Community Leaders Network

The CLN website is live!

Community Leaders Network of Southern Africa (CLN) was born after the inaugural African Wildlife Summit which was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe in 2019.  At this summit, community leaders noted the need to have one voice when dealing with community rights on natural resources in Southern Africa.


the community leaders network

“We are the custodians of our natural resources and the key to its sustainability.  Our voices matter" 

About the Community Leaders Network

Community Leaders Network is a collaborative grouping of rural representatives from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Our Vision

Our Vision is socially and economically resilient rural southern African people whose livelihoods are grounded in their rights to sustainably use their natural resources supported by international respect for their existing governance systems.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to ensure that the voices of rural African people are heard and influence international, regional and national public and policy making process’s that affect our rights and abilities to sustainably manage those natural resources on which our livelihoods depend.

Guiding principles

 Intergenerational equity, engagement and commitment

 Compassion for people and nature

 Sustainable utilisation and development

 Open dialogue and cooperation

 Transparency and accountability to the people we represent and to each other

 Unity of purpose 

Our Goal

Our Goal is equitable and sustainable use rights of our wildlife and other natural resources for social and environmental justice and the economic benefit of present and future generations of rural peoples.

Towards the achievement of our goal, our overall objective is to take our rightful space in policy negotiation, development and implementation processes and amplify our voices to ensure informed decision making at national, regional and international levels that reflects the demands and rights of rural people to manage their wildlife.

Free, Prior Informed Consent

Community Leadership Network partners and collaborators must obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) through community representatives before making decisions, speaking on our behalf and implementing projects/activities that concern our lives and resources. The conditions for consent must be as follows:

Free – undertaken in a climate of mutual trust

Informed and Prior – where relevant information is provided in advance for the purposes of consultation


Consent – provided in writing in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by community representative leaders and partners.

FPIC ensures our collective ownership, beyond consultation to include consent, towards protecting our rights, guaranteeing ourparticipation and collective voice in key decision making processes, and safeguarding our way of life.


CLN Activities.

cln activities

Social media training

The CLN is embarking on a social media training programme that will hone their skills and confidence to amplify their voices and share their perspectives by engaging in and responding to issues raised and debated on social media platforms that matter to their communities. The intensive theoretical and practical training will take place over a period of six weeks. Expect to hear more local voices on issues of conservation, biodiversity, sustainable use and sustainable livelihoods in current global debates.


Video series production

Following on from the success of the Let Africans Decide video which covered the ‘Open Letter to Celebrities’, a series is being produced on a range of topics, each addressing different resource management ‘themes’ relating to sustainable natural resource management and local livelihoods that affect CLN member communities. The second in the series on the topic of rights, resources and opening space for engagement from different perspectives, featuring Zimbabwean conservationist Dr Moreangels Mbizah was recently launched.

COVID-19 impacts rapid assessment

A data collection process is being undertaken in all CLN member countries to determine interventions required to cushion communities and conservation in Southern African countries affected by the devastating impacts of COVID19 at household level. Its focus is on communities and households dependent on wildlife and tourism-related economic activities.

Our Voices.

Videos, Webinars and Podcasts.

Case Studies

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