Story | 25 Sep, 2020

Launch of the East Africa learning series on communities combatting Illegal Wildlife Trade

A learning series titled ‘Communities Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trade’ has been launched in East Africa. The series is designed to support wildlife conservation and management authorities, relevant non-governmental and community-based organisations in East Africa to effectively engage local communities in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. 

FLoD Learning series for East Africa A learning series titled ‘Communities Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trade’ has been launched in East Africa Photo: IUCN ESARO

The learning series, kicked off on 15th September and will be conducted in phases until December 2020, followed by a second phase of physical trainings and practical learning activities in 2021.

The learning series follows the successful development and piloting of the  Local Communities: First Line of Defence against Illegal Wildlife Trade (FLoD) methodology, which was developed and tested by IUCN ESARO in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and the IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi). 

Why the training?

Poaching has been a major threat in the region. One of the key pillars of the regional EAC strategy to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade is to increase the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihoods. As mentioned by the Director Productive Sectors at the East African Community Secretariat, these learning events are directly linked to this pillar as seen from the focus on equipping the communities with the required skills to enable them to provide the first line of defence against Illegal Wildlife trade. 

Speaking at the launch of the learning series, Aurelia Micko, Environment Office Director USAID Kenya and East Africa said: “The journey to self-reliance begins with locally led development. The FLoD methodology will help us understand the motivations and assumptions that underpin local community interaction with wildlife and this understanding will help us to better engage communities in the efforts towards ending poaching and illegal wildlife trade.”

FLoD learning event - communties       Photo: IUCN ESARO


The learning series which aims at training participants on the FLoD methodology is supported by USAID Kenya and East Africa through the Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources (CONNECT)  project. The series will supplement the comprehensive training course on FLoD, which is currently under development with support from the Biodiversity and Protected Area Management Programme (BIOPAMA) supported by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

Communities as guardians of protected areas

“Wildlife crime threatens the security, economy and biodiversity of East Africa. When we conserve biodiversity, it is in the interest of the communities. It is critical that we involve communities in defining and implementing their biodiversity conservation activities and allow them to participate in the management of protected areas,” highlighted Dr Philippe Mayaux, Team leader for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, European Commission, International Cooperation for Development (DEVCO).

“Strengthening the capacity of the local communities will go a long way in ensuring that wildlife crime in the region is reduced. We need a coordinated regional approach that can be adapted and adopted for local contexts. The FLoD methodology is a resource that can help the East Africa region to implement relevant regional and national strategies to combat wildlife crime,” said Charles Oluchina, Regional Programme Coordinator for IUCN. 

The series of online learning events is part of the broader efforts by IUCN and partners to impart knowledge and build the capacity of a wide range of stakeholders to apply the FLoD methodology in the development and implementation of strategies and actions to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Eastern and Southern Africa. The learning will includes the use of case studies on community engagement collected through the ‘People not poaching’  learning platform.

For more Information on the methodology visit: Local Communities - First Line of Defence against Illegal Wildlife Trade (FLoD)