Whitley Award Winner Network

Whitley Fund for Nature

People must be at the heart of conservation if we are to succeed in addressing the global environmental crises.

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) supports local conservation leaders across the Global South to implement and scale up science-based, socially-just solutions that create lasting benefits for wildlife, landscapes, and people.

From grassroots to global

WFN’s Winner Network includes over 200 alumni working across 80 countries. Each year new emerging conservation champions join this network, operating in some of the most biodiverse, remote and under-resourced places on Earth.

As a collective, these local conservation leaders have real potential to scale up solutions that advocate for biodiversity and bring about global environmental change.

Peer-to-peer learning

With support from EET, WFN has created a comprehensive Winner Network Development Programme. The first-ever training week took place online during the COVID-19 pandemic and covered priority topics identified by the network itself.

The programme is enabling winners to share knowledge, learn from each other’s success and failures, avoid duplication and develop evidence-based approaches that work and can be replicated across regions, countries and continents.

“The network is an incredible source of inspiration. Having all this energy and the potential to learn from each other is exactly what we need to build and strengthen.”

Rodrigo Medellín, 2012 Whitley Gold Award winner

Increased funding ambitions

 EET’s early support of the Winner Network has allowed WFN to turn a strategic ambition into a sustainable reality.

The WFN team have leveraged EET’s seed funding to attract further support. This led the team to hit their overall 2021/22 fundraising target of £2 million, up from £1.5 million in 2020/21. As a result, WFN can actively contribute to an increase in sector standards, reach new audiences and remain a leading voice within the international wildlife conservation.

WFN are on their way to raise £3 million per year by 2025 in response to global conservation needs.

Impact at a glance

  • 22 regional and thematic hubs facilitate peer-to-peer learning and standardise the collection and sharing of conservation results
  • Ongoing mentorship and train-the-trainer programmes have developed the Whitley Award Winner Network as a long-term, high-impact venture
  • EET’s seed funding contributed to WFN hitting their fundraising target of £2 million/year in 2022 with plans to achieve £3 million by 2025