On May 5, we honored African World Heritage Day, a holiday dedicated to raising international awareness about Africa’s rich heritage and history. The African continent is home to some of the world’s most biodiverse landscapes — including numerous World Heritage Sites — and the continent’s natural and cultural diversity are unmatched, but so are many of the challenges. Of the 54 World Heritage Sites in danger, over 20 are located across Africa. Climate change, rapid industrialization, and unabated poaching have all taken their toll on the ecological integrity of some of the Africa’s most critical landscapes and species populations. As a founding member of the Africa World Heritage Site Support Network, African Wildlife Foundation has a long history of protecting these threatened sites like Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo, and Simien National Park in Ethiopia. When Simien was added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996, it was suffering from significant population declines of the Ethiopian wolf and Walia Ibex and park degradation. AWF worked closely with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority to reduce exploitation of the park’s natural resources, and in 2017, Simien Mountains National Park was removed from the list of imperiled sites. Find out more about Africa’s unparalleled World Heritage Sites.
Research shows wildlife fares better in landscapes where people have access to education. AWF’s Classroom Africa program tackles this challenge by providing a quality education to rural communities. But truly empowering children and communities with education opportunities, and protecting natural resources in the process, goes far beyond just building a school. Find out how we ensure long-term success.