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Exploring the Future of African Conservation: Highlights from Tusk Conservation Symposium 2024

Earlier in March, over 60 representatives from Tusk-supported projects across 19 African countries gathered in Rwanda for the fourth Tusk Conservation Symposium. This remarkable event united environmental champions with a focus on collaboration, exploring synergies, and driving the evolution of African conservation organizations. The symposium aimed to harness the collective expertise within Tusk’s portfolio to foster growth and development.

As a delegate representing the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust, I have witnessed the invaluable benefits our organization has gained from participating in all four symposiums. These gatherings have been instrumental in creating networks and catalyzing conservation strategies that shape our community-driven approaches. This year’s theme centered on the dynamics of community-driven conservation projects, highlighting impacts such as increased project ownership, resource leveraging, job creation, and potential income generation.

The Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, our exemplary host, showcased their incredible achievements in protecting endangered cranes from poaching. Their synergy with the government highlighted a seamless flow of positive energy and effective collaboration, setting a commendable example for all attendees. A talk show by the Rwanda Development Board on integrating environment and development offered insightful perspectives on government involvement in conservation.

One of the most emotional and insightful moments was a reflection by Charlie Mayhew, the former CEO and founder of Tusk Trust. He shared his leadership journey and the emotional decision to hand over the CEO position to the new CEO, Nick. His story, combined with sessions on the evolution of conservation organizations, fundraising strategies, and effective communication with funders, provided invaluable insights and laid a foundation for growth and evolution within our organization.

The Collaboration Spotlight workshop was another highlight, offering a platform for like-minded organizations to exchange ideas and collaborate. As a result, the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust has initiated a new collaboration with Coaching Conservation, enhancing our environmental education programs.

Special thanks to Tusk Trust for fostering a community with strong conservation values, and for the memorable moments of fun and dancing. Conservation knows no boundaries.

The symposium was generously sponsored by the Nick Maughan Foundation, JRS Biodiversity Foundation, The Mantis Collection, and Accor Group. Special thanks to our host and Tusk project partner, the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, our facilitators Maliasili, and contributors Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) and African Leadership University (ALU).

The Tusk Conservation Symposium continues to be a beacon of hope and progress in the realm of African conservation, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this transformative journey.

Story by Teresa Jahangir

Images by Tusk Trust

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