You may ask why a wildlife charity is interested in supporting children and communities. Largely, because they are today’s and tomorrow’s farmers, politicians, entrepreneurs, conservationists and parents, to name but a few. If we are to help effect lasting change for the good of wildlife and the communities sharing their habitat it is essential that we provide the means to do this.
Global Friends creates positive opportunities for children and communities living in environmentally sensitive areas or areas supporting high biodiversity. By focusing on environmental education, protection of biodiversity and benefits to human communities; community empowerment and improved infrastructure, Global Friends encourages communities to find their own solutions to specific environmental challenges, such as human-wildlife conflict and deforestation.
As an international wildlife charity, working to keep wildlife in the wild and end captive animal suffering, Born Free works in remote regions in Africa and Asia. As a result of this, in order to ensure we take a holistic approach to wildlife conservation and environmental protection, many of the wildlife projects supported by Born Free also aim to provide a benefit to the local school or community.
Since 2003 Born Free has been working with local schools and communities throughout Africa and more recently Sri Lanka. Through the Global Friends Programme Born Free’s support currently benefits over 4,500 people as well as thousands more indirectly. The Global Friends Programme aims to promote and enhance environmental education within schools and communities facing significant environmental challenges through the provision of small grants. Many of these environmental challenges also directly or indirectly impact wildlife such as lions, elephants, sea turtles and more.
The Global Friends Programme currently supports some of the needs of 13 schools or community groups in 7 countries through its small grants programme. These funds allow the schools or communities to provide text books, tree nursery tools or help them to raise awareness on a local environmental issue. By providing a more productive learning atmosphere environmental education can become a higher priority and both wildlife and the community will benefit.
It has been shown that ‘building a caring and educated population, that can holistically address environmental threats and connect people with nature, is critical to the success of future conservation efforts’. *