PARTNERS reinforce commitment to conservation and community uplift in Africa with CCFA DONATION WORTH US$25,000
Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group and Mantis, the South Africa-based hospitality firm in which it has a 50% stake, have reinforced their commitment to conservation and community uplift in Africa at the 2019 Conservation Lab event in Stellenbosch, South Africa (May 10-12, 2019).
The groups, both founding sponsors of the Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA), which helps African rural communities engage in biodiversity conservation through improved development of their land, wildlife and natural resources, have presented the CCFA Conservation Lab Award 2019 to an elephant protection project in Namibia.
From Left to Right:
Dr Maxwell Gomera (CCFA Board Member); Graham Boynton (CCFA Board Member); Di Luden (CCFA Executive); Keith Madders (CCFA Board Member); Adrian Gardiner (Chairman of CCFA and Mantis Collection); Craig Erasmus (CCFA Board Member and Accor Vice President Operations and D&TS, Sub Saharan Africa)
Craig Erasmus, Vice President Operations, Sub Saharan Africa at Accor and Adrian Gardiner, Chairman, Mantis, joined Serge Dive, the CEO of event organiser, This is Beyond, to present the award to John Kasaona, Executive Director and Trustee at Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the entity managing the project, which aims to conserve elephants in Namibia’s Kunene region.
The CCFA award includes a US$25,000 donation to the IRDNC, which has outlined a four-pronged approach to protecting the elephant population currently considered a liability by local residents and farmers.
The donation will fund community engagement initiatives; improve monitoring of the elephant population and its behaviour; elephant conflict mitigation measures to limit damage caused to farmer and resident properties; as well as programmes and training designed to incentivise communities, helping them to understand the economic potential of the elephants, which add significant value to Namibia’s tourism offering.
IRDNC’s project, one of several nominated by 2019 Conservation Lab delegates, was selected to receive to award by the CCFA’s Community Projects Committee.
It met stringent criteria, which included technical soundness and anticipated long-term results, effective project management measures, organisational capacity and experience, and its potential to benefit the tourism industry and promote sustainability.
At next year’s Conservation Lab, the IRDNC will give a detailed presentation on the project’s progress, outlining challenges and successes.
“We co-founded the CCFA to help rural African communities that live among wild animals recognise the benefits of this often-difficult privilege by sponsoring sustainable management wildlife systems and community empowerment initiatives,” explained Mark Willis, CEO Middle East & Africa for Accor.
“The IRDNC’s project encapsulates all that we set out to achieve, helping residents in Namibia’s Kunene region understand why their native elephants are an asset that can deliver economic benefits through tourism.”
Mantis Group Chairman Adrian Gardiner added: “The IRDNC has a proven track record in not only preserving, but increasing Namibia’s wildlife populations through its education initiatives and this champions the CCFA’s mission to encourage rural African communities to take an active role in wildlife ownership and management.”
The CCFA is a grant-giving foundation and non-profit organisation based in South Africa.
Founding sponsors Accor and Mantis recognised the need for the tourism industry to play a greater role in conservation and community uplift to benefit Africa’s wild animals and wilderness, which are both under threat.
CCFA sponsorship is also aligned to Accor’s Planet 21 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, which prioritises preserving the earth’s resources and encourages collaboration between partners and industry stakeholders on sustainability issues.
The CCFA is a major participant at Conservation Lab 2019, a two-day event that brings together 150 leaders from conservation, travel, technology, behavioural sciences, philanthropy and government to find innovative solutions to Africa’s conservation challenges.