Community Engagement

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) has always believed in community engagement and that community participation from all environmental stakeholders is fundamental for ensuring a sustainable future for both people and wildlife.

At ground-based conservation locations across Africa and Asia DSWF are proud to support comprehensive education and awareness programmes.

By investing in future generations, we are building on our own legacy to protect and fight on behalf of wildlife so the youth of today can become the leaders of tomorrow and act with the foresight that environment and conservation welfare is the best path to protecting our planet.  

Community Engagement in conservation

Conservation is not just about animals. It’s about the health of ecosystems, and it’s about people. If we can help instil the belief that by protecting wildlife and their natural habitats we all stand a better chance of survival, then we are one step closer to turning the tide on extinction.  

A core principle at DSWF is the importance of education and engagement of youth and in providing them with the tools and voice to fight for a better future for the earth’s wildlife and wild spaces.

How DSWF is supporting conservation education across Africa and Asia

DSWF funds education initiatives across Africa and Asia focussed on positive engagement and environmental awareness. 

From immersive educational bush camps in Zimbabwe to wildlife related art classes in Russia, we believe that conservation education is a vital and long-term tool of conservation.

We invest heavily at our project’s location to help provide education materials, school resources and help support the time and costs of the educators themselves. 

Each landscape we operate in is different and we pride ourselves in supporting the most relevant and adaptive programmes tailor-made for each species, location and environment.

FIGHT: Education focussed on fighting wildlife crime that teaches both children and adults about the risks associated with illegal wildlife activity is vital if we are to have successes in the field. 

Often those living closest to wildlife are the most vulnerable and susceptible to falling into the hands of criminal syndicates and poaching gangs. 

By hosting workshops, classes and incorporating wildlife crime themes and impacts into school curriculums and to adult and youth groups, we can help raise awareness of some of the most pressing threats facing wildlife in immediate danger.

Often local communities and young adults are disconnected to the risks associated with illegal wildlife activity. By bringing to their attention the very real danger and risks from legal action and prosecution, if found guilty of participation or through engaging and supporting illegal activity, helps to alleviate the poaching pressures on wildlife populations and landscapes. 

DSWF is proud to support workshops and education initiatives like this across our conservation portfolio.

PROTECT: Since our inception, DSWF has supported and funded education programmes across Africa and Asia which encourage the healthy participation in conservation efforts in local and wider communities and across youth groups and organisations.

We fundamentally believe that by fostering and developing positive associations between wildlife and the joy, health and benefits they bring to those living closest, we can help reinforce the need to protect some of the world’s most threatened and endangered species.

We are merely the guardians of today’s wildlife and wild spaces for the future generations and if we can help encourage and build a protectionist belief in those living closest to the wildlife we fight to protect, then we have a greater chance of success for healthy and viable wildlife populations.

ENGAGE: DSWF engages with children and adults across all of the ground-based conservation locations we support.  Changing attitudes is often a long-term process but something we are now seeing come to fruition since our establishment in 1984.  

Some of the long-term and early start-up programmes DSWF funded at the start of our journey are now paying dividends in locations across Africa and Asia, something we are proud to have supported. 

Community engagement in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, for example, we have seen how children who went through the DSWF supported immersive wildlife bush camp as children are now seeking jobs in ecology, conservation and at the projects we support themselves, showing the long term impact positive engagement can make from an early age. DSWF helps protect painted dogs in Zimbabwe.

Building on our rich art heritage we are also delighted to fund education art initiatives around the world and support creative teaching techniques to further enhance children’s conservation knowledge, from regional wildlife art competitions in Russia to creative pangolin workshops in Zambia. 

Supporting art and education has been, and will continue to be, a guiding principle in DSWF’s environmental education work.

£16 could help provide supplies for a community education project, teaching the value of protecting wildlife.