Brooke CharityAround the world, over 100 million working horses, donkeys and mules, provide invaluable support to nearly eight percent of the world’s population. Through transportation, haulage and production, healthy working horses, donkeys and mules help put food on the table, send children to school and build better futures for their families. The Brooke charity has made it their mission to look out for these unsung heroes of poverty-ridden communities. Here are five things to know about the Brooke charity:

What is Brooke?

According to their website, “Brooke is an international animal welfare charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules.” With operations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, they reach over two million working horses, donkeys and mules across the globe. Their staff of over 900 people consists of vets, animal welfare experts and development specialists.

What do they do?

Brooke protects and improves the lives of equines that bolster the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest communities. Animals cannot better their own welfare but people can. Brooke works with communities to provide the skills and support necessary to unlock their compassion for animals and reap the benefit it brings to their livelihoods. The charity partners with local health services and farriers to strengthen the skills of owners so they can get their animals the help they need timely and effectively. Brooke provides support for long-lasting change by working with international bodies such as the U.N. and governments at all levels.

How has Brooke evolved?

In 1930, when Dorothy Brooke arrived in Egypt, she was appalled at the state of the ex-warhorses being sold into a life of hard labor at the conclusion of World War I. Within three years, Dorothy Brooke had purchased 5,000 ex-warhorses. Most were old, exhausted and had to be humanely put down though, thanks to her, they ended their lives peacefully.

Brooke knew many hard-working horses, donkeys and mules still suffered. In 1934, she founded the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo to provide free veterinary care for all the city’s working equines. Thus, the Brooke Hospital for Animals was born.

Fast forward 85 years to the present time, when Brooke leads the way in providing help to working equines and their owners in the developing world. They met their goal to reach two million working horses, donkeys and mules in 2016 in 11 countries, and continue to strive for greater impact around the world.

Why does their work matter?

Working equines transport people, move goods and deliver food and water. In some countries, up to six people rely on a single animal for survival. This means that in many of the world’s poorest regions, human welfare is inextricably linked to the welfare of working horses, donkeys, and mules. A healthier animal enables its owner to increase their income and improve living conditions. Given that approximately 80 percent of animal suffering is preventable, Brooke is doing all they can to ensure well-fed and looked after working animals can continue to keep millions of people out of extreme poverty.

What are the potential weaknesses of this organization?

While traditional working equine welfare programs have had some success in improving welfare and alleviating poverty, they have significant drawbacks. Providing vet or farrier care is expensive, can lead to a culture of dependency and often fails to reach all members of a community. Outreach education work can increase awareness but does not always create the behavioral changes needed for stable incomes and sustainable animal welfare.

Developing communities that depend on equines can largely benefit from the improved standards of living delivered by simple, effective programs that promote animal welfare at the community level. With a new or better understanding of the needs of their horses, donkeys or mules, people are empowered to change their behaviors and sustainably increase their income. This contributes to any developing community’s ultimate goal: a movement out of poverty.

– GiGi Hogan
Photo: Flickr

Decrease Poverty in BeninTourism is the second-fastest-growing industry in the world, but it is an untapped resource in many countries, including Benin. Benin is a small West African country and one of the poorest in Africa, but it does have one of the best wildlife reserves in West Africa. As a result, the country has exceptional tourism potential, which can help decrease poverty in Benin. However, protecting its wildlife is essential to achieving that goal.

Benin’s Potential for Tourism

Around 40 percent of Benin’s population lives in poverty. Tourism can thus help because it does not only increase gross domestic product. According to the World Bank, Benin’s natural landscapes and cultural attractions give them an advantage by both creating jobs across a range of skill sets and opening new markets for various businesses and entrepreneurs. This helps decrease poverty in Benin by further developing the country and generating shared wealth.

