San Clemente, Calif.—November 14, 2017—Elephant Cooperation, dedicated to saving elephants and helping children, today announced its partnership with WildlifeDirect in an effort to support Maasai women and the wildlife population of Kenya.
With human population growth in Kenya at an all-time high in the poorest areas, the country is seeing its animal populations plummet at an alarming rate. This is due to unsustainable land use practices where animals and people share vast areas of land. These circumstances make poverty one of the greatest threats to animals—therefore, alleviating poverty is essential to stop the extinction of elephants and other threatened species.
WildlifeDirect’s enterprise projects and partnership with Elephant Cooperation allows poor communities to escape poverty while decreasing child mortality, improving education and reducing birth rates. This has a particular impact in areas around Kenyan parks where it is important to reduce population pressure in wildlife-rich zones. WildlifeDirect’s Fashion for Wildlife brand provides employment along with education about business, wildlife, nature and green living. This leads to positive behaviors such as cleaning the environment, planting trees and using sustainable fuel sources. Beadwork was chosen as the first project because of the extremely talented and creative women living in these communities. Studies have shown that economically empowered women tend to invest their money wisely and have smaller families.
Elephant Cooperation’s goal is to save elephants from extinction while also supporting children and communities. The organization supports multiple African projects that are making headway on these fronts. After learning about WildlifeDirect’s enterprise projects, Elephant Cooperation determined they aligned with many of its own goals and is working to find U.S. distribution channels and markets.
“We were very inspired to hear about women in Kenya working to better their lives through their beautiful creations,” said Scott Struthers, founder of Elephant Cooperation. “Working with WildlifeDirect to empower these women made perfect sense in our efforts to stop the extinction of elephants.”
The embellished denim jackets are beaded by women who choose the colors and patterns themselves based on their cultural and traditional knowledge, which has been passed on through generations. During a recent Elephant Cooperation fundraiser that raised more than $900,000, these jackets were featured and sold out by the end of the event.
“I was really moved when I asked these women why they were beading animals on jackets for people in America to wear,” said CEO of WildlifeDirect, Paula Kahumbu. “They told me that every time the owner wears the jacket, they are telling the world they are connected to the animal and are contributing to its protection in Africa. We are delighted that Elephant Cooperation wants to help us distribute these meaningful pieces in America.”
About Elephant Cooperation
The brainchild of Scott Struthers, a successful California-based entrepreneur and son of a biologist, Elephant Cooperation is a non-profit devoted to raising awareness of the African elephant crisis. The organization empowers neighboring communities and supports existing conservation groups in order to tackle the issue on multiple fronts—protection, awareness, efficiency and community. The organization’s goal is to develop projects/cooperation across NGOs to use as best practices and common resources while focusing on donor relationships. Anyone wanting to support and learn more about Elephant Cooperation projects can visit www.elephantcooperation.com.
WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan based not for profit organization that changes hearts, minds and laws to ensure that Africa’s critical species endure forever. The organization, founded by Richard Leakey, plays a leading role in the conservation of Kenya’s wildlife through its legal, community outreach and education programs. WildlifeDirect connects people to wildlife through fashion so that communities will value wildlife and live together harmoniously. Fashion for Wildlife beaded items were featured in London Fashion Week in October 2017.
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