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Luc Hoffmann Institute’s Jon Hutton to lead WWF’s Global Conservation Division

Jon Hutton, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, has been appointed as WWF International’s Global Conservation Director, effective 1 December 2020. 

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said: “I am delighted to appoint such an experienced conservationist to this key position for WWF. Appointing Jon Hutton also stands as testament to the performance and influence of the Luc Hoffmann Institute under his leadership over the last four years.”

The Luc Hoffmann Institute to be an integral part of WWF’s Global Conservation architecture 

As part of Jon Hutton’s appointment, the Luc Hoffmann Institute will be adopted as a key part of WWF International’s Global Conservation Division, continuing to operate under Jon Hutton’s overall direction. The institute will retain its independence of thought and a degree of operational autonomy, serving as an engine for innovation within WWF while sustaining its current trajectory.

“My decision to make the move was strongly influenced by the fact that the future of the Luc Hoffmann Institute will be secured. I am grateful to everyone that has partaken in our journey so far, and look forward to seeing the institute and the ideas it incubates flourish within the new arrangement. I think that Luc Hoffmann, who was WWF International’s first Vice-President, would have embraced this development,” said Jon Hutton.

About the Luc Hoffmann Institute 

The Luc Hoffmann Institute aims to be the world’s leading catalyst for innovation and transformative change to maintain biodiversity, the foundation of all life on Earth. We create the conditions for new approaches to emerge, identify and mobilise the most promising innovators and ideas, and provide a flow of impactful, de-risked and exciting initiatives for investors. Our passionate and open-minded team is dedicated to driving societal change for nature and people to thrive together. Learn more at, connect with us on LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter @LucHoffmannInst. You can also write to us directly at  

news publication

Strengthening Futures Capacity in Africa: a new African Ecological Futures report

How can Africa develop its potential without having a negative impact on nature and on the benefits that local communities in Africa derive from nature? Looking 50 years into the future, when Africa has become a prosperous and dynamic force internationally, what ecological infrastructure would African societies want to see left? How much of the continent’s forests, watersheds, wildlife and traditional lifestyles should be protected and fostered, and how should that be done?

Increased use in Africa of tools for thinking about the future can help ensure the right questions are asked today. A new report on strengthening futures capacity in Africa, incubated by the Luc Hoffmann Institute for WWF’s African Ecological Futures project, explores the different methods for imagining the many possible futures for Africa and for identifying the actions required to reach those futures. The report’s author is Laura Pereira, a South African researcher who specialises in futures methods for imagining sustainable development pathways.

As well as providing a snapshot of the extent to which futures thinking is currently used in Africa, the report also points to a set of tools that can be used by people in Africa in a futures-oriented approach to strategic planning. Ranging from scenario planning and backcasting to science fiction prototyping and the Cynefin framework for decision-making under complexity, the tools are described alongside the kinds of questions they can help to answer.

In an afterword, Fred Swaniker, Founder of the African Leadership Group, welcomes the new report. He says it is “a great step to shifting our paradigm towards how we plan for and imagine Africa’s ecological future.”

Preferences and pathways: strengthening futures capacity in Africa is published as part of the Luc Hoffmann Institute’s commitment to the African Ecological Futures programme, now in its second phase. In publishing the report, the institute hopes to contribute both to the creation of an engaged group of futures specialists and to planning efforts for the development of futures-thinking capacity in Africa.

To learn more about the African Ecological Futures programme and contribute to boosting institutional futures capacity on the continent, please contact Adrian Dellecker at:


Call for proposals: Conducting a Multidimensional Biodiversity Index (MBI) for Switzerland

As part of a project to design and help implement a Multidimensional Biodiversity Index (MBI) for countries aiming to measure biodiversity health, the Luc Hoffmann Institute at WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund), hereafter “the Institute”, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), is seeking applications to carry out a pilot project in Switzerland.


To use, manage and restore biodiversity sustainably, we need to incorporate measures of how our socio-economic systems depend on, impact, derive benefits from and interact with biodiversity. These relationships determine biodiversity health, which is more than the number of species in an ecosystem or the remaining primary forest cover. If we are to effectively tackle the biodiversity loss crisis as a fundamental pillar to achieve sustainable development, we need to redefine biodiversity using a multidimensional approach that considers nature and people as equal parts of a healthy system. This requires a paradigm shift in how we measure biodiversity and link it to action through an improving biodiversity science-policy interface. This paradigm shift includes 1) accounting for the multidimensional nature of biodiversity and the context-dependency of its contributions to people and 2) establishing a science-based healthy and lasting relationship between biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

The MBI project aims to develop a policy-focused index for biodiversity as a tool for decision-makers to monitor if we are living within the regenerative capacity of nature or eroding our own opportunities to achieve sustainable development.

