EAWLS was founded through a merger of the Kenya and Tanzania Wildlife Societies (both were formed in 1956) and wildlife enthusiasts from Uganda.
Our rich history dates back to 1956 when we made our first step as an organization. Over the years we have realised monumental achievements and made contributions towards various legislations and policies.
Our work has evolved over two phases since inception in 1956. In the period 1956 – 1992, our approach narrowly focused on wildlife species protection. During this period our key activities included supporting research, building capacities of individual wildlife conservationists and institutions, and supporting conservation projects targeting endangered and threatened wildlife species.
We have since been working in four broad sectors including forests, wetlands, marine and wildlife. Our work in these areas was strengthened by the creation of sector-based national forums that emerged in the 1990s – the first being the Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG). Currently, we host two other forums, the Kenya Wildlife Conservation Forum (KWCF) and the Kenya Wetlands Forum (KWF).
We have since broadened our mandate to include a more general and proactive approach of sustainable utilization of the environment and natural resources as opposed to just wildlife. In this new approach we also included public education, advocacy, stakeholders’ participation and capacity building. We have since then been working in four broad sectors including forests, wetlands, marine and wildlife.
Our widely-read Swara magazine is the voice of conservation in East Africa. With it, we aim to create a collaborative space for sharing information, enabling useful connections,and stimulate better public understanding and debate. EAWLS is also a co-publisher of the East African Journal of Ecology that focuses on scientific research in the region.
EAWLS takes a lead role in facilitating and contributing to the formulation and implementation of policies and laws in the land, natural resource conservation and management sector that lead to the safeguarding of biodiversity and ecosystems as well as enhanced socio-economic outcomes for all people in East Africa.
EAWLS has a strong community-based approach in its direct conservation programmes and initiatives. We work closely with Beach Management Units (BMUs), Community Forest Associations (CFAs), Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) and Community Wildlife Conservancies.