Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking have reached unprecedented levels in sub-Saharan Africa. The decimation of the continent’s elephant population is staggering, with estimates indicating that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes—possibly leading this iconic species to a highly endangered existence within the next decade. Last year alone, some 36,000 African elephants were slaughtered to fuel the illicit ivory trade, with potentially far-reaching impacts that could destroy the economic and social development of thousands of people and communities.
In response to this crisis, under the USAID-funded PREPARED Project, SSG Advisors is facilitating a new partnership in Kenya and Tanzania that utilizes information and communications technology (ICT) to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and coordination of anti-poaching campaigns from the community level to enforcement level, and drive public and government support to ongoing anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs.
The ICT revolution in Africa is already underway. In the last decade, mobile technology has produced large-scale advances in several development sectors as telecom carriers and other ICT companies have entered partnerships that improve health, agriculture, education, and human rights by radically increasing access to information and finance. However, in spite of these advances, conservation has yet to fully harness the capabilities of ICT in Africa.
SSG is collaborating closely with key conservation organizations, including the Africa Wildlife Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and helping bring together a wide range of potential partners from telecom companies, data analytics firms, and major hoteliers, as well as government enforcement agencies.
On January 30 and 31, key stakeholders met in a facilitated forum in Nairobi to identify needs, resources, and roles to launch pilot activities in priority regions. The forum served as a tailored workshop to frame an overall strategy toward development of an anti-poaching technology platform. The discussion focused on roles, responsibilities, resources, implementation, and expected results of the platform. In the next months, SSG will work toward formalizing the partnership with a Memorandum of Understanding and rolling out pilots in Kenya and Tanzania.