Jane Owen and the wild-card purchase

I’ve just got back from a trip that included hosting deputy editor of the Financial Times Jane Owen on a ‘whistle stop tour’ around the likes of northern Kenya’s Il Ngwesi and Borana Wildlife Conservancies. The purpose of the trip was to help articulate, publicise and curry interest in the conservation models that Wild Philanthropy was set up to support.

A reminder: Wild Philanthropy is a charity with an investment arm, Wild Expeditions. It supports conservationists and eco-tourist businesses in at-risk African ecosystems through enabling philanthropic individuals and organisations to make impact investments. Money is raised in the form of donations and returns from tourism enterprise investments. The conservation models we support are those that understand ecosystems as holding enormous potential wealth. Well-managed, involving all key stakeholders, they eventually pay for themselves, and in such a way that ensures all benefit.

As well as deputy editor for the paper in its entirety, Jane is also editor for House and Home, its property section. As is right and proper, Jane’s aim in visiting was to get under the skin of the conservation models, speak with the various stakeholders, and investigate how exactly the back and middle rooms match up with the various shop fronts. Window dressing, lovely lodges and the ability talk hind legs off dogs do not conserve at-risk ecosystems. I was keen for Jane to get to the bottom of what makes somewhere like Borana so successful.

So, please do have a read of the article, which came out last weekend. While we covered a lot of ground, Jane had the opportunity to speak with those that have worked for so long to make the tourism-investor-community conservancy model so successful. As she intimates, investing in wild Africa’s an affair of the heart. Owning private houses and lodges on conservancy land is a wild card move. It’s not a run-of-the-mill investment. Returns are by no means immediate. It’s not for everyone. However, for those willing to take the plunge, the reward is extraordinary. We’re making a difference, quickly, effectively and in a way that is good for all.

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