Friends of Ruaha Society
The Friends of Ruaha Society, founded by Geoff Fox, with major contributions by Peter and Bruce Fox, was set up in 1984 with the aim of conserving Ruaha National Park and its surrounding game reserves. Key methods used to achieve the aim include education, and ensuring the local people understand the balance between themselves, wildlife, and the environment.
It is clear that sustainable tourism is the key to both educating people about the importance of our ecosystems, as well as a way of funding the conservation of the environment and local communities.
FORS works to fulfil its mission through a comprehensive Environmental Education Program developed over several years, using Tanzania's curriculum as a starting point. FORS works in Primary Schools in and around Ruaha National Park and helps to train local game scouts working in the new Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The WMA is land along the Southern border of Ruaha National Park that has been set aside by the villages to be managed by Matumizi Bora ya Malihai Idodi na Pawaga (MBOMIPA), ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of Natural Resources while benefiting local people.
For many years FORS ran on an entirely volunteer base and raised money for many of the park's basic needs, including boots and radios for the rangers and the building of roads.
As the national park's capacity to fulfil its own mission increased, FORS recognized the need to explore ways to continue best supporting the conservation of the larger ecosystem. The organization began with some small scale environmental education work and income-generating projects in the villages in Idodi division, bordering Ruaha National Park.
FORS works closely with RUNAPA, WCS, and MBOMIPA in implementing its Environmental Education Program. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to MBOMIPA and the residents of Idodi and Pawaga Divisions for their successful bid to establish the Pawaga-Idodi Wildlife Management Area (PIWMA). We also applaud the Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism for its approval of and assistance in the establishment of PIWMA.