However, tourism and national parks in Africa are nearly symbiotic. Poaching doesn’t just threaten wildlife, it threatens tourism. Popular tourist destinations and National Parks in Africa tend to be East African countries, such as Tanzania’s Serengeti or Botswana’s Kalahari Desert. Botswana’s tourism sector makes up 8.9 percent of the country’s job market, creating 84,000 jobs, and generating $2.52 billion in 2018. Benin has one of the highest conservation land ratios in Africa, but Benin’s Pendjari National Park is one of the last intact and richest wildlife reserves in West Africa.

The park is home to lions, elephants and leopards as well as endangered species, such as the giant pangolin, African wild dogs and the Jabiru Senegal. However, tourism in Benin accounts for only 0.7 percent of the country’s GDP, generating well below its potential at $197 million, and making up 5.6 percent of the job market. Instead, Benin’s economy relies on agriculture, accounting for 26.1 percent of the country’s GDP, although the weather in Benin can be unpredictable.

Plans to Expand Tourism

To expand economic development and decrease poverty in Benin, the Beninese government started the Government Action Program (GAP) in 2016 and passed a public-private partnership law in 2017 to attract foreign investors. The goal is to improve infrastructure, education, agriculture and tourism. Through seven major tourism projects under GAP, Benin plans to increase its tourism GDP to 10 percent by 2021. One project includes protecting and rehabilitating Pendjari Park.

In partnership with African Parks, a nongovernmental organization that manages 11 national parks and reserves in eight African countries, the Beninese government plans to double the wildlife population in Pendjari Park and increase the average six-thousand visitors to nine thousand, but the task is only possible if Benin can protect its wildlife from poachers.

Canine Heroes

Throughout West Africa, poachers kill rhinos, pangolins and elephants to smuggle to Asian and European markets. This is where canines play a vital role in combating poaching and therefore protecting wildlife, tourism and the economy to decrease poverty in Benin.

In Tanzania, tracker dogs are used to combat poaching by finding wounded animals and tracking down poachers. Botswana has been a prime example of wildlife conservation, winning the war against poachers with their Canines for Conservation program and some of the harshest anti-poaching laws, which helped mitigate elephant losses seen in neighboring countries. Elephants from Angola, Namibia and Zambia were seen retreating to Botswana for safety, but when the government disarmed anti-poaching units in 2018, the country lost 87 elephants and five white rhinos to poachers just months later. Poaching in Botswana has been on the rise ever since, not only threatening wildlife but potentially tourism in Botswana.

One of the biggest animal welfare and conservation charities, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), helped establish the Sniffer Dog Project in Benin to help stop poaching in Benin. These dogs are trained to detect animal parts at prime smuggling locations, such as airports, border crossings and the border of protected habitats. Before IFAW, there were no established dog detection training programs in West Africa; now there are eight canine detection units.

In January 2018, African Parks, National Geographic, the Beninese Government and the Wyss Foundation—a charity dedicated to protecting natural habitats—invested $23.4 million to protect Pendjari Park. Because of the vast potential of Benin’s tourism industry, decreasing poverty in Benin lies not only in agriculture, education and technology, but its rich history, iconic landscapes and wildlife.

– Emma Uk
Photo: Google Images


Poverty Stray dogsActivism towards global poverty tends to focus on the different aspects of human welfare rather than animal welfare. Yet, many animal rights activists have raised concerns about how developing countries deal with feral dogs living close to human populations. As these animals can both attack and spread diseases to humans, governments must figure out methods to control stray dogs and their population growth in order to protect their citizens. Many of these methods promote cruelty towards dogs and/or have no effect upon them and their population.

Adoption as a Method to Control Stray Dogs

In the United States, shelters control stray dogs by capturing them and allowing families to adopt them into loving homes. It may seem as though this method can transfer to other countries (and many have tried) but cultural differences prevent its effectiveness. The concept of dog ownership differs from country to country. Though some changes have recently occurred, the adoption of street dogs does not often factor into the norm.