The gathering momentum in biodiversity policy on the world stage provides a window of opportunity for a shift from the perception of biodiversity conservation as a barrier to growth towards its recognition as an essential foundation for sustainable development. A MBI for nations could play a pivotal role in enabling that shift by transforming biodiversity from an abstract notion into a tangible entity that national governments can understand and act on. To achieve global relevance alongside the numerous existing biodiversity indicator initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the implementation of the MBI framework needs to be feasible in all countries, at different stages of development. Work is required to road-test the MBI framework in national contexts to understand its potential utility.  For more information and background to the MBI project and findings, please contact Carolina Soto-Navarro, Technical Lead, Science Programme (UNEP-WCMC), at

The MBI global project outcomes are:

1. The MBI framework is taken up by national governments to develop tailored national biodiversity measures that monitor the state of biodiversity and its contributions to people.  

2. Community of engaged experts is built and agreement on how to develop an MBI that monitors the ‘health’ of biodiversity and its contributions to people to inform policy making.

3. National government decision-makers consider evidence and recommendations from the MBI initiative to target resources and design biodiversity policies and measures that have better technical design, greater focus and are more effective in reducing biodiversity loss in all its dimensions.

4. Intergovernmental and multilateral agencies incorporate recommendations and outputs from the MBI Initiative and use the global MBI to compare biodiversity state across nations.

5. Increased global and in-country attention to research recommendations and outputs from the MBI initiative through engagement with media and civil society.

6. A growing global community of countries and organizations that focuses on multidimensional biodiversity is created, which promotes dialogue, provides peer-to-peer technical, statistical and policy support, and that distils experiences and lessons learned about measuring and using multidimensional biodiversity for policy purposes.

About the Luc Hoffmann Institute (LHI)

The Luc Hoffmann Institute aims to be the world’s leading catalyst for innovation and transformative change to maintain biodiversity, the foundation of all life on Earth. We create the conditions for new approaches to emerge, identify and mobilise the most promising innovators and ideas, and provide a flow of impactful, de-risked and exciting initiatives for investors. Our passionate and open-minded team is dedicated to driving societal change for nature and people to thrive together. Learn more at, connect with us on LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter @LucHoffmannInst.

About the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)

UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre is a world leader in biodiversity knowledge. It works with scientists and policy makers worldwide to place biodiversity at the heart of environment and development decision-making to enable enlightened choices for people and the planet.

Overall project aim

The MBI pilot project in Switzerland should support the overall MBI global project. 

The objectives of the MBI pilot in Switzerland are to:

  • road test the MBI framework;
  • contribute to the  methodology development of the index;
  • provide input into other MBI pilots being conducted in other countries around the world as well as the overall MBI project;
  • leverage in-country ownership and policy usage of the MBI in Switzerland;
  • provide findings, lessons and best practices to the global MBI project and team. 

The pilot must include a broad range of stakeholders from not only environmental disciplines and practices (example: non-profit conservation organisations, state or local administrative departments) but ideally from other sectors such as economics, law, national statistics offices, or agriculture. Furthermore, the pilot should be cross-sectoral in nature and facilitate collaboration from a variety of stakeholders, including the private sector and the general public in order to gauge and integrate the aspirations, concerns and needs of the broader population into the MBI Swiss pilot. The aim is to co-create the Swiss MBI pilot for greater ownership and buy-in from important stakeholders.

Desired outcomes

In collaboration and consultation with the MBI Project Team at UNEP-WCMC, the successful organisation/team is tasked to:

  • Ensure broad consultation of stakeholders, including with the Swiss or Cantonal governments and administrations, to take into account user’s needs and expectations, for example through cross-sector national or cantonal workshops, and coordinate periodic stakeholder exchanges to discuss and advance the MBI Swiss pilot; Ensure the MBI framework is aligned to biodiversity policy needs in Switzerland;
  • Successfully collect relevant data across government offices and environmental data-holders in Switzerland, ensuring the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the MBI Swiss pilot;
  • Produce a Swiss MBI score based on proposed methodology aligned with the MBI overall framework and the other MBI pilot countries, and draft a report on the MBI (based on the data collected and analyses performed);
  • Share findings, insights and recommendations on a regular basis with the MBI Project team and other in-country pilot projects;
  • Design and implement a convincing pathway, including feedback loops, for engagement and use of the Swiss MBI by local actors, including the cantonal and/or national authorities. This should include a marketing and communication plan. 

