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Elephants, Rhinos, People (ERP)

Creating safe havens for Elephants and Rhinos through the alleviation of Poverty

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Over the past 60 years, Africa has lost a large number of its elephants and rhinos. Over 4,5 million elephants have been killed, whilst less than 25 000 species of rhino remain, having been more than 500 000 at the turn of the 20th century. The underlying cause for this scenario can be directly pinned to the high levels of poverty in Africa, leading to communities/individuals blindly prioritizing short term monetary value at the expense of their wildlife heritage rather than the long term sustainable value to be realised through preserving the same wildlife for generations to come. In some instances, conflicts between humans and elephants exist, often leading to elephants being unnecessarily shot and killed because their coexistence with humans is viewed as impossible because no proper framework is in place to ensure harmony. What mankind often neglects is the fact that our existence on this planet needs to be accommodative of our natural resources, including symbiotically coexisting with and protecting our wildlife. Elephants, Rhinos and People was championed by as a way of addressing some of the pressing challenges facing rural South Africa, and more specifically, the dire scenario presented above where we are losing our wildlife at an alarming rate. This is through a unique strategy that ensures that the protection and preservation of elephants and rhinos in the wild is systematically addressed through poverty alleviation. There is need to strike a balance between how natural resources, including wildlife, are utilized for the betterment of humankind and their livelihoods, which is what ERP strives to achieve. Focus of this presentation/application focuses mainly on the "People" aspect of ERP, brought about by our unique and effective model.

Explain your idea

ERP is a holistic approach to resolving conflicts that may exist between humans and wildlife, whilst also ensuring that poverty is alleviated and livelihoods are sustained within the same ecosystem. Our methodology under "P" is driven by Planning, Education, Agriculture, Cooperatives and Environment, shortened to P.E.A.C.E., which essentially brings about sustainable, original and replicable economic development to rural communities. We create safe havens for elephants and rhinos within restituted lands in South Africa, and in order to benefit the local community, we use the P.E.A.C.E. model to stimulate the local economy through provision of economic opportunities that not only deter local communities from engaging in poaching activities, but also provide positive spin offs that help develop the rural economy. This we best achieve through setting up P.E.A.C.E. HUBS which provide communication and access to information for rural communities. We believe that development can only be achieved in its entirety through development of people (communities) and this can best be achieved if disadvantaged communities are given the tools and information to bring about their own development. In so doing, we help improve their educational and economic opportunities. Thus, this development is delivered through our HUBS and is deployed in tandem with conserving and preserving elephants and rhinos as resources that contribute to stimulating the rural economy through tourism. This ultimately brings about prosperity to communities, promotes peace among humans and wildlife (in particular elephants) and conserves the planet through a holistic approach that seeks to balance the ecosystem through P.E.A.C.E. Through the HUBS, we also provide economic spin offs in agriculture, through a drip irrigation model that enables subsistence farming to grow into sustainable commercial ventures in the long run. We also use beehive fencing in some instances, in order to deter elephants from crossing into human inhabited lands, thereby naturally resolving the human-elephant conflict in some areas. This method also provides communities with honey that further stimulates the local economy and offers income generation to rural communities. Education is also provisioned through loading of learning material onto hard drives that can be used by students in schools, whilst we make use of donkeys and donkey carts to collect waste and build green businesses through recycling, whilst also attaching an economic value to donkeys that are often neglected in rural areas. Furthermore, we also have an outreach intervention we call #Bikes4ERP, were we look into reducing student absenteeism in attending classes by distributing bicycles for students who otherwise have to travel long distances to get to and from school. Our approach is therefore multi pronged but focused on poverty alleviation and can be customized and adjusted based on the specific needs and challenges facing the targeted community.

Who Benefits?

Our beneficiaries are the communities within the areas where we set up our interventions; rural communities staying next to conservation areas and previously disadvantaged communities. We also benefit the wildlife, particularly elephants and rhinos that would otherwise not have a voice of their own

How is your idea unique?

The P.E.A.C.E. Model has been proved to be original, sustainable and replicable wherever it is implemented, having been Ashoka accredited. Whereas most organisations tend to focus on methodologies that address a particular issue, our approach encompasses a number of initiatives covering Planning, Education, Agriculture, Cooperatives and Environment that ultimately work towards addressing rural poverty, which is the end goal. In the process, the model enables jobs to be created for the otherwise unemployable within the formal sector. This is crucial for the development of rural economies which have largely been neglected. With a track record spanning over 2 decades, our model has impacted over 500 000 individuals across 2 provinces in South Africa. With ERP in place, these figures are set to further increase drastically over the medium to long term, whilst conservation of elephants and rhinos will further positively impact on sustainable development of rural communities we work with.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

The P.E.A.C.E. Foundation ( was established in 1993, as a Trust, with Tax Exemption for donors The Foundation is a registered non-profit organization, based in South Africa and as earlier alluded to, exists to address the most pressing challenges faced in rural communities. The Foundation’s recent partnership with ERP (Elephants, Rhinos and People), championed by where protection and conservation of iconic species such as Elephants and Rhinos are protected through the alleviation of poverty, has provided the Foundation with additional and meaningful opportunities through which to alleviate and even eradicate rural poverty. Essentially, the Foundation implements all the "People" related projects in ERP, with a track record spanning over two and a half decades of successfully implementing rural poverty alleviation initiatives and positively impacting 500 000 individuals over the period. We are a well established entity, with staff members fully committed to implementing our initiatives. There is also a dedicated full time team of experts that deal with animal conservation issues which means our efforts further complement the ERP strategy and help build this into a sustainable hybrid model that can effectively be deployed through out South Africa and potentially beyond. Collaborations with like-minded, reputable and ethical organisations are also open, particularly when we have to set up our interventions beyond South Africa. However, with the Director of the Foundation being an Ashoka Fellow, this also gives us a boost in identifying potential collaborators where necessary.
As earlier alluded to, ERP was championed by, who have been able to redifine the conventional use of the term ERP, going beyond corporate purpose in their day to day activities. Their primary not-for-profit and impact investment focus areas are the preservation of at-risk Elephants and Rhinos, through alleviation of poverty among rural People in areas adjacent to the threatened species. Projects are carefully selected based upon their potential for preservation and protection of threatened Elephants and Rhinos and for the creation of powerful economic engines that can alleviate poverty among rural People, leveraging community-owned restituted land that can enable the creation of substantial wildlife corridors and conservation areas. In essence, this is how we are constituted and operate for the betterment of both our wildlife and people.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

Attachments (1)


An infographic essentially showing what impact the P.E.A.C.E. Model has had over the past 24 years.


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Photo of Patricia

Curious whether the communities you work with are very keen on the beehive fences. In Kenya the communities are afraid of bees so don't even harvest the honey from the hives. And the agricultural projects are such a long-term intervention that it doesn't alleviate the short-term needs that poverty always brings.

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