While citizens of the United States can adopt dogs from overseas, the process has many dangers. With the failure of quarantine and vaccination procedures, dogs can spread dangerous diseases from overseas. Also, bringing in foreign dogs can deny native dogs the chance for a loving home.


Too many countries promote and carry out the mass-culling of dogs in an attempt to curb the stray dog population. Readers might recall the 2014 scandal in which the city of Sochi poisoned hundreds of dogs in preparation of the Winter Olympics. In places such as India, citizens kill stray dogs every day through cruel methods such as electrocution.

Killing dogs might seem as justifiable as killing any wild animal in self-defense and the defense of others, and perhaps the introduction of more humane methods of euthanasia might solve the ethical conundrum of human welfare versus dog welfare. Yet, even humane euthanasia has very little effect upon the stray population. India has attempted to control stray dogs through culling programs for decades and still has the highest stray dog population of any country.

Furthermore, the ethics of euthanasia tend to recommend using euthanasia as a last resort. While euthanasia can remove a dog from a desperate situation, humans should attempt to intervene in health, environmental and behavioral issues first. Only in the failure of these inventions can the act of euthanasia become justified.

Capture, Neuter, Vaccination and Release

Vaccination and Capture, Neuter and Release programs (some programs combine the two) seem the most effective when dealing with the most common issues of stray dogs. Vaccinating stray dogs against diseases should cause them to not spread diseases to humans. Neutering dogs should cause a decrease in the dog population. The data of such programs backs up these claims.

A 1983 rabies vaccination program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) caused rabies rates to drop 93 percent between 1982 and 2003 in Latin America. Other programs in Tanzania reduced the rabies rate by 93 percent.

As for neutering programs, Jaipur, India decreased the dog density of the state by a third in 1994 and 1995. A program in the island nation of Abaco saw the number of dogs seen in the street reduced by 50-75 percent. The stray dogs in these programs also showed an improvement of health and welfare, having “improved coat luster and quality, improved skin conditions, and fewer parasites and venereal tumors.”

Yet despite the proven success of these programs, they still have limitations for wide-spread reach. Often in developing countries, veterinarians do not have the training or experience in small animal medicine and surgery. Citizens also can have misgivings with wanting to spay their pets or cannot reach the program locations. On top of that, organizations can have difficulty accessing the necessary resources and funds.

Though no method to control stray dogs works perfectly, some do work better both in the ethical and practical sense. In the future, perhaps innovation will make the practical methods more accessible to the places that need them. For now, the efforts made have great success.

– Elizabeth Frerking

Photo: Flickr

How Eating Less Meat Can Reduce Poverty
Many scientists have agreed that Earth’s maximum carrying capacity is between 9 and 10 billion people. The world is rapidly approaching this limit; the global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

Poverty, water and food scarcity and environmental destruction are already major issues which an increase of nearly 2.5 billion people will severely exacerbate. How can the world cope with these crises? One solution is eating fewer animal products.

Eating less meat can reduce poverty and hunger, and benefit the environment. There are economic and health benefits to plant-based diets. The average American consumes 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry a year; this is roughly double the amount the government recommends.

The amount of eggs and dairy being consumed is also much higher than recommended. Although becoming vegan or vegetarian are the most effective options, even lowering consumption to the recommended guidelines could have a huge impact.

The Negative Effects of Animal Agriculture

Agricultural production uses 38 percent of Earth’s land, or about 3.5 billion acres; nearly 80 percent of this is used for animal agriculture. These 3.5 billion acres can produce enough food for 10 billion vegetarians, but only 2.5 billion Americans who eat meat, as more than half of the world’s harvest is used to feed animals instead of people.

Though 800 million people do not have enough food, livestock are fed “more than 60 percent of [the world’s] corn and barley, and over 97 percent of [its] soymeal.”

Animal production is also incredibly inefficient. Livestock requires large amounts of land, food, water and energy to produce, yet “take more energy and protein from their feed than they return in form of food for people.” Ten pounds of grain are required to produce one pound of meat; in comparison, land used to grow rice can support 19 times more people than land used to produce eggs.

