Announcing the winners of the Beyond Tourism in Africa Innovation Challenge

The Luc Hoffmann Institute, the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and WWF Regional Office for Africa are pleased to announce the winners of the Beyond Tourism in Africa innovation challenge. 

The challenge, which ran from 1 September to 15 October 2020, sought new ideas for innovative sources of income from nature that go beyond tourism. Winners receive a place in the African Leadership University’s incubator programme, which commences in February 2021. The 8-month, virtual programme is a crucial next stage that will take participants from idea phase to building viable, investment-ready businesses.

About the innovation challenge

We sought solutions that would 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. We believe that the winning ideas have potential to develop into successful projects or businesses that reduce some of the dependence on tourism revenue in funding conservation efforts. These ideas come at a critical time when the global shutdown caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the vulnerability of communities reliant solely on tourism.

More than 300 applications were submitted to the challenge by individuals and teams from across the continent of Africa and around the world. There were 54 nationalities represented (a majority of them in Africa), and a vast age range from 16 to 87! The ideas submitted showed ingenuity, passion to address environmental and poverty issues, and drive for sustainable development. 

The applications went through a rigorous judging process involving a review by a diverse panel (see list of panel members at bottom) with a range of expertise, from community-based conservation and business development to entrepreneurship. The review panel was faced with a tough choice from among many inspiring applications. 

The Luc Hoffmann Institute, the African Leadership University and WWF Regional Office for Africa together extend our congratulations to the winners and a warm welcome to the African Leadership University’s incubator programme. We look forward to seeing how these ideas develop into viable projects that effect important positive change for communities across Africa.

Beyond Tourism in Africa – Winning Ideas

(listed alphabetically by idea name)

Community-led virtual classroom for nature-based field education
Idea: Building an online platform whereby individuals and groups in local communities can provide lessons live ‘from the field’ in ecology, culture, conservation and sustainable resource use, aimed at global audiences such as individuals, schools and universities. The project will enable cross-cultural interactions by including the histories, mythologies and spiritual worlds local people share with their environment, and elevating indigenous voices and perspectives.
Team Members: Marina Khoza, Karen Vickers
Team Countries: South Africa, Canada
Local Community: TBD

Dancing away to improve livelihoods and promote conservation
Idea: Community knowledge of the environment is preserved and propagated by music and dance. This idea commercialises conservation folklore while simultaneously amplifying local knowledge about wildlife by identifying, recording and performing cultural songs and other folklore for a profit channelled back into local community projects.
Team Members: Joanna Hill, Tutilo Mudumba
Team Countries: Uganda, UK
Local Community: Murchison Falls National Park

ForestPesa: A micro-payments marketplace for micro-forest owners
Idea: A pay-for-success mobile marketplace that would allow micro-forest owners to directly exchange their verified carbon with local and international carbon buyers, with the aim of supporting micro-forest owners in the protection, propagation and conservation of indigenous trees.
Team: Robert Ddamulira, Judith Chatiza
Team Countries: Uganda, Zimbabwe
Local Community: Mabira Forest Reserve 

Funding community conservation via sponsorship of identifiable plots
Idea: Donors support and fund habitat protection by sponsoring identifiable plots of land (locatable via an existing third-party app), creating additional revenue streams for communities that are setting aside land for wildlife.
Team Members: Mod Masedi, Ben Heermans, Dr J.W. Tico McNutt
Team Countries: Botswana, US
Local Community: Western Okavango Delta

Global payments encouraging local-conservation effort using blockchain
Idea: Enable global payments using blockchain technology to create an accessible market for conservation-effort credits that encourage community conservation and reduce poverty. The initiative proposes a three-pronged monitoring model (tree coverage, animal wildlife occupancy and biodiversity soundscape saturation) to meet global biodiversity objectives.
Team Members: Mark Gerrard, Simon Morgan, Gavin Erasmus
Team Country: South Africa
Local Community: TBD

Home of the Gorillas
Idea: Generating non-trekking revenues to fund gorilla conservation and support local communities by developing a subscription-based mobile app that enables users around the world to engage with gorillas through activities like virtual interaction, celebrating gorilla milestones and local community e-commerce.
Team Members: David Gonahasa, Fidelis Kanyamunyu
Team Country: Uganda
Local Community: Bwindi

