The first study ever conducted analyzing the expenditures/activities of NGOs in Africa has been completed. It is quite revealing. It reflects well on Conservation Force and poorly on most animal rights type organizations. It compares the level, geography, reach and, to some extent, the diversity of activities of non-governmental organizations.
The study compares and analyzes the activities/expenditures of 281 NGOs for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. It does not include donor agencies, governmental or intergovernmental organizations like USAID, UNEP, GEF and Overseas Development Assistance to Africa (ODA), which alone had 30 billion dollars in expenditures in 2004. NGO expenditures that have existed without comparative analysis until this study pale in comparison to donor agencies.
The number of NGOs in Africa “grew in the 1980s and blossomed in the 90s.” The number of NGOs increased by 55 in the 1980s, by 80 in the 1990s and by 52 in the early 2000s. Two-thirds (187) of the NGOs have come into existence since the 1980s, yet no one has analyzed them as such. Their activities across the continent are patchy or selective geographically. Only 18 of the NGOs work in more than five countries. Their total expenditures in Africa are just over $200 million. The top 10 organizations of the 281 account for more than half of that total expenditure and WWF, the largest, accounts for more than the next two highest NGO spenders in Africa combined.
The top 10 in financial expenditures were, in order, WWF International, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, African Wildlife Foundation, Peace Parks, Jane Goodall Institute, Fauna and Flora International, Frankfurt Zoological Society, African Parks Foundation and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Their annual expenditure average varied from $42,708,026 for WWF International down to $4.2 million for Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The next eight organizations expended between 1 and 2 million U.S. dollars per year on average and the remaining 263 organizations expended less than 1 million per year. The Humane Society International (HSUS’s international division) was 13th from the bottom with an annual average expenditure of $33,608. Some organizations obviously make far more noise than expenditures, but we know that already.
WWF International far excelled and is unquestionably the leading NGO in Africa. Its average expenditures were double the next highest. It expended $42.7 million, compared to $20.2 million by Conservation International, $17.3 million by Wildlife Conservation Society, $14.6 million by African Wildlife Foundation, and $10 million by Peace Parks.
WWF also exceeded in the number of African countries it was working in (geographic map or reach). It worked in 44 African countries compared to Wildlife Conservation Society in 19, African Wildlife Foundation in 11, three organizations that worked in 10 countries and others in fewer countries. Conservation Force was one of those three organizations that tied for 4th place in geographical reach.
So how did Conservation Force compare? It is one of those new NGOs that came into existence in the 1990s. It tied for 4th place in the number of different African countries it worked in during the 2004-2006 period: 10 countries. Only three NGOs worked in more countries, i.e. had a larger geographical conservation map. It certainly was recognized as an African wildlife conservation organization, unlike others separated out because conservation was not their primary activity.
Conservation Force was the leading sportsmen’s conservation organization in Africa. It had the greatest conservation activities, the greatest expenditures, the lowest relative overhead and the greatest geographical coverage by far of any hunting-based organization. No others were close enough to compare.
Compared to all 281 NGOs, Conservation Force ranked 21 in expenditure without overhead (20 to 21 depending on year) and 25th (23rd to 25th each of the three years) with overhead included. It ranked from 21st to 25th on average when overhead was included because the overhead of the 24 bigger spenders was relatively greater than Conservation Force’s lower overhead ratio to expenditures. Some view the relatively lower overhead as good, but others think we should be expending more on fundraising and increasing staff to better represent the hunting world’s conservation interest, especially as the leading hunting-related conservation organization.
Conservation Force is the leading sportsmen’s conservation NGO in Africa just as it was designed to be. That is because it is a family or consortium of organizations joining together to combine resources for the people and wildlife of Africa we hold so very dear. Up to 160 partners support what we do. The study shows that Conservation Force has put an average of $458,188 in direct expenditures on the ground ($455,505, $369,558, $549,500 for 2004-2006) and $570,408 average when overhead is included ($483,132, $534,478, $693,615 for 2004-2006). Of course, some hunting organizations were not tabulated for various reasons, but rest assured none of those compare to the Conservation Force family of organizations. It is only a fraction of what our sector needs to invest in “smart” projects that further the interests of sportsmen and women. It is a meek sum indeed in comparison to the approximately $200 million spent each year by all 281 NGOs. In fact, the total sum from all NGOs is meek.
In our view, the sportsmen community needs to be on par with at least the top five NGO organizations in Africa. Perhaps Conservation Force can do that by turning hunting areas/concessions into conservation units like the Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Conservation Project in Tanzania (http://www.cullmanandhurt.org). Conservation Force stands ready to set up similar conservation units with other reputable hunting operators on an area-by-area basis in Africa and around the world. Robin Hurt clients have been donating 20 percent above their trophy fees. Jeff Rann’s clients were donating $10,000 above the safari price before Botswana stopped issuing lion licenses. Other clients with other operators are donating random amounts for dedicated projects in which Conservation Force is acting as the fiduciary and public charity partner. We can do more and intend to.
Conservation Force has also positioned itself to provide leadership, direction and advocacy in conservation circles. The higher our conservation expenditure, the better we will be able to do that. The primary issue is not how many members we have, but what is the level of activity/expenditures. Those that pay get to play. We are not yet where we must be. Frankly, our impact is shamefully marginal at this time. We need the help of all those that care. Tax deductible contributions can be made to Conservation Force at P.O. Box 278, Metairie, Louisiana, 70004-0278.
The report is the first comprehensive study of conservation organizations on the continent. It was prepared by Katherine Scholfield of Newcastle University and Dan Brockington of the University of Manchester, 29 July 2008. It can be downloaded from http://www.sed. manchester.ac.uk/idpm/research/africanwildlife. It is entitled Non-Governmental Organizations and African Wildlife Conservation: A Preliminary Analysis by the Developing Areas Research Network.