What we do: 


Portfolio Selection

We find high-performing African conservation and natural resource organizations with exceptional talent, a proven track record and/or great potential. 


Strengthening Organizations

We provide those organizations with customized organizational support, helping them build strong teams, develop focused strategies, communicate and market their work, and implement effective management systems.


Building a Network

We manage our portfolio as a growing network, giving them opportunities to learn from each other, collaborate, and interact with a network of funders and external supporters. 


Our Work

A Portfolio of Outstanding Conservation Organizations

Solutions to Africa’s conservation challenges exist – but we need to make them even more effective and sustainable and we need to help them grow. We believe effective and long-lasting conservation models focus on three key pillars:

  • Rights: strengthening local rights over land and resources

  • Value: Creating economic incentives for stewardship

  • Governance: Strengthening decision-making bodies and governance institutions

We provide organizational support through a customized, multi-year process that responds to the unique needs of an individual organization, while also following a consistent and systematic service delivery approach. We help our partners develop more focused strategies for achieving impact; communicating clearly and effectively about their work; raising the money they need to succeed; developing their leadership skills and partnerships; and building their management systems. 

We believe that improving strategy, building a strong team, and developing the systems required to take ideas to action are the foundations for accelerating conservation impact. 


Case studies

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Ujamaa Community Resource Team

Organizational growth leads to increased community land rights

Over the years, I have watched UCRT mature. Both the organization and individual team members have become stronger, more accountable, results-oriented and more effective as a result of Maliasili’s training, technical support and mentoring.
— Daudi Peterson, Board member and a founder of UCRT
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About UCRT | visit website

Land is life for pastoralists and hunter-gatherers, and UCRT helps to ensure that they own, manage, and benefit from it. When these communities have the skills, knowledge and rights to manage their resources, they are better off and so are the places and wildlife where they live. This belief is what brought a group of young activists together more than two decades ago, and it remains UCRT’s guiding vision today as they work with more than 70 communities across roughly 2 million hectares in northern Tanzania.

Our Support

Five years ago, UCRT realized that if they wanted to help more communities across northern Tanzania own, manage, and benefit from their land, they needed their organizational skills to match their field skills. Since then, each year we work together to identify their major organizational challenges, prioritize them, and find solutions. With a refined impact model, strengthened communications, new partnerships and networks, and a system to track their progress, today UCRT has more staff, more money, and more support for their work.

Our support has allowed UCRT to achieve more and extend their reach and impact across new communities and landscapes

  • A revised 2014-2016 Strategic Plan, which included an increased focus on the CCRO (Certificate of Customary Rights of Occupancy) model, which is an effective legal tool UCRT has pioneered to secure communal grazing and forest lands

  • A doubling in their budget, resulting in increased funding for field operations as well as staffing and other core capacity needs

  • A doubling in their senior management team, providing for new key positions, including a program manager, financial manager, and legal advisor

  • A suite of essential communications products and plans, contributing to key policy successes and strengthened donor relations and marketing

  • New networks, funders & collaborators, including its involvement in the Northern Tanzania Rangelands Initiative, which has helped UCRT build collaborations and leverage financial and human resources to support its work.


  • Secured more than 250,000 hectares of new forests and rangelands in key northern Tanzanian ecosystems in 2016 alone.

  • Received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa in 2016 in recognition of UCRT’s achievements and increased visibility, documentation of results, and global networks & partnerships.

  • Increased the number of women owning land and property in the communities where UCRT works.

Community Titled Land





Mwambao Coastal Community Network

Building organizational foundations for coastal conservation

As an organization we are much stronger than we were four years ago when we first started working with Maliasili. They have been instrumental building our capacity, linking us to new key partners, and thinking longer-term.
— Lorna Slade, Executive Director of Mwambao


About Mwambao Coastal Community Network | visit website

Tanzania’s rich tropical marine environment provides a key source of food and income that supports millions of people, yet is often overlooked in comparison to the country’s terrestrial wildlife areas. The Mwambao Coastal Community Network is one of the few local organizations working to protect Tanzania’s coastal resources. By helping communities effectively manage fisheries and other marine resources, reap the benefits of doing so, learn from each other’s experiences, and strengthen management practices, Mwambao has a unique role to play in East African marine conservation and is filling a critical gap in the wider Tanzanian environmental arena.

