Skip to content

Register Now to Meet this Year’s Heroes of the Environment


Reflections on the 2018 ELAW International Annual Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania

August 8, 2018

This is a guest blog post by 2007 Prize winner Hammarskjoeld Simwinga (Zambia, 2007), who attended the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide annual meeting alongside 22 other Prize winners in May 2018.

The Maasai Boma people

This May, the Goldman Environmental Foundation brought together 23 African Prize recipients in Arusha, Tanzania, for a big reunion at the ELAW international meeting. The meeting included public interest environmental lawyers and scientists from different countries who came to share knowledge, skills, and strategies on how to successfully protect the global environment.

The conference was the first of its kind for me to attend. It was highly beneficial and I enjoyed the interaction with environmental lawyers and the many colleagues working in conservation. I also learnt a lot from other front-line defenders on how on many occasions they have endured hardships to save some of the most endangered ecosystems of the world. Many lessons were learnt from their personal and hands-on field experience.

Field Trip to Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Our group’s trip to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area gave me an opportunity to learn how the Tanzanian government has managed to integrate local pastoralists, the indigenous Maasai people, and wildlife.

The crafts and weaving by the local people were communally marketed together with their traditional dancing in one place. This is something I have taken back home and will apply in our newly created community nature conservancy.

Crafts and weaving inside Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Collaboration and Networking

At the conference, I was able to connect with environmental lawyers coming from the southern part of Africa and explore how we can strengthen networking in the region and improve joint advocacy on natural resource law and policy that enhances the promotion of human rights, especially for communities that are collectively staying on communal lands. As a result of this meeting, my task now is to start identifying young people in higher learning institutions to start considering conservation work as a career option. This will help create a wider and stronger network of highly motivated young people who will have the desire to defend the environment for generations to come.

It was highly inspirational to meet so many people who, in many cases, I had only interacted with through mail and pictures. The three days of meeting was truly a reunion with a common purpose.

Hammarskjoeld Simwinga received the Prize in 2007 for his innovative efforts to stop illegal wildlife poaching, which in turn bolstered community economic initiatives. Today, Simwinga continues to work on conservation issues through his organization, Foundation for Wildlife and Habitat Conservation, which promotes the sustainable use of natural resources and creation of economic opportunities for rural communities in Zambia.


Related Posts

Meet Dr. Jane Goodall, Goldman Prize Ceremony Speaker

May 3, 2022

Many famous doctors are fictional—from Doctor Who to Indiana Jones and Dr. Zhivago—but our real world has a living legend in Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE. Sixty years into a trailblazing career, she is the world’s most-beloved conservationist; a UN Messenger of Peace; an author; an international spokesperson; a world-renowned ethologist; an activist; and a global…

Read more
Leaves lighted by sun

Four Historic Earth Days for the Goldman Prize

April 21, 2022

When Richard and Rhoda Goldman set out to create an environmental counterpart to the Nobel Prize, they only dreamed their work might change the world. “We have no idea how important this prize program will turn out to be,” said Rhoda, “but we hope it will be very important.” 32 Earth Days and 200+ Prize…

Read more

Prigi Arisandi Embarks on River Tour, Raising Awareness for Indonesia’s Plastic Problem

April 13, 2022

Prigi Arisandi (Indonesia, 2011) has embarked on a 300-day tour of Indonesia’s rivers, documenting the status of 68 unique waterways. Starting on March 1, 2022, the journey will take Prigi and his team at Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation Foundation (Ecoton) across 68 rivers spanning the entire Indonesian archipelago, from Sumatra to Papua. Many of…

Read more