Greater Kruger Innovative Finance and Livelihoods Lead | WWF South Africa

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Greater Kruger Innovative Finance and Livelihoods Lead

This is a 2-year contract position primarily based at White River, Mpumalanga, with significant travel in Greater Kruger area.
WWF is the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisation, with over 6 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) is a national office that is part of the WWF network. We are a local NGO that has worked for 50 years with the aim of inspiring all South Africans to live in harmony with nature, for the benefit of our country and the wellbeing of all our people. Our work is challenging and exciting and we love what we do. To join our team you need to be brilliant at what you do, passionate, results-orientated and have a positive attitude.
WWF South Africa’s Khetha Programme, the Kruger National Park, private and state managed nature reserves (Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) Cooperative Agreement partners) and NGOs are working together to design, manage and implement conservation-compatible livelihood projects in the Greater Kruger area, with a specific focus on community based socio-economic development opportunities as per the KNP Management plan, GLTFCA Cooperative Agreement, GLTFCA Livelihoods Diversification Strategy and the Greater Kruger Strategic Development Programme (GKSDP). A key focus is on poverty nodes, the KNP integrated land use and community wildlife/socio-economic development programmes (SED), land claimant programmes, and geographical areas dealing with high levels of illegal wildlife trade and community crime.
The drivers of the illegal wildlife trade are complex, but research has shown that one of the ways in which it may be effectively reduced is through the involvement and empowerment of rural communities (Biggs et al., 2017; Cooney et al., 2017; Roe and Booker, 2019). According to UNEP (2018), community members living near protected areas need realistic incentives to support and actively engage in conservation, including anti-poaching initiatives: “The overall benefits from conservation need to outweigh the costs of conserving it.” (p. 58). Empowerment includes giving rural communities a role in the management and conservation of wildlife and protected areas and in enabling economic development opportunities associated with it.
In preparing the 10-year management plan for the Kruger National Park in 2018, South African National Parks (SANParks) conducted 54 stakeholder engagement workshops, involving over 5,700 participants, with communities neighbouring the reserve and other stakeholders across the country.  It is notable that the primary concern of community members neighbouring the Kruger National Park was jobs and socio-economic development opportunities, whilst expressing the critical need to address human-wildlife conflict. This highlights the urgent need to enable communities living in areas around the Greater Kruger to benefit from wildlife and conservation in general through the development of realistic economic opportunities. Communities can be central to establishing the circular economy chains linked to the protected area network, making it possible for meaningful benefits to exceed the costs of living next to protected areas.
Furthermore, making community’s partners in conservation enhance their co-accountability and willingness to be custodians of the protected area network. Considering the adverse effects of COVID-19 on tourism-related livelihoods in the Greater Kruger area, there is a great sense of urgency to find innovative ways to make local people custodians and beneficiaries of nearby protected areas.
The Innovative Finance and Livelihoods Lead will be key to developing feasibility studies and business models and plans, linked to investor platforms (including impact investment) focussed on community livelihoods: “Bankable business plans" are required, such as those that can transform wildlife economy value chains into catalysts for inclusive rural development. Also, economic initiatives need to dovetail and cooperate with protected areas to address landscape-level risks, such as poor governance of natural resources and environmental crime.
The Innovative Finance and Livelihoods Lead will be key to developing feasibility studies, business models and plans to be submitted to potential funders and investors for businesses operated by surrounding community.


  • Conduct a desktop study and situational analysis of potential Innovative Finance instruments, for example, Impact Investing and Payment for Eco-system Services to fund businesses that provide income sources as an alternative to illegal activities.
  • Develop review and case study on lessons learnt on financial viability of existing SMMEs within the wildlife economy, domestic tourism and associated supply chains.
  • Identify sources of funding both locally and globally for both grant and debt finance to fund businesses identified that require funding in the GLTFCA.
  • Design a local business investment scheme for entrepreneurs and small business owners, which is focused on business models dependent on and contributing to GLTFCA.
  • Propose a shared-value model to link specific conservation KPIs to investment in community funds (e.g. # of fires, # of instances of poaching, # of instances of theft) to incentivize community ownership and stewardship of conservation areas.
  • Support businesses in the GLTFCA Cooperative Agreement and broader Greater Kruger Strategic Development Programme that focus on protected areas with a special focus on the economic impacts of COVID-19 on local livelihoods.
  • Provide guidance to local supply chain management processes and circular economies, e.g. the Kruger-2Canyons Biosphere for the Region from the Region, Money-for-Jam platform, the Greater Kruger meat brand, and relevant COVID-19 economic response strategies.
  • Ensure alignment with the Greater Kruger Strategic Development Programme, National ‘Buffer Zone Strategy,’ DEFF’s ‘Biodiversity Economy Strategy’ (and Wildlife Economy Strategy in particular), the National Development Plan and various associated provincial and local biodiversity or bioregional plans, the District Service Delivery model, a suite of GEF Programmes (notable the GEF Mainstreaming, GEF PA and GEF 6 programmes) and other WWF SA programmes in the Greater Kruger region.
  • Work closely with Kruger National Park Ranger Services and Safety and Security clusters, to identify and provide support to feasible businesses that might assist to curb the demand on illegal wildlife activities, through developing and or strengthening value chains linked to the Greater Kruger Protected area network.
  • Lead the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning opportunities to develop case studies about the role and impact of wildlife economy incentives on community perceptions towards illegal wildlife trade, and the impact of wildlife economy incentives on actual illegal wildlife trade incidents.
  • Design the Impact monitoring and management components of all selected Innovative Finance instruments to demonstrate both financial viability and also sustained social and environmental impact.


  • MBA or relevant post graduate degree in Business, Developmental Economics or Finance
  • Proven business development, finance or investment management experience with a minimum of 10 years.
  • Demonstrated success working in finance sector ideally related to conservation and community development
  • Good communication and leadership Proven community engagement experience
  • Experience with innovative finance mechanisms, platforms and models
  • Solid feasibility and business plan development experience
  • Fund raising and fund application experience
  • Excellent financial skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Proven project management skills
  • Proven computer literacy and presentation skills
  • Good understanding of the wildlife and related industry.
  • Good understanding of the tourism industry
  • Excellent monitoring and reporting skills
  • Good work ethic
  • Ability to travel and work in rural environments
  • Experience in working with traditional authorities and municipalities
  • Understanding the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)

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Further information:
The position will be required to travel 50% of the time (locally) to support programme delivery.
To apply please click here fill out the application form, and provide a detailed CV and cover letter
(attach under “Documents”) fully motivating the relevant skills, experience and creativity that you can bring, together with the names, current e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of three relevant references.
Applications close on Wednesday, 28 October 2020.
Applications sent via email will not guarantee consideration.
WWF seeks to promote diversity among its staff. Candidates who have not received a response within three weeks of the closing date are kindly requested to assume that their application has not been successful in this instance. WWF-SA reserves the right not to fill this position.

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