The Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) awarded the Conservation Lab 2019 prize of €22 000 to an elephant protection project, during Conservation Lab 2019, held in Stellenbosch from May 10 to 12.

The prize was awarded to John Kasaona, Executive Director and trustee at Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the entity managing the project, which aims to protect elephants in Namibia’s Kunene region.

The IRDNC’s project was among several to be nominated by Conservation Lab 2019 delegates, although it was the only one to meet the stringent criteria required, including technical soundness, anticipated long-term results, effective project management measures, organisational capacity and experience, and the project’s potential to benefit the tourism industry and promote sustainability.  

Mark Willis, CEO of the Middle East and Africa for Accor, says: “We co-founded the CCFA to help rural African communities that live among wild animals to recognise the benefits of this often-difficult privilege by sponsoring sustainable management wildlife systems and community empowerment initiatives. 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.”

Adrian Gardiner, Mantis Group Chairman, 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.”