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IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) has been honoured with Zimbabwe’s prestigious Excellence in Environmental Conservation and Social Impact Award.
The award was presented at the 2022 edition of the annual Matabeleland North Province Environment Responsible Business and CSR Awards dinner event, held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s tourism capital, on 23 September 2022.
The accolade, in recognition of IFAW and ZimParks' efforts to address key conservation challenges around the Hwange-Matetsi-Zambezi landscape in the North-Western part of Zimbabwe, is a testament to the positive impact of various interventions aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of communities co-existing with wildlife.
The 2019 USD$5 million conservation agreement between IFAW and ZimParks has already transformed Hwange National Park from a poaching hotspot to a haven for wildlife.
Data show there has not been a single elephant poaching incident since the programme took effect three years ago, as new infrastructure and other interventions have brought greater efficiency to the management of the massive reserve.
In addition, human-wildlife conflicts have significantly declined over the past three years, as communities that border the park begin to peacefully co-exist with wildlife and take part in conservation efforts.
Luckmore Safuli, a communications officer at IFAW, says, “We are delighted to have been conferred with the prestigious award in recognition of our efforts to promote peaceful co-existence of people and wildlife. It is gratifying to see that our interventions are making a difference in the lives of many.”
Hosted annually by the Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zimbabwe, the awards acknowledge corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts and contributions made by individuals and the private and public sectors towards community development in Zimbabwe. Winners are selected from sectors and industries that have had positive impact on Zimbabwe’s sustainable development agenda and the promotion of the government’s Vision 2030.
Since the signing of the conservation agreement with ZimParks in 2019, IFAW has injected over USD$3 million into infrastructure development, ranger training, tools and equipment, game water supply, staffing of the veterinary unit, operational support and community engagement.
IFAW remains committed to long-term financial and technical support for the protection of the Hwange-Matetsi-Zambezi ecosystem and creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities for communities living with wildlife.