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WCI Launches New Charity to Support Indigenous Communities in Southeast Asia

WCI Launches New Charity to Support Indigenous Communities in Southeast Asia

The new charity is a win-win for both Indigenous communities in Southeast Asia and for the environment. Donations to be used for projects geared toward a sustainable economic future for disadvantaged categories.

International non-profit organisation Wildlife Conservation International (WCI) has announced the public launch of Forests for People, a new charitable entity in New Zealand to support and enhance the welfare of indigenous communities in Southeast Asia.

The new charity can receive tax-deductible donations from individuals, businesses and philanthropic organizations in New Zealand and direct them to projects that will provide a sustainable economic future for disadvantaged communities at the forefront of the environment crisis.

In partnership with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Forests for People runs a Mobile Education Unit in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem to educate students and local farmers on the importance of protecting this fragile and ecologically significant ecosystem.

“Our planet is facing a global extinction crisis that is not only threatening the fragile biodiversity of our rainforests, but also the welfare of indigenous communities who have been dependent on rainforest resources for centuries,” said Leif Cocks, founder of WCI. “Ongoing and rapid destruction of rainforest ecosystems across Southeast Asia by multinational corporations has resulted in the loss of ancestral land, making the once sustainable way of life of indigenous communities unsustainable, while at the same time placing them in direct competition with Critically Endangered wildlife for what little rainforest resources remain.”

“To survive this extinction crisis, it is imperative that we empower indigenous communities to become stewards of their own forest resources and help them transition to new forms of sustainable agriculture to replace traditional practices, made unsustainable through the reduction of their lands,” Cocks continued.

“Through Forests for People, we fund and manage community engagement and education programs to empower local people with knowledge – both of the dire environmental consequences of further deforestation and of the sustainable farming practices that will be of so much greater benefit to the region’s future.”

While WCI has been supporting a range of humanitarian projects across Southeast Asia for the past 25 years, the establishment of Forests for People as a separate entity not only provides a tax benefit for supporters in New Zealand, but it also opens up the door for individuals and organizations to specifically support the humanitarian aspects of the work.

The projects supported by Forests for People address the Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations in 2015 that aspire to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve rainforests and their biodiversity.

Projects include:

“A donation to Forests for People is a win-win for both indigenous communities and for the environment,” Cocks said. “Addressing the humanitarian issues impacting on indigenous communities will, in the long run, support our vision for a sustainable future where all species can thrive and live harmoniously.”

To find out more about Forests for People and how you can support, visit www.forests4people.org.

Featured image: The Orangutan Project.

You might also like: Indigenous People Are Essential for Preventing Biodiversity Loss. They Mustn’t Be Sidelined.

About the Author

Wildlife Conservation International

Wildlife Conservation International (WCI) is a registered charity in Australia, Canada, The Netherlands (EU), New Zealand and the United States, managing the following projects: The Orangutan Project, International Elephant Project, International Tiger Project, and Forests for People. Forest for People is a registered charity in New Zealand. The projects funded by WCI not only include direct species conservation, such as rescue, rehabilitation and release programs, but also forest habitat protection and regeneration, education, research and local community partnerships. Tying funding into direct outcomes for individual species, people and ecosystems, WCI partners with the majority of conservation projects operating on the ground today in Borneo and Sumatra.

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