Nurturing, restoring and protecting...
…our natural wild systems, by empowering the communities that are the custodians of these systems. By partnering with communities, governments and the private sector, Africa Foundation seeks to achieve a symbiotic balance between land, wildlife and people.
“Ultimately conservation is about people. If you don’t have sustainable development around these parks, then people will have no interest in them, and the parks will not survive.”
— Nelson Mandela
The work we do
Listening, supporting and empowering...
…the communities and conservation organisations with which we work. Our methodology is collaborative, with emphasis on responding to local needs and aspirations. We work through local structures, supporting the process of identifying locally appropriate projects, funding these projects and enabling their realisation. Our work focusses on social infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods, enterprise development, youth empowerment, conservation and research.
Operating in 73 communities
Across 10 land- and seascapes
Active in 6 African countries
Associated with 28 &Beyond lodges
Protecting our rural communities during a crisis.
Find out more on our COVID-19 page.
Where we work
Explore our geographical impact
With just over two million people, and a declining population rate, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Africa. The country boasts a stable economy and a strong track record of good governance, yet unemployment and poverty plague 19% of the population, mostly in rural areas, and the country is one of the most unequal in the world in terms of human development. Botswana is renowned for having one of the largest conservation land ratios in Africa, with 25% of the country set aside for its spectacular wilderness and wildlife areas.
Bordering the Indian Ocean, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, Kenya hosts a rich diversity of natural abundance as well as ethnicities. The country has made enormous economic and social developmental strides over the past two decades including reduced child mortality, near-universal primary school enrolment, and increased spending on healthcare. But poverty and inequality remain key developmental challenges in Kenya, and people in the rural areas are still heavily reliant on the natural habitat inhabited by elephants and other wildlife, putting humans and wildlife at loggerheads.
Mozambique is beautiful with enormous potential underpinned by vast natural resources. With 2500 km of coastline boasting three major harbours, linked by rail to six neighbouring countries, Mozambique transits 70% of goods in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Yet, despite economic improvements over the past decade, it is one of the most aid-dependent countries in the world. Nearly half the population lives in poverty and 70% dwell in rural areas, reliant on the natural environment for subsistence. Poor education leads to high unemployment and the rapidly growing population is a concern.
Namibia is the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for its sparse population (approx 2.6 million). Primary and secondary education is free and the government has made steady progress in the control of communicable diseases. However, many communities are isolated without access to education and healthcare. This remoteness has also resulted in Namibia having one of the highest rates of income inequality (10% of the population accounts for 51.8% of the nation’s wealth). 17% of the population live in poverty and those in remote rural areas rely on subsistence herding and farming for their livelihoods.
Why South Africa?
South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the second largest economy in Africa after Nigeria. The country is multi-ethnic with 11 official languages. Although considered one of only four upper-middle-income economies in Africa, economic growth has slowed to a stubborn 3,5% and unemployment stands at 29%. The country faces extreme income inequality with the top 1% of earners taking home about 20% of all income in the country. Service delivery in terms of public education and health are enormous challenges as is organised poaching, over-development and over population which threaten its profuse biodiversity.
Tanzania in East Africa is part of the Great Lakes region and has experienced steady economic growth since 2007 with aims to become a middle-income country by 2025. It is on track to meet four of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals but equality and inclusiveness remain a significant challenge across gender and rural/urban lines. 90% of women work yet more than half aren’t paid to do so. Children in rural areas are also at risk of malnutrition and stunting as a result of chronic hunger. 80% of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods and deforestation is rampant.
Zanzibar operates as a semi-autonomous state of Tanzania comprising a population of 1.3 million. Tourism is the island’s major economic contributor with regular visitors from Europe and South Africa particularly. Apart from tourism, and outside of the capital, Stone Town, employment opportunities are limited with most people eking a livelihood through small scale fishing and crop production. The introduction of free education in Tanzania in 2002 led to a huge influx of children enrolling at schools however, the infrastructure to support this growth in numbers lags behind for most schools, particularly those in poor, rural communities resulting in classroom overcrowding.