The AKASHINGA (“THE BRAVE ONES”), ALL FEMALE ANTI-POACHING UNIT.

Finding purpose in life builds one’s self esteem and sense of worth in the grand scheme of things. 

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The AKASHINGA (“THE BRAVE ONES”), ALL FEMALE ANTI-POACHING UNIT.

A UNIT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-POACHING FOUNDATION

This is the remarkable story of women trained to protect Zimbabwean wildlife.

“The fate of humanity is inseparable from our willingness to conserve biodiversity”

Many of these women according to the inspirational video (click here) come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect and find their purpose in being part of this unit to which they are fiercely dedicated. One woman said “hunt my animals and I’ll catch you”.

Finding one’s purpose in life gives assurance that one’s life matters in the grand scheme of things. This brings inner peace and inevitably builds one’s self-esteem, self-worth and therefore improves one’s mental health. This has a tremendous knock-on effect on people one interacts with at home and in society in general. 

These women are clearly  passionate about what they do and it is very inspiring. 

Below is an excerpt from the IAPF website which includes the mission/goals of the  AKASHINGA is as follows:

Anti-poaching rangers form the first and last line of defence for nature. Without the right training, equipment, management and support they cannot defend the World’s natural heritage for future generations.

The IAPF fulfills this niche responsibility within its areas of operations, whilst working alongside credible partners who specialise in the other vital components of conserving protected area biodiversity. The requirement for inspiring urgent political action towards the safekeeping of the planet cannot be overstated.

This responsibility should transcend all levels of industry, business and society as we strive for a generation of people that give, not take. Increasing pressure on the world’s natural assets is simply not sustainable.

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AKASHINGA IS A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN CONSERVATION MODEL, EMPOWERING DISADVANTAGED WOMEN TO RESTORE AND MANAGE A NETWORK OF WILDERNESS AREAS AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO TROPHY HUNTING.

Many current western-conceived solutions to conserve wilderness areas struggle to gain traction across the African continent. We decided to innovate, using an all female team to manage an entire nature reserve and have been astounded by the transformation and potential.

The program builds an alternative approach to the militarized paradigm of ‘fortress conservation’ which defends colonial boundaries between nature and humans. While still trained to deal with any situation they may face, the team has a community-driven interpersonal focus, working with rather than against the local population for the long-term benefits of their own communities and nature.

KEY POINTS

* A growing body of evidence suggests that empowering women is the single biggest force for positive change in the world today

* Trophy hunting areas across Africa take up one-sixth of all landmass across participating countries. An expanse greater than all of France

* The hunting industry is rapidly declining, leaving these wilderness areas and communities without sufficient income to incentivise conservation – Unless an alternative source of income is provided, these areas will be lost, along with their rich biodiversity

* Akashinga employs the most marginalized women from rural communities; educates and trains them to be rangers and biodiversity managers – protecting the large landscapes previously reserved for and financed by trophy hunting

* A woman with a salary in rural Africa invests up to 3 times more than a male into their family

* 72% of operational costs of the Akashinga model go directly back to the local community – turning biodiversity conservation into a community project

* These factors equal a better financial return for the local community than what trophy hunting provided

* This is an efficient, effective and scalable model which inspires and empowers women and gives them the opportunity to secure their own destiny, whilst safeguarding biodiversity

* It prepares women for the worst-case scenario in their roles, but fosters a harmonious relationship with local communities as the best defence against illegal wildlife crime.

VISION

The vision of Akashinga is to replace trophy hunting as an area management tool for conservation in Africa. This achieves landscape conservation at scale: A balance of ecology, economics, ethics and politics for the long-term preservation of large wilderness areas.

GOAL

As a stepping stone towards ending trophy hunting, Akashinga aims to recruit 2000 women, protecting a network spanning 30 million acres of African wilderness and biodiversity by 2030 – Wilderness reclaimed from trophy hunting and run by women.

STRATEGY

The strategy for success is to work with the local community, primarily through the empowerment of women who are less susceptible to corruption, work harder, don’t get drunk, exhibit higher rates of honesty and pride and value their roles and opportunity highly. The project is locally driven, retaining maximum available benefits and management responsibility to motivate conservation.

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BACKGROUND

“The fate of humanity is inseparable from our willingness to conserve biodiversity”

In early 2017 the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) was approached to assist with conservation efforts in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi ecosystem. Due to poaching, elephant numbers in the region had declined by 40% since 2001.

Law enforcement and conflict resolution around the world has increasingly evolved to include women in key roles. In Africa and conservation however, men take most front line positions. Despite the fact women often do the majority of manual and household labor in Africa, Western conservation models have ignored their inclusion at scale.

Inspired by the progress of women and driven by the need for evolution in the conservation industry, the IAPF set out to deploy an all women team to restore and manage a reserve that was historically used for elephant hunting. This formed the Akashinga model.

Their mission would be to establish the first team of 26, then expand east and west to secure an area of almost a million acres, cutting off access for poachers into one of Africa’s largest remaining elephant populations.

Making their way towards the training grounds they were harassed by a group of drunken men yelling: “This job is not for you. It has never been. Go back home where you belong!”

Selection was opened exclusively to unemployed single mothers, abandoned wives, sex workers, victims of sexual and physical abuse, wives of poachers in prison, widows and orphans. By doing so, opportunity was created for the most vulnerable women in rural society. Having never received a secure form of income, they dealt with adversity and poverty within the marginalised areas of rural Zimbabwe every day of their life. Challenging ridicule and stereotype, they would seize the opportunity and return home as rangers.

Trained by experts in conservation and law enforcement, their future is now interwoven with the wilderness they protect – just as the fate of humanity is inseparable from our willingness to conserve biodiversity.

GET INVOLVED: There are many ways to get involved which includes fundraising, donating to the IAPF or volunteering for IAFP in Africa. Click: https://www.iapf.org/

 

Published by

thewitnessinstitute

Hi, pleased to meet you! I am Deborah Esther, an Inspirational writer, author, speaker and transformational strategist. I am first and foremost passionate about humanity; yes human beings and our mental, psychological and physical health and how human beings impact the big wide world in a variety of ways. I write about everything and anything that I feel strongly about. I do so from the perspective of one who has experienced certain things in life and observed others go through. It is also from the perspective of my Christian faith as a teacher and minister of the Gospel. We project who we are to the world and who we are affects how we relate to one another, so I conclude that I want to be the best version of who I am predestined to be, so as to make a difference to one or more people. My mission is to aid others have the same outlook in life; develop and demonstrate compassion through engaging with causes that matter and are important to humanity. I express myself through writing articles, quotes, poetry, spoken word... I pray and reflect on biblical scriptures which I may share. I have developed self assessment/potential realisation and therapeutic creative writing programmes for workshops. On my blog, I also share articles, videos and quotes from other sources..., some may ask for donations, fundraising or volunteering in worthy causes. Let’s play our part for a better world; be daily transformed so as to be world changers. I also hope to read and learn from you all in our inspirational blogosphere 😃 God bless Deborah Esther x

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