SW Organizational Needs

  1. Improve Monitoring and Advocacy

Serengeti Watch monitors and reports on macro trends facing the Serengeti ecosystem. This is a high priority activity that seeks to identify critical issues as they arise and, if needed, take action. Information is collected daily from multiple sources, including first hand reports from the field, scientific studies, news reports, and information sent to us by individuals from various organizations around the world.


  • Development of more sources of information and ways to verify this information. This will require several hours a week for research.
  • Better and expanded use of social media to inform and educate the public.
  • Press releases to news outlets. Cultivation of journalists.
  • More visits to Tanzania and the Serengeti to do research.
  1. Increase Donor Funding

Our funding base needs to expand, and there is definitely room to grow if the investment is made.


  • Implementation of a donor strategy and funds to carry it out
  • Engagement and cultivation of current donors, and turning supporters into donors.
  • Expansion of our news and social media outreach
  • Development of Friends of Serengeti. See below
  1. Build Friends of Serengeti Funding

FOS is an internal project of Serengeti Watch to enlist the support of tour companies, primarily in the US and Europe, by (a) joining as a member with annual dues, currently $600 and (b) encouraging their travelers to make donations to FOS for conservation activities.

This program is a way for Serengeti Watch to build its own income stream and become less dependent on outside help. It also builds a group that can advocate, give feedback on guides, and lobby for safety, and best practices for tour companies. As was done with a similar Galapagos organization, we believe it can grow if the proper marketing is done.


  • Research into travel companies to recruit as members
  • Development of FOS marketing materials to attract members
  • Social media posting. Press releases
  • Building benefits for member companies
  • Educating companies on how to engage travelers and build donations
  • e-brochure for travelers explaining FOS and threats facing the Serengeti
  • Time by a staff person to devote to marketing and development. 10-15 hours a week.
  1. Build SW organizational capacity

Serengeti Watch needs funds for staff and travel. Our goal is to have a full time Executive Director who can manage the administration and help build the organization. Moreover, we would like to have our individual donor funding and Friends of Serengeti traveler funding go entirely to our programs and not operating costs.


  • Full time Executive Director for administration, communication, research, accounting, donor relations & other funding activities, including Friends of Serengeti
  • Part-time Director, modest salary to guide above activities
  • Two additional board members
  • Funds for travel to East Africa
  1. Research and Develop of Population Welfare Programs

Serengeti Watch believes that unchecked population growth around the Serengeti poses the greatest long term threat to the ecosystem. To date, there has been little done to directly and strategically address t­­­­his threat. ­­­But reducing population growth is not the end goal. It is a means to an end, improving people’s lives and prospects for their children. Without reducing population growth, progress toward this can neither be made or sustained.

Stabilizing population is also the best way to affect the equation between human welfare and protection of great natural ecosystems. If human needs are not met, it will be impossible to save the Serengeti.

Many outside conservation organizations working in Tanzania are not in a position to advocate for or fund such efforts without facing controversy or outright opposition and hostility.

But in many communities, women already understand the need for smaller family size and spacing of children. Many want to use contraceptives. But in Tanzania, only 26% of married women use modern contraception (mostly in urban areas), compared with 53% for Kenya. Teenage pregnancies and early marriage also contribute to the problem. About 21% of Tanzanian girls between 15 and 19 years old give birth. 40% of Tanzanian girls are married before the age of 18, and just 33% are in secondary school.

One recent study near the Serengeti in Tanzania by Aine McCarthy, a Professor of Applied Economics, found that only 12% of women were using contraceptives, even though 89% wanted to delay or prevent pregnancy. One big obstacle, men. Men want larger families than women, six times more children than women according to this study. Unfortunately, men rule, while women bear most of the burden and most of the risk. The mortality rate among women who give birth in Tanzania is among the highest in the world. Reducing pregnancies also reduces death of young mothers.

Family planning is key to many issues facing local people, including climate change. As one researcher states, “Tanzania is acutely vulnerable to climate change…and family planning is a critical component of building resilience.”

Goal: The overriding goal is improving human welfare by reducing birth rates and family size in communities around the Serengeti.

