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WATCH | How Sebunya is bringing locals to the forefront of conservation

Conservation forms a significant part of being African. As the CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Kaddu Sebunya is rallying communities to merge environmental activism with their identity.

“We believe as Africans that wildlife and wildlands define who we are,” he says.

“Therefore we cannot aspire for economic development at their expense.” Supporting and involving people in the protection of Africa’s wildlife is central to their advancement. “Without them, our efforts are not sustainable,” Sebunya says.

Prior to his appointment as CEO in 2019, he mobilised conservation efforts at an international level for over two decades.

Today Sebunya is using his experience and expertise to promote economic growth with the AWF.

“Our mission is to have Africa realise the balance between our aspirations and heritage,” Sebunya says.

For centuries, Africans had been denied access to partake in conservation by colonial regimes.

“We need to correct the history of conservation to include local communities,” Sebunya says.

The AWF is at the forefront of several development programmes across the continent. “Our richest wealth in Africa is above the ground,” Sebunya says.

They have invested in primary school education, engaging over 2 500 children in sustainability as part of the curriculum.

Through the foundation's efforts, over 800 Ugandans have been trained in beekeeping while women in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been upskilled to be tailors and soap makers.

In Kenya, they provide local scouts with the resources to prevent unlawful grazing and human-wildlife conflict.

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“The key here is leadership, benefit and involvement,” Sebunya says.

The conservation of Africa's wildlife is paramount to preserving the continent's legacy. “These animals, these forests, these rivers determine who we are,” Sebunya says.

It is through collaboration and participation that people can achieve economic empowerment while keeping the environment intact.

“Safeguarding the natural world is our responsibility,” Sebunya says.

Footage and photos by the African Wildlife Foundation were used in the creation of this film.