Integrating technology and conservation rewards to support African youth
Idea: Develop a resilient, equitable economy near Kruger National Park through ‘conservation currency’ via a smartphone app. The app would utilise locally-tailored awards to engage community youth in conservation activities that also promote local businesses and goods, thereby creating subsistence and long-term employment opportunities.
Team Members: Matt Lindenberg
Team Country: South Africa
Local Community: Kruger National Park

Landscape wildlife business model for the Baviaanskloof Bewarea
Idea: To demonstrate the link between natural capital and financial capital through direct investment in game by establishing populations of indigenous herbivores for rewilding, breeding and off-take towards the game-meat industry, thereby incentivising improved natural habitat management.
Team Members: Justine Rudman, Luyanda Luthuli, Justin Gird
Team Country: South Africa
Local Community: Baviaanskloof Bewarea

MN Foods – Conservation Condiments
Idea: Training and equipping women farmers in conservation areas to grow and develop chilli condiments in buffer zones of national parks, creating alternative revenue channels from which a percentage of profits are returned to the community in the form of input loans and additional farmer support.
Team Members: Marjorie Nanteza, Esther Nantambi
Team Country: Uganda
Local Communities: Bwindi; Kibale National Park

Processing and selling 100% natural Obudu honey
Idea: Obudu Mountain Farms’ Obudu Honey is a social enterprise that would work collaboratively with local beekeepers to produce natural honey through eco-friendly practices, with a focus on creating sustainable livelihoods for women and youth farmers. A percentage of the generated revenue would be committed to protecting local wildlife.
Team Members: Nela Duke Ekpenyong, Kevin Eyos
Team Country: Nigeria
Local Community: Obudu Plateau

Production and marketing of endemic Malagasy plants consumed by lemurs
Idea: This idea is to generate a sustainable source of income for local communities through endemic plants of southwest Madagascar. Germination of a number of these plants is accelerated when their seeds have passed through the digestive tract of a lemur. This project will set up a collection and marketing plan for these seeds, thereby contributing to the restoration of several degraded habitats and helping protect plant species.
Team Members: NY AINA RASOLOFOHERISOA Tiana Ravoniriana Tahina, ANDRIANJATOVO Onjaniaina Olivia Fabrice 
Team Country: Madagascar
Local Community: Itampolo

Rewilding African rangelands to improve socio-economic resilience
Idea: This idea will galvanise the long-term viability of sustainable wildlife economies by quantifying soil carbon credits and connecting communities to global carbon markets and impact investors, facilitating access to global carbon markets to incentivise and offset the costs of the rewilding of rangelands.
Team Members: Matthew Child, Tyron Fouche, Alexander Child
Team Country: South Africa
Local Community: South Africa

Role of Bees in Income Generation and Environmental Sustainability
Idea: Create income generation and encourage community engagement in environmental protection by training local beekeepers in sustainable practices, investment in sustainable hives and equipment, and a programme of marketing literacy. The project would promote environmental sustainability and social inclusion, with a focus on empowering young people and women.
Team Members: Mariama Satu Kargbo, Aminata Serry
Team Country: Sierra Leone
Local Community: Outamba Kilimi National Park

Shaba
Idea: This innovation would use a mobile and internet-powered platform to connect local decor artisans and fashion designers to the international market, with an integrated digital cultural hub that would empower these communities to tell their own stories about their cultures and relationships with nature and wildlife. 
Team Members: Gloria Kisilu
Team Country: Kenya
Local Community: Maasai and Samburu

The Cultural Marketplace
Idea: The Cultural Marketplace will be an e-commerce platform of artisan products, virtual tourism and educational experiences that will bridge the gap between global buyers and local artisans and communities. Products will be marketed to highlight the vendor’s links to sustainability and conservation and profits will go to the Impact Fund to directly support conservation initiatives.
Team Members: Gosaitse Lekoko, Debora Duarte, Ruth Stewart
Team Countries: Botswana, Angola, UK
Local Community: KAZA region

Review Panel

African Leadership University: Elizabeth Babalola, Elizabeth Gitari-Mitaru, Julia Pierre-Nina, Sue Snyman 
WWF: Melissa De Kock, Richard Diggle, Peter Scheren
Luc Hoffmann Institute: Adrian Dellecker, Elisabeth Losasso

Questions?

For further information regarding the African Leadership University’s incubator programme, please contact sowc+incubator@alueducation.com.

For media queries, get in touch with Megan Eaves, Communication Manager at meaves@wwfint.org.

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