Africa Nature Investors believes that mutually beneficial partnerships between protected areas and local communities are essential building blocks for sustainable conservation. Beyond their role in nature preservation, protected areas should be a source of empowerment for people. Engaging and uplifting communities is a key part of our mission to bring the conservation of Africa's nature back to Africans, and ANI works extensively to ensure that people see tangible benefits from protected areas that promote their involvement and stabilize vulnerable communities.
Gashaka Gumti National Park stretches between Adamawa and Taraba states along the Nigerian border with Cameroon. This region is incredibly diverse, and in these two states alone there are over 80 spoken languages. Due to the remote location and rugged topography of the region, access to the area from other parts of Nigeria is difficult and local infrastructure remains poorly developed. Communities in the area are vulnerable to socioeconomic or bio-physical change given the extremely high rates of rural poverty and food insecurity in Taraba and Adamawa states. Already, the project's increased ranger presence has drastically improved security in the region, in turn providing significant economic benefits.
Enterprise and Development
Conservation can drive sustainable development and provide opportunities for vulnerable communities to gain security and stability. Beyond direct job creation, it is important to create opportunities
for communities to establish their own enterprises that can generate their own employment. Uplifting these groups ensures that benefits of protected areas are distributed equitably and makes these areas, and communities, more resilient. ANI performs projects that focus on aiding marginilised groups including women and those participating in indigenous livelihoods. This has included establishing women's groups and co-ops, performing skills and livelihood trainings, and working to protect land and grazing rights for those with limited access.
As a Nigerian-led organisation, we understand that those closest to protected areas are the voices that matter most. ANI aims to engage local communities to lead conservation efforts, leveraging local leadership structures and indigenous knowledge to improve park management. We employ Community Liaison Officers who build relationships with local communities and key demographics such as nomadic pastoralists to ensure all stakeholders are being considered. Working with traditional leaders is one of our priorities, and we would like to thank all those who work with us to achieve a shared vision of a beautiful Gashaka Gumti. Our end goal is to negotiate and sign agreements with all the communities so our expectations and responsibilities to each other are clear.
Regenerative Agriculture and Woodlots
Conservation can impact community access to natural resources, such as land for agriculture and firewood for fuel. To mitigate this, ANI is working to develop and implement value-adding agricultural techniques, connect farmers with improved value chains, and establish well-managed woodlots that can be used sustainably. In this way, ANI aims to limit extractive resource use while improving community livelihoods.
Education is fundamental to improving the livelihoods of people living near Gashaka Gumti. In this region, lack of infrastructure has severely limited people's access to education. ANI hopes to rehabilitate schools, support teachers and provide materials, and create scholarships for community members to continue their education. We also establish and support environmental education programmes to strengthen the connection between people and nature.
Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, and increasing populations are putting pressure on protected areas as available land and resources become increasingly hard to find. Pastoralism is a deeply-rooted traditional livelihood that many in the region depend upon, but a lack of viable grazing lands causes large numbers of cattle to flock to the park annually. With our focus on empowering Africans, ANI believes that conservation can create solutions to land-use conflicts that benefit everyone. We are working with pastoralists to identify and maintain alternative grazing areas for sustainable rangeland management, and perform vaccination programmes to help local herders and limit transmission of zoonotic diseases to wildlife.
St Nicholas House (10th Floor)
Catholic Mission Street, Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: +234 907 732 7123