African Leaders Come Together To Build Resilience In Conservation

The third Tusk Conservation Symposium took place last week at the Sarova Mara Game Camp in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve and saw 57 delegates from 15 African countries congregate to strengthen the conservation sector. Generously sponsored by the Nick Maughan Foundation, with vehicle support provided by Land Rover, delegates spent four days sharing their knowledge and expertise to collaborate around the theme ‘Building Resilience in Conservation.’

Tusk Symposium: Image Credit David Kabiru

Following the challenges for physical events created by the Covid-19 pandemic, Tusk was pleased to be able to return to Africa this year for the Tusk Conservation Symposium. The symposium, brings together conservation professionals from across the continent who may not otherwise get regular opportunities to share knowledge and best practice. The event, the first of which was held in 2017, is creating a valuable pan-African network of leaders to proactively tackle the most pressing issues facing conservation today.

Last week’s symposium featured a variety of workshops, project-led success spotlights, social networking and field-based learning. Workshops included:

  • Strategic Collaboration
  • Leading Resilient Organisations
  • Communicating for Impact
  • Diversifying and Strengthening Funding
  • Creating Opportunity from Crisis

The event offered a unique opportunity to get a better understanding of the challenges facing wildlife conservation in Africa from those who are confronting them head on. While much of the public zeitgeist around conservation focuses on the impact of poaching and wildlife crime, our delegates identified human-wildlife conflict, population growth and climate change as the major issues facing the future of the sector.

While the discussions that took place at the symposium itself were incredibly valuable, the most critical facet of the event was its ability to create new, and strengthen existing, professional networks. With many conservationists across Africa spending the bulk of their time in the field or with communities, the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues can be rare.

Recognising the value of this, delegates were given the opportunity to pitch proposals for funding that would allow them to commit to ongoing collaboration and professional development programmes, such as staff exchanges with other organisations. 72% of the projects represented submitted proposals and we’re pleased to announce that Tusk will be funding all of them: 19 grants with a total value of £35,000 will be provided, enabling 28 different projects to travel, learn from one another and develop joint initiatives.

Ian Stevenson, Conservation Lower Zambezi: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Feature image credit: © David Kabiru

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