From Strategy to Implementation at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

By Elizabeth Singleton, Chief Operating Officer

I first visited Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as a tourist in 2000, and was impressed by the combination of their entrepreneurial engagement with surrounding communities and the stellar wildlife experience. Lewa is a unique place with an international reputation for excellence. Fast forward over 15 years, and it was an exciting challenge to be invited to help them refine their strategy in 2017, delving into the complexity and scope of an organization that has programs ranging from anti-poaching to microfinance to digital literacy—all in addition to providing secure habitat for 14% of Kenya’s rhinos.

A focus of the strategic planning process was clarifying how each of their programs contributes to delivering conservation outcomes.  In 2018, capitalizing on Lewa’s spirit of continuous improvement, we drove this focus into their annual work planning with the intent of:

  1. Clarifying how each program’s activities serve the strategy’s core goals;

  2. Creating clear annual targets for Lewa’s work; and

  3. Developing systems that would facilitate management across the organization.

In prior years, each program planned their own efforts, but the organization lacked an overarching framework that bridged different programs and eased the flow of information across the organization.

Lewa created a structure that allows each department head to have a clear view of annual targets and individual team member responsibilities. The annual work plan generates a dashboard view across the organization so the heads of departments and the executive team can easily track progress and focus management discussions on problem solving where work isn’t progressing as expected.  This view identified a clear gap in how communications could be better integrated with various departments from fundraising to community engagement, and Lewa has worked to create a dynamic relationship between the comms group and each programmatic department. This integrated planning approach has helped a high performing organization become even more effective- helping make sure they have the focus and the execution to play their role as one of Kenya’s leading conservation bodies.


A Transformed Organization

Dr. Tuqa Jirmo, COO, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

As the lead supervisor for all departments, I find the annual work plan has transformed how we work in our organization with clear objectives, activities, indicators and timeframes that have empowered our heads of department to work efficiently and effectively.
— Dr. Tuqa Jirmo, COO, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy