Our Story.



Akashinga — originally named the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) — was founded in 2009 by Australian-born and Zimbabwean-based environmentalist Damien Mander.

Akashinga has transformed a traditionally adversarial approach to conservation into an innovative, empowering, and gender-diverse model to protect wildlife and habitats.

Fortress conservation worked well, but ultimately, is not sustainable. In 2017, Mander recruited the initial team of 16 female rangers in the Lower Zambezi valley of Zimbabwe.  These women became the first Akashinga Rangers (The Brave Ones in the Shona language). They embarked on a mission to safeguard Zimbabwe's wildlife from the devastating impact of poaching. This marked the beginning of the organization's collaborative approach, working directly with local communities to tackle the challenges of illegal wildlife trade and environmental degradation. Finally, instead of looking in, Akashinga was on the inside looking out, and sustainable and measurable change began to happen.

Akashinga has since revolutionized conservation efforts in Africa through an innovative, gender-diverse approach. From its humble beginnings, the Akashinga’s innovative strategies, community engagement, and commitment to training and empowering local individuals have propelled its growth. Today, the organization continues to expand its reach across multiple countries, forging a legacy of sustainable, female-led conservation that originated with those 16 dedicated rangers.

The impact of our female-led conservation efforts reverberates throughout the community, igniting a cascade of positive impacts. From nurturing children's education to bolstering healthcare, eradicating poverty, and boosting life expectancy, these ripple effects leave a lasting legacy.

Sign up to receive news direct from the field.

You’ll get insider updates on all our work to save some of Africa’s most critical wilderness landscapes.

By clicking ‘Subscribe” I accept the terms and conditions of the privacy policy and consent to receive email updates and news from Akashinga.
Thank you! You're all signed up!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.