The Empowering People Programme (EPP) was initiated out of a strategic restructuring of BirdLife South Africa’s programmes in 2020. BirdLife South Africa recognizes that people and communities are integral to our conservation work. The EPP aims to upskill, empower, educate, and equip communities to be stewards of our birds and their habitats as well as to become primary beneficiaries within the biodiversity economy. The EPP currently hosts three projects: Avitourism, Education and Awareness, and the Wakkerstroom Tourism and Education Centre.
The Avitourism Project is involved in supporting avitourism throughout South Africa through the training of community bird guides, maintaining a network of BirdLife South Africa Recommended Accommodations, Tour Operators, and Course Providers, overseeing the Birding Routes and the Go Birding online platform, the South Africa Listers’ Club, and by promoting birding in South Africa locally and abroad.
The Wakkerstroom Tourism and Education Centre is located just outside the town of Wakkerstroom in the Mpumalanga grasslands. The Centre has an active role in the local community through various educational projects and by attracting birders who can make use of the accommodation facilities and the bird guiding services on offer.