Many people who visit Africa, or those with an interest in this amazing continent, at some point will ask themselves (or me) “how can I help?”
As beautiful as Africa is, many of the countries I write about are also facing more than their fair share of problems. Many species of wildlife and plants are facing extinction through poaching; poverty is and issue; and people face serious health issues including malaria and HIV-Aids.
Further down on this page I’d like to share with you some links to organisations that I either directly support or that I believe are doing a good job.
It’s important, however, not to just take my word and to do your research thoroughly and, if necessary, to contact the organisations direct before you think of sending money or seeing if you can help in some other way.
If you’ve read the ‘acknowledgements’ sections of some of my books then you may have noticed that the names of the characters in my stories are often those of real people who have paid money to deserving charities, usually at auction, for the right to have their name assigned to a fictitious character.
I have a couple of rules for people who would like their name (or the name of a friend, relative or loved one) used as a character. Firstly, I get to choose who the character is (you can’t specify if you want to be a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddy’). Secondly, I get to decide the prominence of ‘your’ character.
Sometimes it comes down to the name and/or the gender as to whether a character will be a leading man or woman, not how much the person paid. However, if you do pay a small fortune to charity I’ll certainly do my best to give you a bigger rather than smaller part.
The best way to have your name used in a book is to attend one of the charity functions that I attend each year. If you sign up to my newsletter via the form at the bottom of this page, or follow me on Facebook (as tonyparkauthor), you’ll get notice of these functions.
If I have space in a book (and these days nearly all the names of the characters in my book have been paid for by someone) then sometimes I can help you with a name if you contact me directly via email and ask nicely.
None of the money goes to me – I only use names of people who have paid money to registered charities.
Painted Dog Conservation Inc I am a patron of this well established wildlife charity based in Western Australia which principally supports in-situ conservation efforts to protect the endangered African Painted Dog (aka African Wild Dog).
Veterans for Wildlife (V4W) I volunteer for this UK-based charity as their public relations officer. V4W pairs military veterans from the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and serving personnel with anti-poaching an conservation organisations in Africa. They also run an innovative program for veterans with PTSD to volunteer at a rhino orphanage in South Africa. Contact me if you or someone you know might be interested in getting involved.
Breaking the Brand/Nature Needs More Based in Victoria, Australia, Breaking the Brand (now incorporated with Nature Needs More) runs targeted advertising and marketing campaigns in Vietnam to try and dissuade people for using rhino horn. I believe that reducing demand for endangered wildlife products is, ultimately, to reduce the demand for them.
Imire Ranch, Zimbabwe I know a few people who have given their time to volunteer at Imire, which does an excellent job in the captive breeding of endangered Black Rhinos. You have to pay to volunteer but I believe Imire’s work is worth it.
SAVE Foundation, Australia Based in Western Australia the SAVE foundation has probably done more to protect rhinos in Africa than any other single charity I can think of. They’re well worth having a look at.
Conservation & Wildlife Fund The CWF is funded by lodge and tourism operators working in and around Hwange National Park, where I am now an investor in the newly redeveloped Nantwich Lodge. They do a great job supporting the local national parks rangers in fighting poaching.
South African National Parks Honorary Rangers These volunteers, who give up their free time to support the SANPARKS full-time ranger corps, do a fantastic job. One of the key projects they support is the training, feeding and housing of anti-poaching tracker dogs and their handlers.
Heal Africa Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo I’ve done a few fundraisers for a group of Australia volunteer medical people who give their time to help out in this hospital in one of the most war-ravaged parts of the world.
Hand-up Congo This is a great example of wonderful grass-roots charity looking after a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Canines for Africa - this international NGO raises money to breed and train anti-poaching tracker dogs for the fight against wildlife poaching. They’re good people, and helped me wth the research for my book ’Scent of Fear’.