SWOT for population welfare programs


  • We are focused on a few particular communities, not the entire region.
  • Many programs have been developed around the world. We can draw on their experience
  • There is already some awareness among local people and organizations.
  • There are funding opportunities for women’s programs and family planning from many worldwide organizations
  • Some East African human welfare organizations exist that are already engaged in this work.


  • Population and gender equity are massive issues
  • There are deep cultural attitudes about family size and women’s status
  • There is a serious gender equity gap with resistance for change
  • It will take time and organizations working together
  • There may be resistance to family planning, especially contraception
  • Outside organizations need to work carefully and diplomatically


  • Studies have shown that women support smaller families and want education
  • We are developing multiple channels to reach local communities
  • There are some leaders among women and men who understand and support family planning and women’s education
  • There are ways to build more support among men
  • Other organizations are available for local support
  • We are focusing on key communities around the Serengeti


  • The current Tanzanian president does not strongly support family planning, and has directed that teenage girls who get pregnant will be barred from school.
  • Other opposition within the government or communities may grow
  • The pro-life movement and some FBO’s are against contraception. One organization’s statement: “Now our job is to support the President and his administration with up to date information on the harm done to women, families and societies by widespread use of contraceptives,”
  • Political and economic conditions may change and make this work more difficult

Population Welfare Strategy:

Our initial step is to support Serengeti Preservation Foundation in its programs, which include indirect approaches. Serengeti Watch will have a more direct role, designing and implementing a basic strategy, evaluating it, scaling it up over time, and supporting other organizations. One organization cannot achieve the needed results on its own, but a strategic, coordinated, well-funded cross-community approach may be able to have a significant impact.

This must involve a holistic effort that utilizes integrates several approaches, outlined below:

Population Welfare Programs:

There are several ways to approach this task:

Direct Family Planning

  • Counseling by trained local workers
  • Contraception
  • Reducing family size
  • Spacing children
  • Maternal health
  • Reproductive rights

Education for Girls and Women

  • Providing educational opportunities is a proven way to reduce fertility rates
  • Scholarships for girls to attend school
  • Income opportunities: Micro-enterprise training

Informal Education through Media

  • Programming of radio and television dramas has been shown to have an impact on family size
  • Programs by women role models
  • Discussions by elders and other opinion makers regarding population growth, opportunities for women, the need for family planning, and the role of men.
  • Education and encouragement of journalists and media outlets to report on this.

Building Community Leadership

  • Find opinion leaders and elders who understand the issues
  • Encourage community dialogue that looks to the future
  • Use media like radio to extend this outreach.

Involve Other Organizations

  • Utilize the Serengeti Preservation Foundation partner network
  • Coordinate with Greater Mara Conservancy network (MMWCA)
  • Conduct workshops and seminars with other NGOs
  • Enlist the help of Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) where possible
  • Support medical facilities and their outreach personnel

Serengeti Watch Needs:

Serengeti Watch intends to systematically develop this program over five years, concurrent with Serengeti Preservation Foundation programs. Our role will be to identify and support existing programs and act as a catalyst for bringing in other organizations and funding.

  • Staff time for:
    • Evaluation of population growth around Serengeti and feasibility of reducing
    • Research into use of girls/women’s education
    • Research into use of radio programming
    • Research into best family planning practices and program
    • Evaluation of gender equity, and options for influencing attitudes of men
    • Identification and evaluation of organizations that are already involved
  • Development of a detailed strategy, goals, and timeline based on research and experience of other organizations.
  • Development of partnerships with other organizations
  • Funding for partner programs and/or original Serengeti Watch programs
  • Attracting of support among other NGO’s for scaling up these programs
  • Evaluation and Evolution
  1. Build SW Administrative Capacity

We need to add a permanent staff position, an Assistant Director who can assist in all phases of our organization. This will allow our organization to work with our current base of individual donors, convert more of our followers to donors, and to build outside funding through our Friends of Serengeti program. It will be an investment that will make us more self-sufficient. Office space is not currently needed, nor is computer equipment for several years.