Release of ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response Close Out Report’ marks UN World Environment Day; Relief Effort provides food rations, PPE, cash for work to over 30,000 people; ‘Canines for Conservation’ sniffer dog program expanded during pandemic to curb illegal wildlife trafficking.
NAIROBI, KENYA/WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 4, 2021) – In advance of World Environment Day on Saturday, June 5, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) today issued a final report, charting the results of the organization’s COVID-19 Emergency Response. In consultation with communities and partners across nine African countries, AWF’s COVID-19 Emergency Response was a six-month-long effort, carefully crafted to help deliver relief aid in four key areas: 1) Support for protected areas and community conservancies; 2) Support in rural communities living around these areas; 3) Expansion of AWF’s Canines for Conservation program; and 4) Expansion of AWF partnerships with policymakers.
AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya said: “Our goal as African Wildlife Foundation has always been to ensure the longevity and sustainability of resilient wildlife, communities, and governments we serve. This multi-pronged emergency response is indeed a testament to what a highly dynamic, adaptable, and dedicated institution can do with a tireless workforce predominantly anchored in the communities where we work, with the support of generous and responsive donors. As we celebrate World Environment Day, I urge us all to take active roles in restoring our relationship with nature. The global pandemic must remain a constant reminder of the consequences in place if humans continue to abuse nature.”
To scale up preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, the AWF COVID-19 Emergency Response was able to reach more than 25,000 households through the promotion of preventive behavior and distribution of masks, handwashing stations and sanitizer to communities. In addition, AWF ran cash for work programs to support 5000 families whose incomes plummeted following the collapse of the tourism industry, as well as food relief for the most affected households. Our support to protected areas included allowances to wildlife rangers as supplement to their monthly salary; fuel to wildlife agencies to support patrols, as well as the procurement of conservation relevant equipment and hardware.
Another key program that trains and deploys highly effective tracker and sniffer dogs with their wildlife authority handlers – AWF’s Canines for Conservation – was expanded in Tanzania and Kenya in response to government requests to help deter any increase in wildlife crime resulting from parks empty of visitors and the subsequent shrinkage of budgets available for wildlife protection.
“We helped to pay dog-handler salaries, maintain kennels, and provided food rations, PPE, and veterinary supplies. Serengeti National Park also received three tracker dogs through AWF’s collaboration with Tanzania National Parks Authority. The dogs were an efficient deterrent to wildlife crime and the expected poaching increase never happened.”,” added Sebunya.
In recognition of the lasting impact of the pandemic in our lives, AWF will continue to actively listen and collaborate with our stakeholders to meet any new challenges arising from COVID-19. We are no longer in emergency mode, but we remain agile, dynamic, and accessible – able to offer resources, leadership, and information as needed
AWF wants to acknowledge the dedication of Africa’s conservation heroes across the continent. They are the best of humanity, and we celebrate their sacrifices and bravery in the face of considerable challenge.
ABOUT AWF COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE
AWF Emergency Response (https://www.awf.org/about/covid-19-emergency-response) seeks to address urgent needs, including pain points of protected area authorities, conservancies, local institutions, and communities. The program supports communities in ways that strengthen coping mechanisms to the crisis and looks to save the critical functions of protected areas, while also safeguarding livelihoods of communities. AWF’s overarching goals are to support protected area authorities; support communities engaged in wildlife and tourism and other key sectors.
ABOUT AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
The African Wildlife Foundation (www.awf.org) is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.