Creating Environmentally Conscious Communities
Africa Foundation was established to facilitate the empowerment and development of people living alongside protected wildlife areas and to help them access the potential socio-economic benefits available through ecotourism.
One of Africa Foundation’s core focus areas is conservation and environmental education – communities surrounding core conservation areas have little understanding of the value of conserving the local nature and wildlife and the benefits thereof. In order to strike a balance between the interests of people living close to these conservation areas; and the interests of business to pursue tourism operations; and the wildlife -there has to be symbiotic relationship that exists. This relationship can only be enhanced through education. Given these facts Africa Foundation in consultation with the communities, the education bodies and our partner andBeyond has designed an Environmental Education Programme that not only exposes the communities to the Game reserves who are their neighbours but teaches them about their entire environment.
Our understanding of sustainability means enabling future generations to care for themselves and this is incorporated into all projects we implement as well as the level of consultation employed in all communities. Over time, Africa Foundation has fostered strong relationships with local communities in KwaZulu Natal and has facilitated development projects in consultation with government and local community leadership. We seek to create socio-economic development growth through education, health, small business development and conservation/environmental initiatives and we have invested extensively into basic service delivery infrastructure to provide communities with schools and clinics, safe access to water and sanitation, improved facilities and expanded educational opportunities through bursaries and leadership development.
ECHO Programme Objectives
- To reduce human-wildlife conflict and poaching by using knowledge and engagement to show communities the value of wildlife
- To improve the knowledge and career prospects of young people living close to conservation areas
- To give access to environmental education to school children in rural communities
- To instill respect and understanding in the children from the neighbouring communities on the natural resources around them.
- To promote sound environmental planning and resource utilisation, facilitation of economic upliftment and business opportunities in rural areas.
- To give access to environmental education in school children in rural communities.
- To facilitate recognition of the need for a holistic, meaningful and sustainable environmental conservation programme.