Though some agricultural land is too arid for plant agriculture, much of it could be used to grow plant-based foods for people instead of for animals. Even if only 10-20 percent of the land currently used for animal agriculture was converted to crop production for humans, this would more than make-up for the loss of meat.

Agriculture also uses great amounts of water — accounting for an astonishing 70 percent of global freshwater consumption — and livestock production accounts for the vast majority. According to the International Water Management Institute, 6000 liters of water is required to produce one kilogram of chicken, more than double the amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of cereals.

Benefits of Plant-Based Diets

Reducing animal product consumption worldwide could greatly reduce the amount of water used, and alleviate the ever-increasing water crisis that various countries face.

In addition, reducing meat consumption could improve the economy. If everyone became vegan, the world would save $1.6 billion by 2050. Industrial agriculture exacerbates poverty in developing nations as it is controlled by large corporations — such big organizations drive local farmers out of business.

In fact, local farmers are either forced to become contract growers for large corporations or move to cities, where they often must resort to working in sweatshops. Either path puts them at great risk of exploitation.

Overcrowding in the cities also drives down wages and leads to a rise in poverty and homelessness. A shift to local, more plant-driven production is more sustainable for local farms and can act to reduce poverty.

The Impact of How Eating Less Meat Can Reduce Poverty

Consuming fewer animal products could reduce world hunger and poverty. The United Nations World Food Council estimates that transferring 10-15 percent of cereals fed to livestock to humans is enough to raise the world’s food supply to feed the current population.

In addition, the International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that reducing the amount of meat consumed by 50 percent in high-income countries could result in 3.6 million fewer malnourished children in developing countries.

Eating less meat can reduce poverty and hunger. This is a choice that every individual can make, a choice that — particularly for middle and upper-class people in developed nations — isn’t too difficult. More stores are starting to carry a variety of plant-based products, many of which are less expensive than meat and dairy.

Small Steps for Great Gains

Scientific research and many doctors also agree that plant-based diets are oftentimes more healthful and nutritious than diets heavy in meat and dairy. Though becoming vegan or vegetarian may not be an option for everyone, reducing the number of animal products you consume could have amazing benefits for impoverished communities, for the environment and for the economy.

– Laura Turner
Photo: Flickr

reducing poverty eliminates poachingPoaching rates have climbed at an alarmingly fast rate. In fact, with continued growth, it is predicted that most of Africa’s vulnerable wildlife will be extinct by the end of the average person’s lifetime. The statistics indicate that there has been a 5,000 percent increase in rhino poaching alone throughout Africa between 2007 and 2011.

Several studies have attempted to determine the main cause of poaching, or illegal hunting, throughout Africa; the main source was found to be poverty. These same studies have shown how reducing poverty eliminates poaching, and stress the necessity to address this serious problem.

Current Efforts to Reduce Poaching

Poaching is a form of income for poor households throughout Africa, and it is especially effective for those who live in rural locations near wildlife preservations. Those who are arrested for poaching activities in national parks were significantly poorer than the rest of their communities, and more likely to live closer to the parks and therefore further from local trading centers.

There have been many strategies put in place to attempt to protect wildlife throughout Africa. Strategically placed rangers on the plains, wildlife preservation parks and punishments for violators are some of the measures that have been taken. However, these have proven ineffective; an average of two rangers are killed each week protecting wildlife, and prison sentences for poachers tend to be less than one month due to costs of food and housing for the inmates. The solution, therefore, resides in stopping poaching at its root: poverty.

Studies Demonstrate That Reducing Poverty Eliminates Poaching

A study by Eli Knapp found that poachers who described themselves as living in absolute poverty admitted killing these animals as a food source. These same people also asserted they would quit poaching permanently if they could earn income through other means. Poorer members of a community tend to poach more fiercely and for a longer period of time than those who merely poach for sport. It is important for these people to not feel so poor in relation to their peers in their community. Merely narrowing the income gap between residents will, in turn, decrease the rate of poaching.

