The Giants Club is an initiative of Space for Giants that gives us the real political, financial and technical muscle to get our work done. It unites sitting or former Heads of State of the four countries that hold half of Africa’s remaining elephants: Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, and Uganda. Its initial goal is to protect half of Africa’s elephants, and it is already looking beyond that to long-term threats.
WHERE DO WE DO THIS?
Angola BOTSWANA GABON KENYA Namibia UGANDA Zambia Zimbabwe
H.E. MOKGWEETSI MASISIPresident of Botswana
President Masisi took office in 2018, and governs the country with Africa’s largest remaining elephant populations, centred on the magical Okavango Delta. Human-elephant co-existence is a growing issue
H.E. ALI BONGO ONDIMBAPresident of Gabon
President Bongo’s commitment has never wavered to make Gabon a sanctuary for Africa’s largest remaining populations of forest elephants. Poaching threats are increasing, as are challenges of human-elephant coexistence
H.E. UHURU KENYATTAPresident of Kenya
Kenya has long been associated globally with safari holidays to see wildlife in its natural habitat. President Kenyatta’s focus is on preserving those habitats while ensuring they drive real benefit to growing populations
H.E. YOWERI MUSEVENIPresident of Uganda
Uganda has Africa’s fastest-growing elephant populations. Its protected areas and their wildlife were decimated by civil conflict decades ago, but President Museveni is committed to finding innovative ways to fund their protection
H.E. IAN KHAMAFormer President of Botswana
Former President Khama led Botswana for 10 years to 2018, turning the country into a byword for African conservation best practice. He remains involved in the Giants Club as President Emeritus
HOW THE GIANTS CLUB WORKS
Real, lasting, large-scale change only happens with the highest level of political will. The Presidents’ sustained and public backing for our efforts galvanises serious action. They are joined in the Giants Club by pioneering conservation scientists, who bring technical capacity, and global philanthropists and financiers, who bring the resources and business know-how to underwrite interventions.
The Club identifies the activities that will have the greatest impact, finances them, and directs Space for Giants and our partners to implement them with very high level political backing.
The priorities for each President are different, reflecting the various threats elephants face in each of the countries. See examples of projects that the Giants Club has set in motion below.
The Club’s aim is to support projects that protect half of Africa’s 415,000 elephants. But its vision does not end there. The Giants Club looks to a time beyond the current poaching crisis as competition for land increases as populations grow. Already, the Giants Club is working to generate the guidance and financial mechanisms that will be necessary to maintain the world's most significant elephant landscapes.
THE GIANTS CLUB SUMMIT
Highlights of the Giants Club Summit 2018
LEADING GIANTS CLUB PROJECTS
Many African countries struggle to pay to protect their wildlife and its habitats amid competing priorities like education and health. But businesses like tourism, or renewable energy, or livestock farming, are keen to invest in these areas. We carry out ecological studies then link conservation-compatible enterprises with the authorities, to bring new investment and revenue into wilderness areas. There are always strict rules on ecologically-sound infrastructure and community benefits.
Giants Club members have funded our wildlife law and justice department’s work to support the authorities in all of the countries where we work to strengthen prosecutions. This includes developing wildlife crime legal guidelines, mentoring and supporting prosecutors, liaising with magistrates, and monitoring trials. Taken together, these efforts aim to make legal deterrents against wildlife crime stronger.
The Giants Club was formed at the height of the elephant poaching crisis, and its early efforts focused on that. They will continue, but working also to reduce the costs of living with wildlife is also a priority. The Club’s members have funded projects including an 80km/50mi fence in Kenya keeping elephants off farmers’ crops, and three pilot fences in Gabon built at the request of President Ali Bongo. As the Giants Club evolves, its work is likely to focus increasingly on human-wildlife coexistence.
The pioneering Giants Club African Conservation Journalism Fellowships gathers 24 specialist reporters working for leading media in Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda. It supports them with resources, contacts, and story ideas to widen and deepen their coverage for their domestic audiences. In partnership with the Giants Club’s patron, British newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev, the best stories are then published by The Independent, bringing more African voices to the international conservation debate.