My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for People Resources and Conservation Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA
PRCF is a relatively small environmental NGO working in several countries in SE Asia focusing on biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes of global conservation significance. For me what makes PRCF different to other conservation NGOs is their long term presence on the ground at their field sites and the emphasis on working with remote and often ethnic minority or tribal community groups. I worked for PRCF for just over 1 year in 2006-2007, managing an environmental education project at Ba Be National Park in northern Vietnam. PRCF has maintained a programme at Ba Be for a number of years and works closely with both the park staff and the resident ethnic Tay and Nung minority groups in conserving this very special limestone landscape. Much of their funding for this work comes from the Regional Network for Indigenous Peoples and indeed they facilitated the hosting of a RNIP workshop in 2008 at Ba Be, where ethnic minority leaders and staff of similar projects gathered to discuss rights-based approaches to conservation and development. My fondest memories were of the annual Tay New Year festival where we used to run a stall with environmental education activities for local children - very messy and lots of fun!
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Environmental Education, Strengthening Community Ownership and Rights over Natural Resources, Community-based conservation, Endangered Species Research
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I am no longer really in a position to comment on this however my impression is that like all smaller sized NGOs PRCF faces difficulties in obtaining the requisite funding to maintain a solid presence in the countries where they work. They are fighting to survive in a very competitive space and their programmes would benefit from greater assured or core funding which would provide a secure base from which to launch their conservation support programmes.
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What is unique about this organization?
The way it works on the ground and in partnership with communities towards achieving conservation goals. The organisation promotes a rights-based approach which is as much about preserving the cultures and identity of indigenous groups as it is about biodiversity conservation. PRCF works through traditional natural resource management structures by engaging local communities as genuine partners. A lot of what the organisation does is to try and facilitate the securing of better ownership, tenure and resource use rights for indigenous communities and in so doing build in a conservation or sustainable management agenda. It does this by working hard at the grassroots level and by only focusing on very specific and relatively small target groups. In SE Asia, PRCF is now being brought in by larger and more well-known conservation NGOs (such as Birdlife, Fauna and Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society and others) to perform this role. It is in this sense that PRCF is unique and they perform a vital niche role in the high priority conservation areas in which they work. To me, this is a fundamentally different angle to the approaches still adopted by many conservation organisations and projects.