Humility and understanding rely on feedback and flexibility. Measures and metrics, both science- and community-based, matter. They are essential not only to tracking progress, but also to adjusting practices based on a constant flow of information. You can see the importance of measures and feedback in the systems used by the communal conservancies in Namibia, which have played a major role in delivering both economic growth and the restoration of biodiversity in the Namib Desert. You can see it in our partnership with CARE, which blends microfinance, community governance, and natural resource management in the coastal communities of Mozambique and elsewhere.
And you can see it in the community scorecard systems we have tested in two countries and are looking to adopt more broadly. Community scorecards were initially designed by our friends at CARE to enable women to hold service providers accountable for quality health services. They are now also used to evaluate other services in the context of agriculture, nutrition, and more.
The beauty of the scorecard approach is its simplicity and inclusiveness. Considerable preparatory groundwork determines scope, ensures engagement, and helps plan for implementation. Scorecards then measure what matters most to communities, with a structured dialogue process to review results, identify action plans, and ensure nothing is lost along the way. In Malawi, WWF and CARE partnered to integrate community scorecards into ongoing agriculture and marine conservation projects, and I am hopeful we will do more of this.
We know that one of the great truths of conservation is that the work is never done. But we also know that conservation will last only if it’s based on a keen understanding of a place, built on the knowledge of the people who live there. And it will last only when communities are not just the beneficiaries of the solutions implemented, but also play a role in their design—whether that’s sharing park revenues (Nepal) or tourism fees (Namibia) or the rights to the daily catch (Mozambique).
Every place is different, so our work rests not just on the complexities of the nature found in them, but on the wisdom of the people who have watched them change over time. Our work rests on feedback—both positive and negative—and on having the integrity to learn from our mistakes and take the actions needed to strengthen safeguards and evolve the way we conduct our work. But most importantly, it rests on our ability to listen, to learn, and to respond to the realities of each place in meeting the needs of nature and of the people who call it home.
President and CEO