An innovation challenge for wildlife-adjacent communities in Africa

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18 August 2020

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

Find us on social media at #BeyondTourismAfrica.

Want to get in touch?

Email the project team at
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