OUR FOUNDING MEMBERS
Visitors to Zimbabwe enjoy vast amounts of free and open spaces, experience ecological diversity, and encounter large numbers of wildlife with some of the most proficient naturalists and professional guides in the world. They leave with a sense that all is as it should be in the wildernesses visited. Often the picture and experiences seem like all is well.
However, the reality of what is happening all over Africa tells a different story, one that we feel is important to pay urgent attention to. We feel it is time we stopped talking, discussing and deliberating on critical conservation issues and take action.
Africa and its wildlife are under serious threat more so today than ever. We are at a crucial time where statistics show that in the last three years over 100,000 elephants have been killed (Stop Ivory, 2015), there are as few as 12,000 lions left in Southern Africa (ICUN et al., 2015) and our Rhino population is almost extinct (Save the Rhino.org, 2016).
This is a continuous pattern that needs to be stopped. To take action, concerned conservationists and stake holders of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park region have created a collaborative group and formed a not-for profit Trust, namely the Conservation & Wildlife Fund (CWF).
The Trust is a dully registered not-for-profit legal entity in Zimbabwe and shall be governed by a board of Trustees. In time a Trust Manager shall be appointed to run the daily affairs of the Trust. A US$ bank account shall be operated and controlled by the Trust Manager with a sign off by at least two Trustees at any one time. All disbursements shall be done in accordance with the Trust Objectives and Strategy unless passed by declared Special Resolution by Trustees.
The primary objectives of CWF
To work together with stakeholders, including other environmentalist and conservation groups, and local communities, in order to raise awareness, and provide adequate tools for the management of Zimbabwe’s precious wildlife resources.
The Strategy of the Trust may be broken down to two areas;
– Administration of the trust and ensuring accountability of its levy collection and financial recording as well as accounting thereof
– Marketing and awareness campaign and reporting through its online platforms including social media
– Assisting Government in coming up with specific agendas and solutions for wildlife and related issues
– Education and awareness of wildlife and environmental issues to local communities and stake holders
– Further anti-poaching intelligence (information gathering)
1 Assisting and supporting anti-poaching methods to local stake holders
2 Raising funding for specific research for key wildlife species or projects, which are considered a priority to wildlife ecosystems. This includes supporting existing research initiatives
3 Supporting community education programs in conjunction with existing projects. Assessing new initiatives that will promote the education and awareness for the need to protect wildlife and accept tourism as a conservation and empowering tool for local communities
4 Supporting local and community enterprises in tourism development and provision of products to the tourism industry
The Trust may from time to time adopt new projects by way of resolution by the Trustees in terms of point 2 of the Projects for the support of Wildlife and Conservation in Zimbabwe.
The fight and the victory for the success of our wildlife and its future is one that cannot be fought alone. Wildlife in Africa is not just for the people of Africa but should be seen as a Global Asset.
As an urgent call for action, the founding private stake holder lodges will be introducing a voluntary conservation levy of US$10.00 per person per night in 2016, with a view to getting support and buy in to increase and make the levy mandatory by 2017.
The founding members of CWF, are currently engaged in various ambitious conservation and community projects through their independent non-profit Trusts and Foundations and this will continue from their personal profits.
CWF resources will go directly towards funding key stakeholders in supporting the outer communities and conservation areas surrounding the Hwange National Park.
An annual budget will be discussed and agreed upon by Trustees who then carry out the Trust objectives. It is generally understood that the Trustees shall afford their own personal or company resources to manage the Trust Objectives to some extent,
Donations through the Levy from members shall be banked for the first 6 months or until the Trustees have agreed that the Trust has enough to start efficiently acting on its objectives. However the founding members have agreed to an initial start up fee of $1000 to assist with administration costs.
Utilization of Levy funds shall be split into the following;
(1) Executing activities of the Trust as described in objectives
(2) Conservation Wildlife Collection of Funds – This allows the Trust to accumulate funds in order to fund what could be a game changing initiative or respond to a critical situation that may develop in any wildlife area
Deloitte Bulawayo has provisionally agreed to independently provide auditing of the accounts of the Trust in order to bring accountability to donors.