HQ address: P.O. BOX 48177-00100
Nairobi 254 - 00100
Type of Organisation: NGO,
Interest in Forestry: peripheral
Our Mission: The African Wildlife Foundation, together with the people of Africa, works to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is the leading international conservation organization focused solely on Africa. We believe that protecting Africa’s wildlife and wild landscapes is the key to the future prosperity of Africa and its people – and for over forty-five years we have made it our work to help ensure that Africa’s wild resources endure.
Empowering the African People
Who better to protect their land and resources than Africans themselves? Living on the land we strive to protect, Africans are in touch with both its potential and its challenges. They have witnessed the draw of tourists to their land. And, they have come face-to-face with the sometimes destructive consequences of sharing land with Africa’s wildlife.
Empowering Africans to be Africa’s stewards is at the core of our strategy. And, we begin right here at AWF. Approximately 80 percent of our staff are African.
A Unique Continent, A Distinctive Conservation Approach
AWF believes that a continent as unique as Africa requires a unique approach to conservation. It is simply not enough to develop initiatives to protect single species or conserve individual pieces of land. We must look at the whole picture. How do people and wildlife live together and how do they clash? How will the well-being of local people be affected by conservation efforts?
At AWF we approach all of our work at the “landscape level” – that is to say, we look at large landscapes (we have identified eight of these areas to date). Within these landscapes, we implement a variety of efforts that conserve land, protect species and empower people.
Our History in Brief
For thousands of years, the wildlife and people of Africa co-existed in balance. In the 20th century, wildlife faced escalating pressure from a growing human population and its effects, from habitat destruction to spread of disease, to overhunting. The balance was upset.
In 1961, African Wildlife Leadership Foundation, Inc. was founded at the height of the African Independence movement to help newly independent African nations and people conserve their own wildlife.
Since then, this organization, now called the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), has played a major role in ensuring the continued existence of some of Africa’s most rare and treasured species, including the elephant, the mountain gorilla, the rhinoceros and the lion. To do so, AWF has invested in Africa’s people. How? By training and educating conservation professionals and developing conservation enterprises to improve peoples’ livelihoods while also conserving wildlife.
In 1998, AWF ushered in a new era in conservation with its African Heartlands Program. In essence, we have drawn lines in the sand around what we think (based on research, of course) are the most critical landscapes to preserve – large landscapes that are key to sustaining a diversity of species well into the future. These eight landscapes – or Heartlands – are at the heart of everything we do.