Required competencies

The successful applicant organisation must be able to demonstrate:

  • Influential relationships with relevant research organisations, government departments related to the environment, local and national NGOs and a broad range of stakeholders related to biodiversity  issues;
  • Working relationships with national environmental data producers and consumers, including the national office of statistics and local environmental and development NGOs as well as relevant research institutes;
  • Experience conducting environmental data analysis and producing comprehensive synthetic reports;
  • A strong track record in convening a diverse range of actors and facilitating discussions in an open dialogue as a neutral convenor;
  • Good understanding and track record of co-creation and co-learning;
  • Familiarity with main issues and political dynamics of relevant international bodies and conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and relevant UN bodies.

The MBI Swiss pilot project should be finalised preferably by June 2022 and no later than December 2022.

Reporting lines:  

The successful team/organisation shall work under contract WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund) (“WWF International”), on behalf of the Luc Hoffmann Institute., in collaboration with UNEP-WCMC and be responsible to the MBI Project Team. Throughout the project, the selected team/organisation will maintain regular discussions on the activities with UNEP-WCMC.

Procedure for submission

Applications should be submitted to with the subject line: “Application for MBI Swiss Pilot”.

The application can be in Microsoft word or pdf form. The application should include:

  • An overall statement of interest and suitability for the project (max 250 words);
  • A narrative of overall approach and methodology to implement the MBI pilot in Switzerland, including the geographic scope (max 1000 words);
  • A description of how the pilot will contribute to the overall outcomes of the MBI project (see below);
  • A list of proposed stakeholders, confirmed or planned;
  • A demonstrated know-how of the Swiss political and economic system, as well as a track record of cross-sectoral research, co-learning and complex socio-political processes.
  • A detailed budget;
  • Confirmation of acceptance of the general terms and conditions set out in Annex 1.

Evaluation of proposals

 Proposals will be evaluated by the Institute against the following criteria:

  1. Suitability, including geographic connection to Switzerland or a Swiss Canton;
  2. General understanding and alignment to the MBI approach and methodology;
  3. Strong understanding of the Swiss political system;
  4. Established networks with relevant actors in Switzerland, including  government offices  and civil society; links to environmental actors is a must; links to actors beyond environment,  such as industry and agriculture is an added advantage;
  5. Ability and track record to conduct research and producing  comprehensive reports;
  6. Ability and  track record in convening a diverse group of stakeholder.
  7. Price

The proposals will be evaluated by a panel consisting of:

Representing the institute:

  • The MBI project budget holder;
  • A  WWF International  Executive  Director;
  • The WWF International  Finance Director;

Representatives of UNEP- WCMC will assist in the review process but the final decision will rest with the Luc Hoffmann Institute.

Deadline: Applications must be received no later than 9 October 2020, midnight CEST. Late submissions will not be considered. The Institute reserves the right to reject any and all responses to this Request for Proposals. Bidders shall bear all costs associated with preparing and submitting their proposals. Any form of canvassing will lead to automatic cancellation of the bid in question.

The Institute will notify bidders of its decision as soon as possible and no later than 23 October 2020, with projects able to start as early as mid October 2020. Interviews may be conducted with short-listed candidates on the week of 19 October. The Institute is under no obligation whatsoever to award the contract to the lowest priced bid or any bidder. The Institute may cancel the invitation to tender without notice and shall accept no liability whatsoever arising out of such action.

Budget: An important criterion for selection will be value for money. Applications with a total budget in excess of 200’000 CHF (including, if it applies, VAT) over the said period will not be considered. 

For any questions regarding this call for proposals, please contact

Find here the Annex 1: General terms and conditions  


Forging new paths: our 2019-2020 annual report is out!

The Luc Hoffmann Institute is proud to present its 2019-2020 annual report. Read about why societal innovation for nature and people is important in a post-COVID-19 world, and about the Luc Hoffmann Institute’s unique way of innovating. Our advisory council speaks out on societal innovation and Adil Najam, the chair of our advisory council, provides tips on how we can stand up for life on Earth starting now. You can delve into our thought leadership initiatives and read stories about the innovators and ideas we incubate, including Biodiversity Revisited, Securing the Future of Nature-based Tourism in Africa: a Collaborative Platform, Innovative Business Models, and African Ecological Futures. 

