This commitment has two components. The primary focus is the scaling of the ranger training program via the International Ranger Federation (IRF) network and managed by The Thin Green Line. The second component is the expansion of the successful Widow Support Program, pioneered by The Thin Green Line Foundation, the charitable arm of IRF.
Ranger Training Program:
International Rangers Federation, via The Thin Green Line Foundation, will train Government and Community Rangers in advanced anti-poaching techniques and provide key equipment items to the Rangers undertaking anti-poaching work. THGL will implement a unique 'Train-the-Trainer' program in order to support stronger ranger teams. This process will involve the selection of the top 20 Rangers from the program and educate them as trainers so that they can then use their additional skills for ongoing professional development and training of other Rangers within their areas.
Rangers are the first and last line of defense for nature. Without the right training, equipment and management they cannot defend the world's natural heritage for future generations, nor defend themselves. The level of Ranger training in many African countries has been insufficient to enable the Ranger corps to safely and effectively deal with the threat posed by advanced commercial poaching groups.
Importantly, 'training' is not a matter of merely supplying basic equipment and entry-level training. Instead, as addressed in this commitment, the professional development of rangers as leaders in their profession and community is critical in the development of productive and efficient ranger forces. IRF will, in addition to advanced enforcement training, give rangers leadership and professional skills training, which will increase their morale, give them pride in their work, and commitment to their conservation goals. This critical element of a ranger development program fosters discipline and self-regulation and is critical if rangers are to successfully combat corruption within the ranger community. However, it is often lacking in most enforcement training programs.
IRF will work with several small effective expert NGOs the sector to deliver quality projects on the ground in an efficient manner. They will train and equip over 400 Rangers across nine African countries in advanced anti-poaching skills and techniques and 20 rangers will undergo further training to become trainers themselves in order to maintain and continue training and administering standards long after the initial training project is completed.
This commitment has been designed to concentrate on the immediate need for anti-poaching activities on the ground whilst other important activities, such as demand reduction for wildlife products, are given time to take effect. With growing populations and demand for resources there will be an ever-increasing need for in-field anti-poaching work, combined with community education and participation in conservation.
IRF will evaluate and track the Rangers trained to assess the project success and incorporate outcomes and learnings in future projects.
This Commitment will result in: reduced poaching and animal deaths; reduced Ranger deaths and injuries; increased arrests; a decrease in the use of firearms; increased Ranger morale; and safer local communities.
After successfully completing the training, each of the 400 Rangers will receive ongoing updates and professional development, led by the 20 Rangers who participated in the 'Train-the-Trainer program.' This ongoing training will be supervised by the project team for 24 months to ensure its quality and consistency. The initial investment in training will have an ongoing legacy and grow over time.
Widow Support Program:
With over 1,000 rangers killed in the last 10 years, support for the widows and families of these rangers is critical. Government support programs are either insufficient or non-existent. This commitment will scale up the program significantly. By aiding widows, TLGM will help with morale of the rangers remaining in the field who now see there are support mechanisms for families should a ranger lose his/her life in the line of duty.
The Widow Support Program will work with widows and their families to provide primary education, health care, employment, and housing. Reduced poverty and increased education and prosperity for widows and orphans of rangers killed is the direct benefit with ranger morale and confidence also will be positively affected.
- Finalize contracts for Project Management with partners by TGLF - Week 2
- Commence pre-course evaluations of Rangers by Project Managers - Week 2
- Commencement of ranger training and equipping, widow support by TGLF, Project Managers - Month 1
- Interim Progress Report 1 by TGLF, Project Managers - Month 4
- First round of Train-the-Trainers to begin by TGLF - Month 5
- Inspection of projects in field by TGLF - Month 6
- Interim Report 2 by TGLF, Project Managers - Month 7
- Ongoing training and equipping rangers by TGLF, Project Managers -Ongoing
- 2nd round of Train-the-Trainers to begin by TGLF -Month 11
- Training Inspection/ Widow Support Project Monitoring and Evaluation by TGLF, Project Managers - Month 12
- Twelve month Comprehensive Report & 2/3 training to have been completed by TGLF, Project Managers - Month 13
- Ongoing training and equipping of rangers by TGLF, Project Managers - Ongoing
- 3rd intake of Train-the-Trainers by TGLF, Project Managers -Month 16
- Final inspections of project in field by TGLF, Project Managers - Month 17
- Training and equipping complete - 18 months
- Train-the-Trainers finishes, Month 22
- Inspection by project teams - maintenance, refresher and final evaluation complete by TGLF, Project Managers -18 months- Month 24
- Final report based on inspections and evaluations by TGLF - Month 24
Poaching is decimating the continent's wildlife resources and driving the elephant population towards extinction, as occurred with rhinoceros populations during the 1980s. Experts estimate 45,000 Forest and Savannah Elephants were killed in 2013 to satisfy the illegal demand for ivory. This level of poaching has not been seen since the 1980s. Without urgent action to end the ivory trade, elephants may soon become extinct in parts of Africa. The poaching also impacts local and national economies, such as in Tanzania and Kenya where wildlife tourism contributes to 15-20% of the national GDP. Poaching has the impact of destabilizing rural communities, sustaining terrorist groups, and fueling domestic conflict. Tragically, over 1,000 Rangers have lost their lives worldwide in the fight against poaching over the last decade with devastating impact on their families. Critical Ranger training and continuous skill revision will protect elephants, other animals and the ecosystem as a whole. Effective training protects Rangers and ironically results in fewer poacher deaths with trained Rangers employing appropriate skilled de-escalation techniques.
The International Ranger Federation (IRF), with their 64 member ranger associations worldwide, and through IRF's charity arm, The Thin Green Line Foundation (TGLF), is not only actively training and equipping these rangers on the frontline of conservation, but actively cultivating an increased morale and professional standards through exchanges, networking, and formal training. Importantly, TGLF also supports the families of Rangers killed in the line of duty. The Rangers have a saying: 'This is a missing piece of the conservation jigsaw puzzle - protecting nature's protectors.'