Five Ways to Advance Conservation Entrepreneurship

Meeting today’s growing conservation challenges requires that we find new ways of thinking about and practicing conservation, rooted in solving social problems through scalable methods and prototypes that deliver results.

By Fred Nelson & Alasdair Harris


From ‘Silverbacks’ to Systems Leaders: Rethinking African conservation leadership (commentary)

Tomorrow’s conservation leaders need to drive systemic change by building organizations and networks that are far greater than the sum of their parts. 

Commentary by Fred Nelson and Erin Myers Madeira on 8 September 2016

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Bucking the Trend: Lion Recoveries on Community Lands

The latest was a study from Maasai pastoralist lands outside the Maasai Mara, where communities have increasingly been establishing conservancies, often based on joint venture agreements between landowners and ecotourism companies. 

By Fred Nelson

To accelerate conservation progress in Africa, improve support to African civil society organizations (commentary)

African CSOs tend to have the strongest roots and experience with local communities, which makes them best placed to bring about transformative, sustainable and long-term impacts.

Commentary by Fred Nelson and Emily Wilson


Small but Not Silent

Done right, small organizations can hit above their weight and use communications as a foundation for growth, sustainability, and scaling.

By Salisha Chandra & Jessie Davie


The global land rights struggle is intensifying

When Edward Loure, one of the co-authors of this piece, was a boy, his family was evicted from its home in east Africa in order to expand the boundaries of Tarangire National Park, one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife reserves. Similar evictions had earlier taken place in the Serengeti in the late 1950s.

Edward Loure is 2016 winner of the Goldman prize | By Edward Loure and Fred Nelson 


Rethinking conservation funding models in Africa (commentary)

Much of the discussion in conservation focuses on the limited amounts of funding available. However, an important, but less discussed, issue is how funding is delivered and accessed. 

Commentary by Fred Nelson | Leela Hazzah | John Kasaona | Scott O’Connell | Peter Riger | Bernie Tershy


Homegrown African Solutions to Elephant Poaching

Thus far, responding to and combating the elephant crisis have largely been the work of global organizations, including conservation NGOs and multilateral aid agencies. But many of the critical innovations, leadership measures, and solutions to the crisis lie with talented and committed local groups whose approaches can be taken to scale, often with support from resource-rich international networks.

By Fred Nelson

Organisational Tips and Tools


Practicing Prioritization

An ability to prioritize can be what sets great organizations apart from others. Exceptional organizations set ambitious goals and regularly achieve or exceed them. This requires strong leaders who keep their teams focused on the right goals, and who manages them to deliver results. 

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Management Fundamentals

Management is about getting groups of people to work together to execute activities that deliver on the goals of an organization. You could distill this into 3 intertwined parts: goals, people and activities.


Building Strong Partnerships

By Well Grounded and Maliasili. This publication pulls together a range of resources, insights, guidance, and case studies that inform the design and maintenance of stronger partnerships between international NGOs and local CSOs in Africa and perhaps elsewhere.


Strengthening African CSOs

By Well Grounded and Maliasili. This study aims to better understand African CSOs’ organizational needs, interests, and challenges; to explore how funders and partners are working to address those needs; and to identify opportunities for better practice and investments in strengthening African CSOs.


The Effective Board

This document defines the purpose and core functions of a board, the roles and responsibilities involved, and the key processes to ensure the board supports an organization to achieve its goals. 

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The Effective Board - Summary

An effective board of directors performs its core functions—governance, strategy, and resourcing—with an eye toward fulfilling the organization’s mission and meeting constituent needs.


The Backbone of Strategy

Poster: Five Basic Questions to Evaluate Your Organization’s Mission and Strategy


Foundations of Funding

Summary: To generate Resources, an organization needs to focus on: Results, Relationships and Reputation. 


Five questions for every Organisation

Stay focused on the heart of the matter - purpose and approach


Organizational Strategy

An overview of the role that strategy and strategic planning plays in all organizations in guiding their investments, thinking, performance, and growth.


Strategic Communications

When done with purpose, strategy, and planning, communications can be a valuable asset for any organization. 

Strategic Plans

Maliasili has facilitated more than a dozen strategic plans for our partners as a key component of our organizational strengthening processes. Here are some examples of this work.

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Honeyguide Strategic Plan

This strategic plan focuses Honeyguide’s efforts and investments over the next five years on achieving the ecological viability and financial independence of Enduimet WMA and Randilen WMAs by 2021, in order to establish these as strong models of Tanzanian community-based conservation. 


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MMWCA Strategic Plan

Although the Greater Mara Ecosystem is under threat from a range of significant risks, MMWCA is poised to capitalize in the next four years, on a number of concurrent opportunities to drive positive impact.


NASCO Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan identifies NACSO’s overarching priorities for the next five years, based around the key functions it plays in Namibia’s CBNRM program. The plan seeks to address both opportunities created by the significant achievements of the program during the past 20 years and to address new external and internal threats and challenges.


IRDNC Strategic Plan

IRDNC's foremost strategic priorities for the next decade is to revitalise the governance of conservancies, and CBNRM more broadly, through greater direct engagement, mobilization, and empowerment of the members of conservancies and the entire community constituency.



Stronger organizations, greater impact: UCRT in Tanzania

April 18th, 2016 | Learn how we've worked with the Ujamaa Community Resource Team (UCRT) in Tanzania to strengthen their organization so that they can be more impactful on the ground.

Strengthening African CSOs for Improved Natural Resource Governance & Conservation

July 28th, 2015 | African organizations working to improve natural resource management have made great gains, but face serious challenges that limit their efforts to grow and sustain their impact. This short video provides an overview of the challenges they face and provides recommendations for addressing these issues.

Maliasili Initiatives - Investing in People for Nature

May 5th, 2015 | Skilled and committed local organizations and social entrepreneurs are the key to bringing about changes that result in more sustainable futures for people and nature. Maliasili Initiatives is a non-profit organization that supports the growth, development and performance of leading civil society organizations working to advance sustainable natural resource management practices in Africa.

Strengthening Women's Rights, Empowering Communities: Women's Leadership Forums in northern Tanzania

March 8th, 2014 | Pastoralist women are some of the most marginalized people in Tanzania, lacking property and ownership rights, access to basic social services, and the ability to make decisions about their own lives. But this is starting to change.