Another study analyzes why people in poverty tend to poach and illuminates how reducing poverty eliminates poaching. Rosaleen Duffy argues that poverty results in a person feeling a lack of power, prestige and voice in their life, and poaching may be a means of seeking status in a community. While poaching is still seen as an illegal activity, in most communities it has become a local custom and brings higher prestige to people.

Poaching not only provides these poor communities with material needs of food and money, but also provides a way to meet non-material goals. Cutting poverty at its source will allow these people to increase their status while also preserving wildlife.

Although there have been many studies showing how reducing poverty eliminates poaching, there are still many other factors at play in this illegal activity. Reducing poverty will not completely eliminate all poaching, but it can drastically decrease the deaths of endangered species and other precious wildlife throughout Africa.

– Adrienne Tauscheck

Photo: Pixabay

60. Thailand Is Fighting to Become a Rabies-Free NationOn August 28, 2017, Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand visited the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva. The purpose of her visit was largely related to her efforts regarding a widespread health concern, as Thailand is fighting to become a rabies-free nation. Princess Mahidol hopes to accomplish this goal in Thailand by 2020, which is line with a broader initiative to eradicate human rabies deaths by 2030.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease that predominantly affects southeast Asia and parts of Africa, but exists worldwide. The disease is transmitted through contact with an infected, warm-blooded animal. While most people are familiar with the transmission occurring by bite, the disease can also spread by saliva on broken skin or through a mucous membrane in the eyes, nose or mouth.

For Thailand, dogs present the greatest rabies threat to humans. There are an estimated 10 million dogs in the country. The National Health Institute suggests that about 10 percent of stray dogs in Bangkok carry the disease. These dogs pose risks to travelers, people who work around animals and playful children alike.

Thailand’s government has taken up this issue in part due to the specific risk rabies poses to the majority of the country’s population living in low-income rural areas. However, treatment with prophylaxis (PEP) is very accessible and affordable. Through mass dog vaccination and treatment of infected humans, Thailand has already succeeded in reducing human rabies cases by 90 percent since the 1980s. According to Chulalongkorn University’s Dr. H. Wilde, the most important next step is to get PEP out to the village level, because that is where Thailand “could save many thousands of lives.”

The villages of Thailand are far away from the hospitals of Bangkok and typically are host to the greatest levels of poverty. On a country-wide level, poverty has significantly decreased in the last 30 years. However, Princess Mahidol has recognized there is still a need for better healthcare among the impoverished. Princess Mahidol is seeking to send mobile units to provide care for people that do not have the means of acquiring treatment in bigger cities. This provision is possible as a direct reflection of the government’s fight against poverty. By focusing on reducing poverty and expanding welfare services, nearly everyone in Thailand is covered by health insurance, which makes the treatment even more accessible and affordable.

Thailand is working to become a rabies-free nation by 2020 and owes much of its success to its continued fight against poverty. By reducing the number of people affected by poverty and expanding welfare services to include broad health insurance, those in Thailand are likely to see the end of rabies soon.

Taylor Elkins

Photo: Flickr

Rabies outbreaks in poor rural areas
Rabies occurs in more than 150 countries in the world. The disease is present on all continents with the exception of Antarctica. Each year, tens of thousands of people die from the infection it causes.

Most of the areas that are affected are in Asia and Africa, and account for over 95 percent of human rabies deaths. The disease occurs mainly in remote rural communities. Rabies outbreaks are rampant among impoverished and vulnerable populations.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease. It is cause by a virus which allows the disease to be transmitted to humans from animals. The disease may affect domestic and wild animals, known carriers include foxes, raccoons, skunks, jackals, mongooses and other wild carnivore host species. However, dogs are the primary sources of human rabies deaths. Rabies is spread to people through close contact with infectious substance such as bites, saliva or scratches. Most people usually become infected after a deep bite or scratch by an infected animal. Upon the onset of the disease developing, the disease is nearly always fatal.