Discover our annual report here.


Join the 10 September 2020 Beyond Tourism in Africa webinar to learn about the innovation challenge

How can communities earn income from wildlife conservation beyond the tourism sector?
Applications are now open for the Beyond Tourism in Africa innovation challenge. We’re seeking innovative, community-led, non-tourism sources of income from wildlife across Africa. Participants have the chance to win a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money.

Join us on 10 September 2020 for an open webinar, where you will learn more about the innovation challenge and find out how to apply. Hear from an exciting panel of conservation and wildlife experts, who we hope will inspire you with their experience of trying to transform livelihoods communities across Africa living near wildlife.

Diversifying community livelihoods from wildlife

When: 10 September
6-7:30pm (Eastern African Time)
5-6:30pm (CEST/Central African Time)
Duration: 1.5 hour
Host: African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation
Cost: free
Register here:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

What we’ll cover:

  • Introduction to and background of the Beyond Tourism in Africa initiative
  • About the challenge prize: the African Leadership University’s Incubator Programme
  • How to apply and live Q&A
  • Inspirational short talks by our featured panelists on African wildlife conservation, innovative growth and sustainable, community-led income models

Alice Ruhweza (Director, WWF Regional Office for Africa)
Gautam Shah (Founder, Internet of Elephants)
Fred Swaniker (Founder and CEO,  African Leadership Group)
Melissa De Kock (Community Conservation Specialist, WWF) 
Tolu Agunbiade (Entrepreneurship Program Manager, ALGroup)
Elisabeth Losasso (Beyond Tourism in Africa Project Manager, Luc Hoffmann Institute)

Julia Pierre-Nina (Senior Manager for Partnerships & Stakeholders, African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation)

We’ll be running Q&As throughout the session so that you may ask questions.

Can’t join on the day, or need to leave early? If you can’t make it for the live session, don’t worry. We will also post recordings of the event on

Beyond Tourism in Africa is a partnership of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and WWF Regional Office for Africa.


FAQ – Beyond Tourism in Africa


What is the innovation challenge all about?

Beyond Tourism in Africa is a space for innovative ideas that are urgently needed to allow people to live in harmony with nature. There is a clear need to diversify revenue beyond  tourism as the only income stream. This is true for local communities as well as for many conservation initiatives. In many countries in Africa, communities are sustainably managing their natural resources and contributing significantly to global conservation efforts. However, these efforts are primarily dependent on tourism, including trophy hunting, to generate the necessary income to do so. New approaches are needed to enable communities to earn critical income and other benefits while also maintaining wildlife sustainably. 

What do you mean when you refer to ‘wildlife’? Is this only about animals?

We use the term ‘wildlife’ in a broad sense that includes wild animals and plants. We encourage creative thinking, so ideas that apply to this challenge may focus on animals or any other aspect of the natural world. 

What is the objective of this call? Is it improving community livelihoods? Or is it protecting wildlife? Or improving conditions for wildlife and natural resources?

This call has two interlinked objectives: to improve both community livelihoods and the conditions for wildlife and natural resources to thrive. An essential condition to improve livelihoods is to generate the financial means to enable communities to manage their wildlife, to obtain benefits that exceed the costs of living alongside wildlife (ex: trampled crops, killed livestock and even death), and so to continue choosing to live alongside wildlife and/or natural resources rather than converting natural habitats to other uses. There are many different ways to improve the conditions for wildlife and natural resources: restoring or protecting wildlife (fauna and flora), using natural resources in sustainable ways (land, forests, water, energy, minerals, etc) or reducing waste and emissions are a few examples. This objective could also include conserving a pristine environment, such as maintaining the forest cover in an area.

How can I be sure that my project improves conditions for wildlife and natural resources? What are the criteria for judging this element of the challenge?

As this challenge is co-organised by WWF, this element is very important for us and we want to set a high standard. It would not be enough to come up with a business idea that generates income and other benefits for communities and does not harm the environment. The idea must have an ambition to improve the current conditions for wildlife and natural resources. Your idea will be judged on the ambition you set out and whether it is feasible.

Why is this only about Africa?

