What currently happens:
Imagine living next to a game reserve, with animals, big and small, cute and dangerous roaming right next door. How would you feel about bringing up your family in these surroundings?
Rural South African communities built around these game reserves live like this on a daily basis. They are most likely to feel negatively towards the wildlife and any conservation efforts occurring in such an area.Without being included in these efforts by having regular access to the reserves they live so close to they remain isolated and disconnected from them and the wildlife. Such a combination like this creates increasing human-wildlife conflict.
The Uthingo Foundation is partnering with Project Rhino in South Africa and aims to change this and promote the mind-set "People for the Environment".
Who are we?
We are a small charity in its infancy and are raising money for a pilot project to begin our research on what is most needed in these communities prior to embarking on implementing our programmes early next year.
We are a group of five from different backgrounds with different skills but most importantly with a shared vision to make a difference. Here is a little bit about us:
Deschu: Practicing GP in London
Lorna: Field researcher and Conservationist, currently in the Kalahari in South Africa.
Zama: Research technician; currently working with wild dogs in Hluhluwe-South Africa
Marumo: Priority species monitor in Hluhluwe-South Africa
TK: The Community Conservation Liason in Somakhanda-South Africa.
Cathy: Conservation educator and elementary Teacher in the US.
What does the Uthingo foundation intend to do?
In order to create landscapes where wildlife thrives, the economy and local communities both need to benefit. We can do this by not only securing protected areas but also investing in those surrounding communities. We need to promote coexistence and achieve that connectivity.
We want to meet and interact with the local communities who live so close to game reserves and its wildlife. We believe that they can teach us and provide us with the tools we need to go forward and promote human-wildlife coexistence.
Also by providing a structured education, art and sports programme we can target the next generation, creating a positive attitude towards wildlife and its conservation. We want to be able take members of the surrounding communities (including adults, children and their teachers) into the game reserves to observe the conservation efforts first hand to inspire a love for conservation.
We want to empower the men and women of the local communities, developing their skills of hobbies they love and enjoy doing. These could include crafts, cooking, construction or mechanics. We believe they hold the key to promoting and inspiring coexistence.
Long-term sustainable community-based management is what we want to create, and partnering with local communities is the key to its success on the ground.
Our vision is to foster a passion and love for the local fauna and flora in both the children and adults.
How will the money be used? Your donation will help us:
Hire a venue.
Obtain transport and driver to take members of the community to and from the game reserves.
Pay for entry into the park
Provide walking shoes and warm clothes if needed.
Materials for art
Materials for sport
Pay for the teachers who will accompany the students.
How can you get involved?
Write to us and share with us,
Ø How you think you can help and what you’d like to do.
Ø Fund raise for us.
Ø Visit our conservation effort
By, making a donation you can help us to achieve this vision and make a difference not just in the communities, but also in conservation.