Prevalence in the rural areas is due to the lack of vaccinations. There is low vaccination coverage of dogs, and inability to finance the costs of vaccination for humans. Other factors include poor management of dogs, and in particular the free movement of dogs, which increases their risk of contracting rabies from wildlife.

In terms of policy, rabies is lacking policy formulations to combat rabies throughout developing countries. As a result of the poor level of political commitment and effort to control rabies, there is a lack of understanding how rabies impacts public health and socioeconomic affairs.

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease. Each year over 14 million people receive a post-exposure vaccination to prevent the disease. This vaccination prevents hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths. Other strategies to control the disease consist of controlling the dog population, vaccinating domesticated animals and education about prevention to reduce the number of animal bites. After a bite, immediately cleaning the wound, and immunization within a few hours after contact with the animal can prevent the onset of rabies.

The World Health Organization promotes human rabies prevention through the elimination of rabies in dogs. Their target is for an elimination of human and dog rabies in all Latin American countries by 2015, and South-East Asia by 2020.

Erika Wright

Sources: Iowa State University, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, NIH, WHO
Photo: CNN


While the nation of India has found its own new lease on life as it begins to become heavily industrialized, the furry members of its society are facing some new challenges.

For decades India has struggled with the issue of stray animals, and while cows and elephants are considered holy and treated with respect, the dogs and cats of India are facing a much harder time in their attempts to stay alive.

According to the World Health Organization, there are around 18,000 reported cases of rabies every year in India. In order to remedy this, India’s government had called for the euthanization of India’s stray dogs; however, after much discussion, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has asked many states to hold off on this action and attempted to vaccinate the stray animals against several diseases. Essentially, the AWBI believes that such actions taken against these animals is inhumane, as there is no clear distinguishing factor that determines whether an animal should be put down or vaccinated.

When walking the streets of India, it is very common to see dogs and cats roaming around, but travelers are advised not to pet them or interact with them, as they often find food in waste piles and are thus highly prone to disease and infection. However, many residents have been taking care of these animals for years; these animals are thought to have migrated over along with the original inhabitants of the land, thus creating a very blurry line as to which animals are stray and which have been domesticated. The issue with the current laws is that there is no defining point at which an animal becomes a family member and at which point it is still a stray. Many animal rights groups working alongside citizens have been fighting for this distinction to be made.

For now, the AWBI is advising the government to hold off on any euthanization or vaccination tactics that may be used to reduce the stray animal population. Some experts have proposed the idea of neutering definitively stray dogs and cats, so as to reduce the population. Many experts have made it clear that the key to reducing this issue is to better understand the animals themselves and their behavior. Most healthy animals will not bite or scratch a human unless they feel threatened, so a better understanding of animal behavior will allow citizens to express proper caution when dealing with them.

While the government of India remains at a standstill, citizens and animal rights groups have begun to press for better adoption systems and more definitive lines as to an animals ownership. Euthanization of these animals is effectively going against the Indian Supreme Court ruling against the killing of animals, and harm and cruelty toward animals. Many petitions and protests have been held against this action, but no decision has been reached. There is still a long road ahead for these furry friends, but it looks like there may be a light at the end of this very long tunnel.

Sumita Tellakat

Sources: CNN, BBC
Photo: CNN

Human rights, the environment and animal protection are all causes that The Body Shop Foundation advocates for.

This charitable company works closely with The Body Shop International, a company that sells beauty and makeup products, making many of The Body Shop products an option to donate to charity.

Since 1989, The Body Shop Foundation has been funding and giving money to different projects around the world that focus on working for a social and environmental change.

Besides The Body Shop beauty products, The Body Shop Foundation creates various fundraising activities that allow them to manage their three different grant programs: animal protection, environmental protection and human rights.

