OUR FOUNDING MEMBERS
Zimbabwe has been well known for innovative and professional approaches to its precious wildlife. In this country there is strong technical expertise and reasonable infrastructure, plus much enthusiasm and goodwill by many conservation players. But financial help is the big need; the world at large has to help pay for the costly protection of a truly global asset – Africa’s wildlife.
CWF was established to address critical issues in the conservation and management of the Hwange ecosystem. CWF does practical and effective conservation work on the ground by building partnerships with the authorities, private landowners and local communities. These are: The Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ), two Rural District Councils and other interested authorities, local communities, researchers, NGOs, tourism operators, private, corporate, or institutional donors, and individuals – for the greater good of the Hwange ‘ecosystem’.
Conservation and Wildlife Fund (CWF), a registered Financial Trust in Zimbabwe is a new alliance founded by five commercial tourism operators and six non-profit NGOs. CWF is governed by a Board consisting of one senior representative of seven of the member organizations.
To facilitate collaboration of diverse players in natural resource conservation at a broad scale to benefit the whole of Hwange. Operational Structure: initially there is a small permanent staff: a Trust Manager organizing projects, fund raising and setting the strategic direction for CWF; a field co-ordinator responsible for anti-poaching units (APUs) and field operations; and a financial administrator for the Trust.
Some members who are commercial tourism operators contribute through small levies on bookings by their safari guests. These levies and membership fees fund a large proportion of the costs of staff and administration plus some recurrent costs of the field operations.
Proposals submitted to conservation funding agencies try to raise funds for example for: paying, feeding and equipping anti-poaching rangers; maintenance of vehicles; starting a radio communications network; holding community meetings
NGO members have contributed via some operational sponsorship of anti-poaching units, vehicles, aircraft hours, trained sniffer dogs, support for informer networks and the judicial process to prosecute wildlife crimes.
Private safari guests have also made individual donations which support many of the above expenses.
Any size donation will be gratefully received – for a pair of patrol boots for a ranger costing US$40 – to sponsoring a much needed aerial census of all larger animals in the whole of north-west Zimbabwe, costing around US$100 000.
Law Enforcement Strategy
CWF’s first initiative is to combine private sector and NGO support to reorganize and strengthen law enforcement capacity against wildlife crime, in four land categories around the periphery of Hwange National Park. These areas are governed by the park authority (ZPWMA); the authority for state forests (Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe); authorities for local communities (two Rural District Councils) and an association of private landowners. CWF also helps to resource the Police (ZRP) and the Railway authority (NRZ) in operations against wildlife crime around Hwange.
Long-Term Conservation Strategy
In time CWF will become involved in many other aspects of conservation around Hwange – for example: improved problem animal management; community tourism initiatives; conservation agriculture; improvements to domestic livestock management, environmental education in local schools; supporting wildlife research projects; implementing wildlife management plans. CWF is aiming to become a model of public-private partnership supporting conservation that can be replicated around the SADC region. This technical assistance and funding model by local stakeholders is already very successful in Zambia (www.conservationlowerzambezi.org and www.conservationsouthluangwa.org).
An annual budget is drawn up by the Trust Manager for approval by the Board. The Trust Manager is responsible for allocation of funding to the categories of activity. A financial administrator is employed by the Trust to administer its accounts and financial affairs. Annual accounts are audited by the international accounting firm EY (Ernst & Young).