Our Support

While Mwambao is helping to build more sustainable local fisheries in Tanzania, we are helping the organization become better resourced, develop key partnerships, build their team, and strengthen their strategy and impact model. An organization that was still in an early start-up phase when we first started working together in 2013, today has multi-year funding and key strategic partnerships, positioning it for strong growth and impact along Tanzania’s long coastline and the culturally and biologically rich offshore islands of Pemba and Zanzibar.

Organizational Growth

Since working together, Mwambao has:

  • Built a growing team by recruiting key new staff

  • Developed a range of key strategic partnerships, including with Fauna & Flora International and Blue Ventures providing access to funding, skills and information

  • Increased their funding by more than 10 times since 2013, including securing critical core funding

  • Overhauled their website and communications platform so that they can share their model and results with a growing audience.


  • Piloted a successful community reef closure for octopus harvesting, starting with 60 hectares of near-shore reef on Pemba Island in 2015, expanding to new communities and across 400 hectares in 2016, and expected to expand further in 2017 to 3 more adding roughly 600 more hectares under temporary closure.

  • Developed a pilot initiative, with funding from Waitt Foundation and a follow up project in collaboration with WWF Tanzania and Sea Sense, to address the pervasive problem of dynamite fishing through improved monitoring using mobile phone apps and collaborative data collection.

  • Developed key partnerships with Fauna & Flora International and Blue Ventures to deepen work on community marine co-management and fisheries governance.

  • Developed other key partnerships with CANCO Kenya and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, which is supporting cross-border exchanges for women to learn  about value addition to marine products. Tanzanian fishers visited Kenya in 2016 and there will be a return visit in 2017.



Lion Guardians

From a site-based project to a strategic organization

Maliasili has provided critical organizational development support and structure when it was  needed most, in-kind communication coaching,  and incredible networking opportunities and  helped us think outside the box about traditional  conservation funds.
— Dr. Leela Hazzah, Executive Director of Lion Guardians
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About Lion Guardians | visit website

Lion Guardians turns people who once killed lions into lion protectors. Their model blends local communities’ traditional knowledge with world-class science. With a >90% average reduction in lion killing in the areas where they work, they have proven their model. Lion Guardians began as a pilot project in 2007 in southern Kenya’s Amboseli ecosystem. Today, their approach has been adopted across more than 70 communities across roughly 5,300 km2 of land in Kenya and Tanzania, and they use a training program and other services to spread their conservation method more widely across different parts of Africa.

Our Support

By 2012, Lion Guardians knew they had an effective and scientifically-proven conservation model. It was time to take their site-based experiment in Kenya elsewhere in hopes they could share their approach and knowledge in order to save more lions. Maliasili helped them get there. For three intense years, we worked together to put the right pieces in place to help them grow – a new strategy, focused work plans, a top-tier communications platform, and a strengthened senior management team. These efforts helped Lion Guardians build out their  staff, attract more money and donors, develop a clearer vision, and, ultimately, protect more lions.

Organizational Growth

  • A new Strategic Plan helped Lion Guardians expand its model and guide the transition from a site-based project to an organization with a wider reach.

  • A communications strategy, plan and strengthened brand, helped Lion Guardians over the course of just one year (2013-2014) increase its revenue generation by 28%, quadruple its individual donor base, and increase repeat donations by 39%.

  • A clear and prioritized annual work plan to implement their strategy, resulting in an increased focus on results and impact.

  • Adjusted human resource structure, new hires, and enhanced staff capacities

Livestock recovered

Staff Members


  • From 2013 - 2014, the area of land that Lion Guardians monitored increased by almost 20% to roughly 525,000 hectares.

  • Lion populations in Amboseli ecosystem, which had tripled between 2009 and 2013, has stabilized to around 160 lions. Lions from this population have now been documented as dispersing as far afield as Nairobi National Park and Shompole Group Ranch, helping to maintain genetic diversity between different lion populations

  • Lion Guardians has developed a training program to spread their knowledge, tools, and expertise to sites with conflicts between people and lions around Africa. Most notably, in 2015 they helped train and coach African Parks’ rangers in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park after the reintroduction of lions to the park.