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My Africa at Shorty Awards


Through virtual reality, Conservation International is able to bring people face-to-face with the communities on the front lines of conservation.

Until now, the best way to inspire people to engage and invest in our work was to take them to our field sites to experience our work firsthand. Because that’s costly and complex, our reach had been limited to the very few who could afford to make such a remarkable journey.

VR has changed all that — allowing more people to experience the beauty and importance of these places without the time or cost of travel. The immersive experience of VR creates higher levels of empathy that can change minds and change behavior. Through VR, we believe more people will come to understand how local communities rely on nature and can help protect nature for the benefit of us all.

We chose to produce “My Africa” to shed light on a community-led solution to wildlife conservation in Africa. While there are other VR films that speak to the plight of Africa’s wildlife and the poaching wars, we wanted ours to remind people of what still exists, and what could be lost if we are not mindful stewards. We also want to celebrate the work of indigenous communities and local people who, in their self-interest, are working together to care for our planet. Conservation International’s work together with the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and surrounding communities is a model worth replicating.

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