In the 2011 values report of The Body Shop International, the foundation’s money, during the years 2009 and 2010, was spent in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Americas and Africa Global.

For this foundation, the natural environment means everything, and fighting to preserve and protect the animals and the environment is an important aspect to conserve the planet. Some of the animal and environment protection organizations that The Body Shop Foundation has supported are PAMS, the World Cetacean Alliance, the Orangutan Foundation and Wateraid, among others.

In the human rights area, The Body Shop Foundation has the belief that all basic rights should be given to everyone. The foundation supports organizations that fight for these means and give a voice to those who do not have one. Some of the human rights organizations that The Body Shop Foundation has supported are Cybersmile, Kaibosh, Changing Faces, Compassionate Hearts and Children on the Edge.

According to the 2014 impact report of The Body Shop Foundation, wildlife conservation, animal welfare, climate change, domestic violence, disability, poverty, child protection, access to water, recycling, forest conservation and water conservation were some of the funded issues by the foundation.

As another option, the foundation also provides volunteer opportunities in the areas of London and Littlehampton as another charitable method to advocate for the humanitarian causes they support.

The Body Shop’s 2015 fundraising product is called “Soft Hands Kind Heart.” The product is a hand cream sold in every The Body Shop store worldwide, and every purchase becomes a donation to The Body Shop Foundation.

For every “Soft Hands Kind Heart” cream sold, The Body Shop will donate £1.50 (US$2.33) to the foundation, helping it with the creation and success of its charitable programs. This beauty and makeup company is making a difference that contributes with the betterment of the world through charitable activities and fundraising projects.

The Body Shop International, working hand in hand with The Body Shop Foundation, is an example of a company that provides and sells quality products to its customers at the same time as it provides donations to the foundation. In tandem, it is also able to support and advocate for their three focuses: human rights, environmental protection and animal protection.

– Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: The Body Shop Foundation 1, The Body Shop Foundation 2, The Body Shop Foundation 3, The Body Shop Foundation 4, The Body Shop Foundation 5, The Body Shop USA
Photo: The Body Shop Foundation

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is home to over 500 gorillas that are changing the face of Rwanda’s communities. A tourism revenue-sharing scheme allows five percent of the annual income in the national park to be distributed among local areas.

Mountain gorillas in Rwanda are an endangered species that can only be found along the borders between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They attracted more than 1 million tourists between the years of 2006 and 2013 and generated $75 million in revenue for the national park system.

With this large amount of money coming in, the Rwandan government created a system where five percent of the national park’s income would be divided among surrounding communities.

According to the Rwanda Development Board, more than 39,000 people have benefited from this program.

Since the program’s conception in 2005, $1.83 million has been distributed to fund 360 community projects across the country. These projects have included things like roadwork, building bridges, bee keeping, water and sanitation projects, handiworks and small and medium enterprises.

Many of these initiatives have had a focus on sustainability. Conservation of nature is a priority for Rwanda, as it has such a positive impact on the country as a whole.

In addition to community projects, the money has been used for various public works. The Rwandan government built 57 primary schools throughout 13 districts, reaching about 13,700 students in the past 10 years. Twelve health centers have been built in areas where health care was previously difficult to acquire.

There is a lengthy process to determine which projects will receive funding from the tourism revenue program.

The Rwanda Development Board analyzes each community to ensure funds are allocated to the appropriate initiatives.

“We sit down with community leaders and decide how to distribute the money according to the priorities in the area, to address the issues that prevail in the area,” said Telesphore Ngoga, the conservation division manager at The Rwanda Development Board.

The tourism revenue-sharing scheme has allowed communities to thrive in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

“Local residents are the primary beneficiaries as it has helped set up community businesses and income generating projects that has improved lives and the communities’ economy,” said Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi.

– Hannah Cleveland

Sources: The Guardian, Rwanda Eye
Photo: The Guardian