Our mission to expand Akashinga has begun

Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

We wish you could be here, looking directly into the eyes of the courageous candidates who’ve just arrived for our next round of Akashinga recruitment, and see what we see. We see passion, drive, character, and spirit - so much of what we look for in IAPF Akashinga rangers. We see their hopes for a better future, love of their beautiful land, and a deep devotion to care for their magnificent wildlife.

We see the same deep devotion in the IAPF family of supporters, as you help us change lives, both human and animal, for the better. The people in and around Songo can see it - and we see it too.

We’ve shown you why IAPF must expand the Akashina footprint across the Lower Zambezi Valley. And we’ve shown you that community engagement is the essential ingredient for economic growth to drive the successful rehabilitation of ecosystems and protection of wildlife.

Now we want to show you who will become the next generation of Akashinga rangers, the very rangers your financial contribution will support as they take on the life-changing responsibility to protect wildlife and their ecosystems.

To begin our recruitment process, IAPF visited the 5 communities surrounding the Songo Conservancy, searching for heart and spirit in those who will eventually become the best of the best and the next generation of Akashinga rangers as we expand across the Zambezi Valley - one of the world’s most iconic ecosystems.

After a rigorous interview process, these are the candidates who have been chosen to represent their communities and attempt the next step in Akashinga recruitment: the 72-hour selection phase.

These are the candidates who have been chosen

Their potential is outstanding.
You are supporting some of the toughest people out there.

New Recruits

As the interview process comes to a close, we are thrilled to see 100 candidates, ready and eager to move on to the next step: selection. By the end of the selection process, only 30 women will have what it takes to go on to train as IAPF Akashinga rangers. It will be tough to pick only 30, but with your continued support, we will continue to expand even further, finding more and more who are ready, willing and able to protect their communities, land and wildlife.

Why are we recruiting from local communities?

Recruiting from local communities is the solution to many problems, one of them being how to promote conservation. Our community-driven Akashinga model creates education and employment opportunities, which have many positive benefits. Education and employment, particularly for women in rural areas, have been singled out as key change agents for poverty reduction, higher education standards, rape and sexual assault prevention, increasing life expectancy, structured family planning, economic growth, food security and environmental sustainability.

These tangible benefits in turn motivate entire communities to invest in what you and IAPF exist to do in the first place: preserve wildlife and their ecosystems.

It also raises the quality of life for communities in general. Men have tremendous respect for these women now, and girls and boys have role models to look up to and emulate. With such great success to date, the women are respectfully seen for what they are – a powerful solution to poaching that can adequately deal with criminal elements when necessary to keep their communities safe.

With your donation, IAPF pays salaries and educates and trains these women, giving them the tools to secure their own destiny. These are opportunities that are difficult to come by, especially for women in rural communities who may have few, if any, opportunities to better their lives. The women we recruit have gone on to buy land, build houses, reunite their families, get healthcare for loved ones, finish high school and go on to university. Ranger training also incorporates unarmed combat, verbal assertiveness and psychological awareness – key components in self-defence against sexual assault.

It's a positive cycle which makes life better for all involved, humans and animals.

Whilst our team have only been in Songo for a short period of time, we’re already seeing significant positive changes. We are seeing glimpses of wildlife coming back to the Songo Conservancy and Lake Kariba frontage. See for yourself in this breathtaking thermal footage of elephants that we captured recently.

"The numbers of elephant have just skyrocketed."

Thanks to passionate supporters like you, the work to rehabilitate Songo is having wonderful effects on wildlife. We are excited to continue our journey with you as we now recruit, select and train the new IAPF Akashinga rangers who will patrol and protect these lands. As you may know, over the last 20 years, 75% of elephants have been wiped out in the greater Sebungwe region, in which Songo resides. To witness this many elephants now returning is a monumental win for conservation. Funding our wildlife conservation work is a long-term investment, but with immediate results like this it proves that together we are transforming vast areas of wilderness with focussed efforts and community support.

You too, can make an even bigger impact for wildlife

As these 100 women soon move to the next stage in our Akashinga recruitment process, you have an opportunity to double the impact you want to see for women, wildlife and communities. Now, through to 18th December, you can take advantage of this rare chance to have your generosity matched dollar for dollar towards the Akashinga expansion.

Thanks to a generous consortium of major donors every donation will be matched (dollar for dollar) so that your gift will go TWICE as far to ensure the future is secured for wildlife and the people in these Songo communities. For example, your $50 gift will double to $100, creating even more impact as we recruit and train more women to become a professional and cohesive team of Akashinga rangers. We can’t expand the Akashinga footprint without your support. You are the lifeline of a shared vision.

The upcoming 72-hour selection phase that these women will attempt is only possible because of your support. Keep the Akashinga movement going by donating now to make it go 2x as far.

As we expand Akashinga across the Zambezi Valley, we need your help to raise $1 million. Every dollar you give will be DOUBLED until we reach $1 million for women, communities and wildlife conservation.

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