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Dekila Chungyalpa

WWF Fellow, Sacred Earth Initiative

Dekila Chungyalpa

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Dekila helps WWF develop partnerships with faith leaders and institutions in order to protect biodiversity, natural resources and environmental services. Her knowledge of five languages – Sikkimese, Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali, and English – as well as her passion for conservation and faith-based work contributes to the success she is having with building WWF’s Sacred Earth program. That program has now evolved into the Sacred Earth Initiative, housed at Yale University.

"Faith leaders and institutions are often the backbone of local communities.” By working with them towards wildlife protection or climate change adaptation, Dekila ensures that conservation goals inspire and motivate all parts of the community. At the same time, WWF also engages in a very important dialogue – how to enrich and transform societal values and aspirations towards a sustainable future for all life on Earth.

Prior to creating the Sacred Earth program, Dekila spent six years leading WWF's efforts in the Mekong region on large-scale strategies for hydropower and climate change and five years designing and managing community-based conservation projects with WWF's Eastern Himalayas program.

Dekila is currently creating a capacity-building program for religious leaders at Yale University.

Learn more about the Sacred Earth program

“Our projects work best when we understand what lies in the heart of a community - its aspirations and its needs - and can marry this understanding with a conservation vision.”

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In The News

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Bridging the Worlds of Faith and Conservation

Learn from Dekila how WWF’s new Sacred Earth Program is working with faith leaders, and hear from African leaders why they think this is important. Read more

More on Dekila

Connect: Twitter

Media inquiries: News And Press Page


WWF Fellow


  • MA - Sustainable Development, American University
  • BA - International Environmental Studies, College of Wooster

Areas of Expertise

  • Economic drivers of change in the Mekong region
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Socioeconomic strategy design including human-wildlife conflict mitigation
  • Community-based natural resource management
  • Gender dynamics in South Asia
  • Buddhism and ecology
  • Religious environmental movements
  • Community based natural resource management