Alice Macharia: Hope Is Communities Leading Conservation for the Good of All
In this episode of the Hopecast, Dr. Jane Goodall speaks with Alice Macharia, the vice president of JGI USA’s Africa Programs. Alice joined the Jane Goodall Institute in 2004 as a project coordinator for East Africa Programs, and has since served as both JGI USA’s Africa Programs Director and now Vice President. Alice’s investment in supporting and working with people to increase beneficial conservation and sustainable development outcomes has created generations of positive growth for people, wildlife, and ecosystems across vital program areas. In this conversation, Jane and Alice talk about the evolution and success they’ve both seen through the use of JGI’s innovative ‘Tacare’ community-led conservation approach. Though this is something now “buzzy” in the NGO landscape, Jane began this effort nearly 30 years ago when she realized that protection of endangered chimpanzees around Gombe would fail without the partnership of local people who were struggling with poverty and inequities. The resulting approach tackles conservation threats by using advanced science, training, and funding to collaborate with communities and understand their needs. These efforts facilitate solutions like land-use planning, forest restoration and protection, sustainable livelihoods, healthcare, education, and more. This adaptive and unique approach is now being scaled in new and wonderful ways in countries across the chimpanzee range including Uganda, DRC, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Mali, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, and Tanzania - where it all began. Alice also discusses her passion for empowering young women and girls - central to JGI’s work - and how it’s delivering on making their aspirations more attainable every day through scholarships, training, and more. Jane and Alice explain that the interconnectedness of individuals, communities, and ecosystems must be considered and addressed in order to create a harmonious path forward for all. As they share, this holistic mindfulness of community-led conservation, “enables people to take control of their environment, of their lives.” At the End of the Rainbow: Stay to the end of the episode to hear an archival clip of Dr. Goodall speak about the urgency of acting together to fight climate change and how JGI’s community-led Tacare program has strengthened the resilience of both the environment and the indomitable human spirit.