem to offer the local community broad social and economic benefits which, in turn, could lead to sustainable development, growth, and productivity. To help reach this goal, Seas4Life Trust makes available research, education, skills development, and a little adventure to all locals, regardless of age or profession, to help them appreciate the precious marine ecosystem nearby. This inclusive approach places responsibility into the hands of the local community and engenders a sense of empowerment as they take on the mantle of custodians of their own ocean resources.

Alongside local ‘Green Teams’ and beach clean-ups led by school children, these community-focused Seas4Life projects are leading by example.

The Frontier Collective in Africa

Wildlife crime remains a significant problem throughout the world and nowhere is this more the case than in Africa. Poaching here has, over the last few decades, become a significant driver of species extinction. Today, around 1,000,000 species are at threat on the African continent.

While technological solutions to crime are a boon, the Frontier Collective understands that people on the ground make the difference. To quantify that, the IUCN recommends one field ranger per 2500 acres to effectively fight wildlife crime. With the vastness of Africa, many individuals are required for the necessary protection to be in place.  

kenya field ranger rhino

In southern countries such as Namibia, South Africa, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Frontier team is transferring its expert knowledge and diverse skillset to locals, training them to become effective field rangers. Whether patrolling and enforcing the law or changing camera trap SD cards, these are the range of skills that a field ranger must have to be effective.

To become a field ranger, a candidate from the local community must progress through a series of interviews where their mindset, aptitude, and physical capability is assessed. Induction training and skills development follows before they report for duty in the field. The Frontier team will then visit the local villages, meet the families of the candidates, and come to know the various individuals on a personal level. With this background knowledge, understanding their daily lives and weaknesses, the team can discover how to inspire each new ranger to success. They encourage the ambition of the locals, giving them to understand that the next step is to become a regional ranger or warden. A long term vision contributes significantly to community empowerment in the conservation space.

Corocora Wildlife Camp birds flying

To learn more about the inspiring partners of the Pelorus Foundation, please follow the link below.

Pelorus Foundation Partners

Understanding that we, as individuals, are part of a greater whole is a crucial part of the puzzle. Impressing this notion through conservation education on a global scale will empower communities across the planet to become custodians of their natural world. By striving for balance with nature, we help protect our singular planet, its ecosystems, and our awe-inspiring wildlife. 

Main image courtesy of Ol Malo