Manyara Ranch in Tanzania is an important migration corridor for wildlife, including lions and elephants. That sure was causing problems for the functioning primary school on the site. Annenberg has been backing work to fit it all together.
Manyara Ranch was established as a cattle ranch in colonial Tanzania, but over 20 years, it fell into disrepair. And yet, a school on the premises continued to be one of the best in the country. Aside from the old facilities, it did have one other problem: lions and other large animals would wander through the schoolyard.
In order to revive the ranch as a conservation project and get the kids out of the paths of the dangerous and often threatened wildlife traffic, the African Wildlife Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation and the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust have been working to allow the components to live side by side.
The Annenberg Foundation funded the relocation of the primary school to the perimeter of the ranch. Since 2006, the Los Angeles-based and usually regional funder has given multiple grants totaling more than $1.6 million to the project. This has funded conservation projects, relocation of the school, the establishment of a computer lab at the new facility to serve rural Tanzania, and a recent $125,000 grant for school maintenance and supplies.
Meanwhile, the ranch itself has been turned into a protected area to maintain its importance as a migration corridor, and is also something of an ecotourism destination. The AWF and TLCT maintain conservation rights to the land, running community conservation projects and rehabilitating the ranch. And to help sustain the project, they run tourism programs, including guided safaris and a tented campsite.
Moving a school from a wildlife corridor is kind of an unusual program to fund, and it may seem even more unusual considering we’re talking about Annenberg. After all, this is the foundation that gives overwhelmingly to Los Angeles area, recognizable for having its name on every third or so structure in the county.
But the foundation has eclectic interests, and wildlife is one of them. The funder gives to not only urban animal protection, but global wildlife work, particularly in Africa. We wrote recently about Annenberg’s work to protect Bornean orangutans. And Annenberg has given to other projects of the African Wildlife Foundation, including for environmental education in Rwanda to teach about the endangered mountain gorillas.
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