The Community Engagement Program

eleCREW works directly with local communities affected by Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC). We aim to improve the lives of these communities and aid greater coexistence with the wildlife that they live side by side with.

How do we achieve our vision?

By combining the Education and Research Programs with direct action on the ground, eleCREW aims to empower local communities towards a path of greater coexistence.
Currently, the focus is on rural communities in Matabeleland North Province, the North-West of Zimbabwe, introducing them to low tech tools and techniques that can help them to better coexist and appreciate the elephants they live side by side with. This is through a five stage process and starts with attitude change made possible by ‘Through The Eyes Of An Elephant’:
  1. Introduce community members to the Education Programchanging perceptions of elephants and introducing new ways of coexistence.

  2. Being invited into the community to assess their needs.

  3. Development of a coexistence strategy based on the community specifics and what we know works elsewhere.

  4. Training and implementation to empower the community themselves.

  5. Feedback, data collection and strategy adjustment as required.

What have we done so far?

The first stage of this program is to raise awareness and appreciation .amongst affected communities of elephants and introduce them to new ideas in Human-Elephant Coexistence. This is achieved by the basic education program: ‘Through The Eyes of an Elephant’ .

So far we have had community groups and Elders from 10 local villages.

The elders from the local Sikhabelo community having experienced ‘Through The Eyes Of An Elephant’ and met our Ambassador Herd became really excited by the Chilli Fence solution to crop-raiding. They asked us for chilli fence training and to help them further. Having been invited into their community we teamed up with Connected Conservation to understand the problems they are experiencing coexisting with wildlife next to Jafuta.

In the other community local to Jafuta – Woodlands – we have been helping with interventions to prevent crop-raiding from wild elephants. This has taken some time to gain traction, but recently we were overjoyed to receive this message from one of the community elders:

“The Chilli concept is slowly gaining support from the community and more people are interested in planting chilli in their plots. It is amazing to hear stories from the elderly farmers who are now positive about how the chilli works. It is this interest that has led to the stocks running out. The farmers are therefore appealing for additional oil & chilli.”

What is our goal?

In association with our strategic partners, the eleCREW Community Empowerment program aims to subsidise and help manage a network of ‘Community Guardians’, respected community members who live in affected areas.
These ‘Community Guardians’ play an active and sustainable role in encouraging their communities to implement positive coexistence measures and techniques as well as recording instances of conflict for accurate data capture and monitoring.

Who are the Key Team Members?


Communities Manager

How can you help?


Pays for equipment & chillis needed for a training session with a single village on chilli mitigation techniques


Pays for a site visit & training for one village on appropriate crop protection measures from elephants


Pays for a smartphone for a Community Guardian


Pays for phone credit for a Community Guardian for a year


Covers all costs for a Community Guardian for a month – that’s one village protected!


Who are the Strategic Partners?

Greenline Africa
Connected Conservation
Connected Conservation
Pristine Victoria Falls Society
Painted Dog Research Trust
“Think globally – Act locally”