Can you explain community -based conservation?

  • Community-based conservation is an approach to biodiversity conservation that involves working with the indigenous, local people.
  • Since its inception, Lewa was aware that unless the local communities could be enlisted to support the protection of endangered species, there would be little chance of achieving success in a longterm, sustainable and holistic conservation effort.
  • Lewa was founded on the principle that the benefits of wildlife protection and the resulting tourism should be funnelled back into the communities, helping them to develop and improve their own quality of life.
  • Empowering communities, particularly those who share their land wildlife, or live adjacent to conservation and wildlife areas, is the most sustainable path for wildlife conservation.
  • Community-based conservation is, therefore, a multi-faceted approach for conservation with programmes in wildlife management, human wildlife coexistence, education, community/ livelihoods, and healthcare in recognition of the needs of the communities.

What exactly does a private, public partnership mean when describing the Conservancy?

  • Lewa, as a privately-owned and managed Conservancy, is leveraging its conservation platform to meet the development priorities of communities surrounding the Conservancy, thereby contributing directly towards the Kenyan government’s public development agenda. Lewa is meeting real needs, enhancing and diversifying livelihood opportunities and addressing environmental priorities.
  • Lewa’s model sees that private, public, community and philanthropic sectors work in partnership for the benefit of both wildlife and people.
  • We work with the government to provide solutions that address the education and healthcare needs of the communities.

What defines a Conservancy?

  • A conservancy is a body concerned with the preservation of nature, specific species, or natural resources.
  • Lewa has a set of conservation strategies and actions undertaken with its partners, including the Kenya Wildlife Service, to achieve positive conservation outcomes for endangered and key species found on the Conservancy.
  • Lewa uses a community-based conservation approach that involves active participation and partnership with the local communities.
  • Initially privately-owned ranch land, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is now a Kenyan-owned Trust.

What are the main funding pillars for the organization/Where does Lewa get its funding?

  • Lewa raises 70% (need to confirm figures) of its revenue through fundraising – 83% of our funding comes from individuals while the rest comes from zoos and partners (11%) foundations (4%), event income (1%) and miscellaneous income (1%)
  • Tourism contributes 30% of the Conservancy’s annual revenue.
  • Additional funding also comes from the Lewa Endowment Fund.

What is Lewa USA's role in fundraising and support Lewa Wildlife Conservancy?

  • Lewa USA was established in 1997 as a 501(c)3 public charity. It exists to provide financial, in-kind and administrative backup support for the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and other wildlife conservation oriented entities in Kenya. (Lewa USA Employee Handbook, August 2018)
  • The Lewa USA staff and dedicated Board of Trustees work throughout the US to raise, administer, and grant funds needed for the critical work being carried out in Kenya. The Lewa USA Board works closely with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and others to identify their institutional needs and funding priorities. Every effort is made to keep administrative costs at a minimum to allow the vast majority of the funds raised in North America to be sent directly to the field. (Lewa USA Employee Handbook, August 2018)

How many people does Lewa employ?

Lewa employs 310 people. Since 1995, 90% of Lewa’s staff are from local communities.

How is Lewa regulated?

To learn more about how Lewa is regulated, please refer to:

  • The Lewa Standard
  • In accordance with Kenyan regulation: Wildlife Act and Environmental Management & Coordination Act.

How is Lewa governed?

  • Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is supported internationally by four Lewa Non-profit Boards: Lewa USA, Lewa UK, Lewa Canada and Lewa Switzerland.
  • The Lewa Kenya Board is charged with the strategic direction, governance and fiduciary oversight of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. All Lewa nonprofits coordinate their fundraising efforts with Lewa Wildlife Conservancy but remain independent and are managed by each nonprofit’s Board of Directors. (Lewa US Employee Handbook, August 2018)
  • Lewa Canada was established as a registered charity in April 2005 (Business Information Number: 86187 6357 RR0001) in support of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Since obtaining its charitable status in April 2005, Lewa Canada has raised CDN$3.7 million as of the end of 2014 in support of Lewa. The all-volunteer efforts of Lewa Canada’s Board and Advisory Council and it’s part-time staff have enabled the transfer of 99% of all funds received since its charitable registration to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. (Lewa US Employee Handbook, August 2018)
  • Lewa UK was incorporated as a registered charity in 1997 and acts to support the work of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy through raising funds and awareness across the UK. Lewa UK is a small charity with a dedicated board that works closely with the Tusk Trust as well as other private and institutional donors. Primary areas of support have been the Health and Education Programs as well as the Women’s Micro-Credit Program, and increased attention is being given to raising funds for operational costs in Kenya. (Lewa US Employee Handbook, August 2018)

What is Lewa’s connection to the Northern Rangelands Trust?

  • In the 1980s, poaching had reduced Kenya’s rhino population from around 20,000 animals in 1960 to less than 500. Land at Lewa was set aside as a protected area, which was later transformed into Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. As wildlife numbers at Lewa flourished, it became clear that for conservation to work longterm, it needed to involve and benefit the pastoralist communities in the surrounding areas, resulting in the launch of an umbrella body, the Northern Rangleands Trust (NRT). NRT is now supporting 35 community conservancies across northern Kenya and beyond. Today, NRT and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy have separate identities, but still benefit from a close working relationship, with Lewa playing a key role in providing logistical and technical support to NRT. The community conservancies are a part of a wider movement in northern Kenya that aims to use conservation as a development strategy, using holistic approaches that link better livelihoods to the sustainable management of natural resources, including wildlife.
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