The recent and rapid increase in the illegal trade in wildlife is a manmade international disaster that threatens the survival of endangered species in southern Africa and is a conservation, environmental and natural resource crisis. 

After helping USAID/Southern Africa develop and deploy a co-creation process for selecting different consortia to run innovative approaches to community engagement to combat wildlife crime, CollaborateUp (as part of a team headed by Chemonics) was engaged to provide “backbone” support across five different transboundary areas covering multiple countries in  Southern Africa.

Working with Chemonics and USAID/Southern Africa, we have convened a series of terrestrial and virtual workshops to develop common understanding of the problems/challenges, establish consensus on areas for collaborative action to reduce duplication and achieve greater scale, and create agreed upon approaches for action. This has resulted in:

  • Greater cohesion and collaboration across the more than 15 different partners organizations working to combat wildlife crime in Southern Africa. Partner meetings have gone from contentious and fractious to supportive and collaborative.
  • Conducted more than 10 learning and sharing events in 5 SADC countries with people from multiple countries and at varying levels of education and language proficiency. 
  • Developed a resource library and podcast series on effective community engagement gathering adaptable best practices accessible to people with varying internet bandwidth.
  • Developed and executed a “SPARCC” conference series (Special Platforms for Action, Reflection, Collaboration in Combatting Wildlife Crime) to identify, capture and disseminate best practices among implementing and national government partners focused on challenges identified by the partners themselves.

More information about this project can be found on USAID’s BiodiversityLinks portal.