This innovation challenge has a focus on Africa, as it is the focus of work of two of the partnering organisations (African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and WWF Regional Office for Africa). However, we aim to find ideas that have the potential to be replicated in other parts of the world. 

Why are you holding the challenge now?

Each of the partnering organisations had been future-planning for the wildlife conservation of tomorrow before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We had begun exploring opportunities to diversify revenue streams for community-led conservation to reduce reliance on all forms of tourism. The breakdown of the tourism industry as a result of COVID-19 has highlighted the over-dependence on tourism and accelerated our efforts. The wider public has seen firsthand how a singular dependence on tourism revenue can have disastrous consequences for livelihoods and conservation actions in many countries around the world. The risk of over-dependence also applies to conservation initiatives that are largely funded by revenues from ecotourism.

Can I apply alone, as a team or both? 

You may apply as an individual, or as team of up to three people. 

My team includes more than 3 people. Why can’t we apply?

The ALU incubation programme can accommodate teams of up to 3 people. If more people around you want to engage, you can form more than one team, with different ideas.

Can my organisation apply?

No. Only physical persons are eligible for the challenge, as the winners will receive places on the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and this programme is only open to persons rather than organisations. 

If you or someone from your organisation is interested in winning a place on the incubation programme, and have an idea that fits the criteria of the challenge, you are welcome to apply as an individual, or a team of up to three people. 

Why does my idea need to be ‘high-growth’? Shouldn’t it focus on a specific community?

We are looking for ideas that ultimately can generate returns at the scale of tourism (which includes trophy hunting). The reason is that if communities do not benefit from wildlife, they are likely to shift to unsustainable alternatives, such as large scale cropping, livestock management and other non-wildlife-friendly land uses, with irreparable consequences for natural areas. A key problem with many ideas is that they are not scalable. By ‘scalable’ we mean replicable in other locations or having the potential to become a high-growth business. So the idea either needs to have growth potential at the same place, or be a model for somewhere else. We encourage people to think big and more long-term. 

How can a project be simultaneously connected to a local community but also scalable to communities around the world? 

It may well be that the same idea could be replicated elsewhere with adjustments for different local contexts and requirements. For example, the concept of payment for ecosystem services is used in different geographies, with different services and contexts. 

Is this challenge mainly focused on southern and eastern Africa, or the whole of Africa?

The challenge is aimed at improving livelihoods for rural communities that live adjacent to wildlife across the whole continent of Africa.

Who are the judges?

All eligible applications will be evaluated by a panel of experts from the partnering organisations and key external experts with a track record in business development.

What are the judging criteria?

Ideas will be judged based on the five selection criteria outlined in the Application Details section of the challenge homepage. These criteria are reflected by eight detailed questions on the application form. Each of the five criteria is of equal importance. Diversity, gender inclusivity and social equity should be guiding principles for all successful ideas.

What happens to my idea if it is not chosen? Do you keep the rights to my idea?

The intellectual property rights to your idea remain with you. Only the reviewers will read your submission. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further details. 

Why are communities mentioned so often in this call? 

Communities play an essential role in the conservation of nature. An estimated 65% of the world is under some form of community governance and/or management (Rights and Resources Initiative, 2015); some estimate this coincides with areas holding 80% of the planet’s biodiversity (WWF, 2019). There are many successful examples of community-based conservation in Africa, where human wellbeing and the state of nature have both been improved through sustainable community management. However, the existing examples are primarily reliant on tourism.

I don’t have much/any experience in the environment sector. Can I still apply?

Yes, please do! We encourage people from all sectors to apply. Ideally, you have a team of people with backgrounds in different sectors. If you apply as an individual, before submitting your idea, you should aim to consult with people who can give you advice on aspects of the application that may be outside of your own expertise.

I have an idea relating to virtual/digital tourism. Can I apply?

Yes. Beyond Tourism in Africa excludes every form of tourism that requires the physical presence of the tourist in the destination. However, if you have an idea relating to virtual or digital tourism that does not require people to travel to a destination, please apply. 

Will you accept tech-based ideas for scalable tech companies?

Technology-based solutions will be considered. In your application, ensure that you explain how compatible the technology is with the target community. As with all ideas, we are keen to know whether the local community has played a role in the design of the solution. 

How many ideas will be chosen/awarded?

Between five and 15. 

How much seed money will be awarded to winning ideas?

During the incubation programme, participants might receive a grant of up to US$10,000 from the organisers as early seed money. 

How can I access funding through this challenge? 

