United by a passion for nature, culture and community, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation is strongly linked to conservation across Africa
Wherever possible when on expedition, we assist game rangers and anti-poaching units with humanitarian needs and work alongside conservation agencies throughout Africa, helping to foster good relationships with neighbouring communities. Two examples are the Boundless Southern Africa expedition, which spread a positive transfrontier conservation message to hundreds of communities in eight southern African countries, and the Heart of Africa expedition, which raised awareness of elephant poaching in the rainforests of the Congo Basin.
Instilling a passion for wildlife in the hearts and minds of today’s youth is our driving focus and in 2013, the Izintaba Zobombo expedition launched the Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s Community Conservation Education programme.
‘Let the children’s voices be heard’
The objective is clear: using art and soccer, to gather the largest number of children’s voices ever recorded in support of rhinos and to use these ‘hearts and minds’ messages as a worldwide call to action against rhino poaching.
In partnership with Project Rhino and a host of donors, volunteers and supporters, Rhino Art has now reached over 400,000 young people in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. It has become South Africa’s most comprehensive youth-focussed rhino conservation education programme ever.
Rhino Art is not a colouring competition; it is a lesson-on-a-page that not only teaches, but also listens to and records the perspectives of children. The heartfelt messages showcase their awareness of rhino poaching and the involvement of criminal syndicates, as well as a range of perspectives on biodiversity and conservation. It is also an excellent method for game reserves wanting to build good relations with their neighbouring communities.
“We value the positive impact that Rhino Art has on the local community schools surrounding the Manyoni Private Game Reserve, teaching them about the effects of wildlife conflict. By planting seeds into the young minds of our future generations we will empower the youth to make educated decisions when confronted with our wildlife.”
Frances Hannah, Manyoni Private Game Reserve/Zululand Conservation Trust
The Rhino Art campaign has become a major project, extending to other African countries affected by rhino poaching and internationally, including Vietnam, one of the main Asian countries driving the senseless demand for rhino horn. It formed part of the launch of the President Joaquim Chissano Wildlife Crime Initiative in Maputo, which was the forerunner to the April 2014 announcement by Mozambique of tougher wildlife crime laws. In September 2014, the Rhino Art campaign initiated the inaugural World Youth Rhino Summit held in the symbolic Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, which saved the Southern White Rhino from extinction in the 1960s. At his last public appearance, renowned rhino conservationist Dr Ian Player addressed the 150 youth delegates from all over the world and leading conservation experts with these words: ‘If we do not hand the baton of conservation over to the youth, we are doomed’. It also initiated the World Youth Wildlife Declaration that has garnered thousands of messages of support from children and celebrities world-wide, and which was taken by Rhino Art youth ambassadors to Vietnam to educate their Vietnamese peers on the looming decimation of Africa’s rhinos because of Asian demand.
Hundreds of schools and youth organisations – including the Scouts – continue to take part in the Rhino Art programme every year.
Building on the success of the Rhino Art conservation education campaign, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation launched the Elephant Art programme in 2015. With the support of volunteer partners in key elephant regions, the project is now active in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya and Chad. The aim is to reach 100,000 youth in the next three years.
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