Sirjana Tharu in her chamomile field in Nepal. © Emmanuel Rondeau / WWF-US

PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES

WWF's collaborative approach to conservation is grounded in the benefits nature provides to people and the role of communities as stewards of their own land and waters

People depend on the natural world—its forests, fisheries and wildlife—for their ways of life. Conserving species, protecting habitats, and keeping our climate and environment healthy is good for all of us.

WWF's commitment to conservation means working in some of the most challenging places on Earth. Places where the protection of nature and its benefits for people can be an anchor for stability and opportunity.

WWF has long understood that the people who live in the places we work are critical leaders in conservation. Over time, our work with people has supported community efforts and led to transformative social and environmental results. This is a socially inclusive conservation approach. Together, we find practical and beneficial ways for both people and nature to thrive.

How WWF Works

Around the world, WWF supports community management of natural resources and helps them to protect those resources against outside threats. This collaborative conservation is grounded in the benefits nature provides to people and the role of Indigenous people and local communities as stewards of their own lands.

  • An Ecosystem Services Assessment Technical Team review the data collected during an ESA of the forest surrounding La Chorrera, Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reserve, Colombia

    Advocating for Indigenous peoples’ rights and inclusion

    WWF addresses governance and empowers Indigenous peoples and local communities to have a meaningful seat at the table and benefit directly from conservation efforts. This collaborative conservation approach affirms and secures customary land and legal rights of local communities and Indigenous peoples.

  • 3 generations of women who live and work in the village community and the women's association

    Empowering women

    Women and girls often play a central role in the use and management of natural resources, yet they are often excluded from participating in community decisions about how those resources should be used. WWF helps eliminate cultural, legal, and other barrier to full engagement, helping women and girls gain better access to education and economic decision-making opportunities so they can improve their lives and help lead environmental change in their communities.

  • Children smiling in Marrupa, Mozambique, Africa

    Collaborating on humanitarian partnerships

    With partners like CARE and USAID, WWF launches innovative conservation projects that merge conservation and human well-being, and are cornerstones of international development. Together, we work with communities to develop sustainable practices that translate to increased income, improved livelihoods, greater health, gender equity, and better managed and more accessible natural resources.

  • Children collecting grasses on the floor of the community forest in Nepal

    Advancing social policies

    For its entire history, WWF has joined a group of conservation organizations at the forefront of efforts to incorporate human rights and needs into our work. The most important inhabitants of any forest, river basin, or seascape are its people, and the policies WWF has embraced are central to making sure that all people have access and opportunity to better their lives in the places that we work.

  • A community member attending the community meeting held at the rebuilt Jivanjyoti Lower Secondary School in the Gorkha District of Nepal.

    Implementing Safeguards framework

    WWF's Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework is designed to ensure meaningful community engagement, which results in better conservation, and to identify and promptly address risks associated with our work.

  • fisherman prepare for the days net fishing from their dow near Palma, Mozambique

    Supporting community development

    In many of the places we work, people are directly reliant on nature for their health and economic well-being. By securing health services, supporting sustainable livelihoods and helping communities build their capacity to manage their needs and opportunities, we build a foundation for conservation that helps both people and nature.

Stories

Asia

Nepal's citizen scientists

One of a handful of citizen scientists working with WWF-Nepal, Chain Kumar Chaudhary works around Bardia National Park to help protect the tigers, rhinos, elephants, and other wildlife that are commonly found in the region.

Sabita Malla (front), tiger expert at WWF Nepal, is installing a camera trap with citizen scientists responsible for monitoring tigers in the Khata Corridor. Most visible citizen scientist here is Chabbi Thara Magar.© Shutterstock / Zick Svift© Shutterstock / Zick Svift © Shutterstock / Zick Svift
Africa Sijali Kipuli in a VICOBA introductory meeting attentively listening to the facilitators in 2006. Banking and gender in Tanzania

A social system in savings and credits can economically liberate the poorest people and empower women

Global Women with children in MozambiqueGender, equity, and people's rights

WWF's Althea Skinner on the intersection between conservation and human rights

South America Student waters crop at school gardenWith access to fresh water, a school garden grows

A community rainwater project is part of an effort to boost water supply for the Pantanal

North America Riding a horse in Nebraska, United StatesWorking together for grasslands

How WWF and ranchers collaborate to protect the Northern Great Plains

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