The purpose of this challenge is not direct funding. Rather, the challenge seeks to find and incubate new ideas. The selected applicants will receive places on the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money during this programme. If you have an idea that fits the criteria of the challenge, and are interested in incubating this idea into a viable business with the help of professionals during an eight-month, online study programme, please apply.

Will there be any second/third/runner-up awards?

Between five and 15 successful ideas will be chosen, and all of these will receive the same awards: a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money. There are no further awards beyond this.


What does the African Leadership University’s incubation programme entail?

The ALU School of Wildlife Conservation Incubator Programme is an 8-month part-time and virtual experience that supports teams with innovative and impactful ideas for wildlife conservation. Using our unique model, this programme transforms your ideas into a viable business. 

Through our incubator, we support high-potential entrepreneurs with a drive to transform Africa through impactful and ethical ventures. For this particular cohort, our focus is on community-led, innovative and impactful ideas that derive income from wildlife and manage natural resources sustainably.

Our programme provides access to life-long learning and a community of peers, mentors and potential investors. At the end of the programme, all participants would be expected to successfully launch a venture with the opportunity for potential investment.

When does the programme commence?

The programme begins on Monday, 1 February 2021.

What are the main courses of the programme?

Our programme has three main modules: (1) Evaluating your Idea, (2) Building a Solution, and (3) Preparing for Launch. Below is a sneak peek into our programme structure:

What is the time commitment of the programme?

Each participant is expected to commit 3-5 hours weekly for the duration of the programme.

Do I need to attend the programme in person?

No. The programme is fully online and includes resources shared via a learning management system (a combination of articles and videos for participants to go through); live sessions with peers, mentors, and experts; and engagement activities (e.g. forum discussions, demo pitches, and peer feedback sessions).

In any given week, all these activities should take an average of 4 hours. This programme is designed such that participants spend more time actually building their ideas than going through content.

If a team is chosen, do all members of the team attend the programme together or just the team leader?

The whole team attends the programme, whether individually for a team of one, or together for teams of two or three. For this reason, teams can have a maximum of three people.

What happens after the programme finishes?

There will be a demo day to close out the programme. Successful teams will have the opportunity to compete for $10,000 in seed funding and pitch their idea to a group of investors. 

More questions?

For specific questions regarding the ALU incubator, please contact:

If you have a question about the application process that was not answered above, please get in touch:

Go back to the Beyond Tourism in Africa homepage.


Applications open for Beyond Tourism in Africa innovation challenge

Do you have an idea that could transform the way communities obtain benefits from wildlife? 

Together with our partners, the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and WWF Regional Office for Africa, we are delighted to announce that applications are now open for the Beyond Tourism in Africa innovation challenge. 

With this challenge, we are seeking ideas that could help transform rural communities in Africa through innovative sources of income from wildlife that go beyond tourism. Participants have the chance to win a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money for their idea.

The purpose of Beyond Tourism in Africa is to find solutions that allow for the protection of nature while also providing sustainable livelihoods and economic resilience to the communities who manage land or live in close proximity to wildlife. One of the key selection criteria is that applicants must demonstrate their strong links to the geographic context of their idea. The community or communities the idea aims to help are and should be integral to this process.

Through the challenge, we hope to address a growing dependence on tourism revenue among rural communities in Africa, particularly in funding conservation efforts. The global shutdown caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the vulnerability of communities reliant solely on tourism and has accelerated the need for innovative solutions. 

Anyone with a bold idea for a sustainable way to derive income from wildlife may apply. Applications from people within the African continent, from those with strong ties to wildlife-adjacent communities anywhere in Africa and from those with non-traditional conservation backgrounds are encouraged.

Apply Now

For further details and to apply online visit:

Application period: 1 September – 15 October 2020 11:59PM CEST

We will be holding an open webinar on 10 September 2020, where you can learn more about the challenge, ask questions and hear from a lineup of inspiring speakers. More info and registration.


Please read the FAQ first.

To get in touch with the challenge team or to provide funding to enhance the project’s reach and impact and contribute to the future of conservation, email:

Connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn!


Beyond Tourism in Africa: Luc Hoffmann Institute and partners to host innovation challenge for wildlife-adjacent communities in Africa

The Luc Hoffmann Institute, the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and the WWF Regional Office for Africa have teamed up to host Beyond Tourism in Africa, a new innovation challenge that seeks to identify, incubate and promote innovative sources of income for rural communities in countries in Africa. The Beyond Tourism in Africa challenge seeks ideas for new revenue streams from wildlife beyond tourism, while also helping local communities manage their natural resources sustainably and improving their collective wellbeing.

