If you’re wondering where we’re at with Wild Philanthropy, you’re not alone. Things have been moving a pace and much has evolved since the conception of the idea over a decade ago.
Paul Herbertson is increasingly driving the model forward as Will’s right hand man as Conservation Enterprise Director. His job share between Fauna & Flora International has brought invaluable knowledge where previously there have been gaps and, as such, the charity moves from strength to strength.
The underlying aim of Wild Philanthropy is to rebalance the interests of communities and wildlife, where a lot of the time profits from foreign-owned businesses or travellers doesn’t reach the right places. It also takes into account the fact that travel is dependent on the culture and wildlife and if this isn’t protected there won’t be as much travel around Africa in the long run. So, in short, it’s trying to establish ways that we can shift the balance so that the profit created through travel actually reaches the local people and wildlife.
WP is divided into three key streams: travel, enterprise, philanthropy.
As well as providing bespoke conservation safaris, the Wild Philanthropy travel arm will be operating set departure conservation journeys. Guided by Will and designed to introduce existing and potential donors to wild Africa, to the conservation issues facing at-risk ecosystems, and to our solutions, these trips are billed as extraordinary, eye-opening and practical. Guests will be hosted by the local community and on-the-ground partners. It is hoped that the experience of travelling to Africa will attract new donors to the cause. Proceeds from the travel arm will cover the charity’s operating costs. The first conservation journey will depart in October. Please do get in touch if you are interested in travelling with us then or at any time in the future.
Enterprise is based around providing investment to ecotourism projects on the ground. Wild Philanthropy’s first investment on this front is in a locally run mobile outfit Wild Expeditions Ethiopia, which is based in the valley and delta of the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia. In the first year that it has been running, the camp has created 20 jobs, work that supports 2,000 family members, and sold upwards of US$ 350,000 worth of travel, helping the business break even; a remarkable feat for a start up of this kind.
The philanthropic side of the charity is based around donations towards other charities on the ground, who we see as ‘partners’ working towards a common goal. In its first year, this has included paying for the training of six rangers who work for the Northern Rangelands Trust to protect Sera’s black rhino population; it has provided bicycles and uniforms for six rangers from the Tongwe Trust who work to protect the chimpanzee populations of Ntakata Forest in north-west Tanzania; and it has donated regularly to the Last Line of Defence, a project supporting the Maasai Group Conservancy in Enonkishu.
That’s the structure, and one made unique by the fact that it is powered by the knowhow, experience and network of Journeys by Design. As Will says, ‘Wild Philanthropy and Journeys by Design are in a uniquely qualified position to address the plight of Africa’s ecosystems and the vulnerable communities and wildlife that depend on them.’
If you’d like to find out more about Wild Philanthropy or donate, please visit wildphilanthropy.com or call us on +44 (0)20 7096 6318. Do get in touch. Time is of the essence.
To get in touch with the Los Angeles or New York desk please dial +1 213 550 5448 or +1 646 883 8961 respectively.