From Zimbabwe: Damien Mander Speaking Tour
Founder of the International Anti Poaching Foundation in the U.S. On behalf of 'Akashinga'
LOS ANGELES - July 10, 2018 - PRLog -- Known as the 'vegan sniper', DAMIEN MANDER, a former Australian navy clearance diver, special ops sniper, and Iraq war veteran kicked off a five week speaking tour in the United States as a feature of the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles last weekend. In addition, a private benefit for IAPF was held in Beverly Hills at the home of Misha Jannard on Friday, June 29th. Guests in attendance showing support for the organization included Charlie Hunnam, Joaquin Phoenix, Mara Rooney, and Kat Von D, amongst other high profile lawmakers and conservationists. Moby was the first to come forward with a generous donation, bringing the total raised by the event to 200K.
Mander founded IAPF in 2009, utilizing his military background to train rangers to protect Africa's wildlife. IAPF is a multi-national not-for-profit conservation organization working to protect the dwindling elephant and rhino populations due to the poaching crisis.
The Nature Conservancy states, "that empowering women is the single biggest force for positive change in the world today." In 2017, IAPF launched an all-female anti poaching unit called 'AKASHINGA', meaning 'The Brave Ones' in Shona, the native language of Zimbabwe.
Akashinga is a new and innovative conservation model in an industry predominantly dominated by men. The primary strategy of Akashinga is female empowerment, which generates the greatest leverage in family and community development, and conservation becomes a direct beneficiary. Utilizing conservation funding for female empowerment creates a larger impact, as the same dollar benefits women, community, and conservation instead of one particular focus. The area patrolled by Akashinga is the only reserve in the world to be managed and protected by women. It was formerly used for trophy hunting and the employment of women provides an economic alternative to the local communities that is greater than trophy hunting was. The program is also a plant based initiative.
Mander's speaking tour will focus on raising awareness and funding for Akashinga, which has now made 62 arrests since going operational last October. The goal of the tour is to raise 1 million dollars which will go towards employing more women as the program expands. The California leg netted almost $400,000 in the first week.
Mander will be speaking at events in Jackson Hole, New York City, Newport, DC, Aspen, and San Francisco until early August.
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