Participants have the chance to win a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money.

Background: the vulnerability of tourism

Over the past 30 years, conservation across the African continent has become heavily dependent on tourism for revenue – especially photographic tourism and trophy hunting. However, tourism is vulnerable in a myriad of ways, a fact highlighted by the global shutdown of travel caused by COVID-19.

The Beyond Tourism in Africa project emerged from a project initiated by WWF and the Luc Hoffmann Institute in March 2019 to look for revenue opportunities for community-based conservation that are not dependent on tourism or hunting. This work stemmed from a recognition of the threats to a conservation model that is heavily reliant on tourism-based income. 

The first outcome of the project was a report, conducted by IIED / IUCN SULi, to inventory the range of existing non-tourism/hunting initiatives. The initial findings were presented at the ALU Business for Conservation Conference in September 2019 to entrepreneurs, financial experts and conservation professionals.

The collapse of tourism around the world because of the pandemic has shown this thinking to be prescient and accelerated the project’s pace, as the need for diverse revenue streams in Africa and elsewhere has become urgent.

Innovation challenge: when and how to apply

Beyond Tourism in Africa seeks innovators from around the world to submit ideas or business concepts that could provide new, non-tourism-based revenue from wildlife. The project’s ambition is to transform the way local communities derive benefits for the conservation of wildlife.

People from non-traditional conservation and alternative sectors, and those with strong ties to rural communities in Africa are encouraged to apply. Applicants may apply as individuals, or in teams of up to three people.

When to apply: 1 September to 15 October 2020
How to apply: online via the application portal at

For more information about the innovation challenge, or to provide funding, get in touch: or find us on social media at #BeyondTourismAfrica.

project timeline What we are working on now

Beyond Tourism in Africa

How can local communities continue to benefit from wildlife if neither tourism nor trophy hunting are viable options? Over the past 30 years, tourism has funded conservation activities in many countries, especially in the wildlife rich countries in Africa. Photographic tourism and trophy hunting have provided significant benefits to rural communities who share their land with wildlife. 

However, all forms of tourism are extremely vulnerable to social, economic or political instability and changes in the international market. The shock to the tourism sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the vulnerability of a conservation model based primarily on tourism.  


To prepare for a future in which communities might no longer be able to derive benefits from tourism, the Luc Hoffmann Institute is working with partners to identify, incubate and promote innovative ways of providing communities with income from wildlife, while managing their natural resources sustainably and improving their collective wellbeing. 

Who we are working with

Related SDGs

Explore the impacts


March 2019

Melissa de Kock, Senior Advisor at WWF-Norway for Conservation, Climate and Communities, suggests that the Luc Hoffmann Institute incubate an idea based on her work supporting community conservation in southern Africa. With climate change impacting wildlife and shocks to the tourism industry caused by disease outbreaks, it is becoming more urgent to “look beyond tourism and hunting for community benefits” to retain communities’ commitment and tolerance for wildlife management.

May 2019

The Luc Hoffmann Institute and WWF-Norway commission a study by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods (IUCN SULi) network to explore models for supporting wildlife conservation on community lands with a focus on southern and eastern Africa.


September 2019

The Luc Hoffmann Institute and WWF-Norway engage with and challenge innovators directly at the Business of Conservation Conference in Africa. Ideas and leads are gathered to include in an upcoming analysis publication.


10 September 2020

‘GOING BEYOND TOURISM IN AFRICA: Diversifying Community Livelihoods from Wildlife’ webinar is held, featuring an informational session about the innovation challenge and live Q&A, as well as short inspirational talks by Alice Ruhweza (Director, WWF Regional Office for Africa), Gautam Shah (Founder, Internet of Elephants) and Fred Swaniker (CEO and Founder of the African Leadership Group).

Watch the full webinar here


Identify and encourage promising new ideas and approaches with the potential to transform the landscape of conservation.

Timeline ends here

Related Reading

Looking beyond hunting and tourism for community benefits  
A thought piece by Melissa de Kock, WWF-Norway Senior Advisor: Conservation, Climate and Communities.

Diversifying local livelihoods while sustaining wildlife 
A review of 130 business models that provide some form of income to rural communities from wildlife and other natural resources and its associated Inventory of incentives for community-based conservation