Saturday, 13 January 2018

Please support a worthwhile project

Yusuph Emmanuel (© Martine Wauters)

Action for Swifts is supporting a project to enable a talented young Tanzanian, Yusuph Emmanuel, to travel to the International Swift Conference in Tel Aviv in March.

AfS has agreed to enable UK people to make contributions via its Paypal link and bank account.

All monies received by AfS will be forwarded to the project.



Methods of making payments to AfS are described herePlease provide a clear reference to "Project Yusuph" with any payment.

For payments outside the UK, please contact Martine


Martine Wauters, whose initiative this is, describes the rationale behind this idea:

I'm contacting you with a call for financial support for an amazing Swift supporter from the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in Tanzania, to whom I would like to give the opportunity of participating in the next International Swift Conference in Tel Aviv.

As some of you may know, Dr Jane Goodall has been supporting my transcontinental Swift projects for years. In 2017, she asked her Tanzanian director to contact me in order to support my “Swifts Without Frontiers” initiative. Last July, I had the honour of making an "inspirational talk" to international "youth leaders" of her Roots & Shoots (R&S) network (a very successful worldwide youth programme), during a yearly summit in Windsor.

One of those 10 delegates, selected out of over 100,000 R&S groups, was Yusuph Emanuel, a 33 year-old Tanzanian from Kigoma. Yusuph had been a very dedicated R&S volunteer since 2000. Since his graduation from the Shinyanga Teachers College in 2013, he has been volunteering for the JGI in Kigoma, in various projects such as planting trees in schools, providing environmental education, raising awareness and love of animals and pursuing other community development activities.

After my presentation, Yusuph was immediately eager to support Swift conservation. Since his return to Tanzania last August, he has been leading an impressive awareness-raising campaign, talking with passion to over 2,500 students, and leading field study expeditions.

Swifts killed by villagers in the region of Kigoma
© Yusuph Emmanuel (R&S Tanzania)
During that field work, he's been finding out about regular cases of massive killing of various species of Swifts and Swallows, that have been traditionally eaten by the local population. He has not only been documenting and reporting this to me, but he's also been fighting with diplomacy and dedication to try and find a sustainable solution.

By helping him to go to Tel Aviv, you would not only allow him to learn a lot during the conference, but also to meet potential partners for future Swift and Swallow conservation in Tanzania. He could also participate with me in some school activities near Tel Aviv, and to be JGI's ambassador at the Swift Welcoming Ceremony, where he would represent R&S partner groups from Belgium, Spain, Scotland and South Africa (a.o.) who have all been participating in my Swifts without Frontiers projects.

He would be the first ever representative from sub Saharan Africa to participate in such a conference, which could open promising perspectives for Swift conservation in the area where those birds spend 9 months of the year, with no or very little conservation measures.

The aim of Swifts Without Frontiers is to help to support such initiatives and transcontinental partnerships in order to know and protect Swifts better throughout their range. As an active member of a world-wide programme dedicated to animal and environment protection, as well as to education and peace promotion, I’m convinced that Yusuph deserves massive support from the “Northern Swift Community”.

You can help by donating funds to cover his accommodation and travel expenses (or « frequent flier miles » if you have some from Air France).  We are still working out costs, but they are likely to be of the order of £1000.

Should there be any funds left over after paying for Yusuph’s trip to Tel Aviv they will be reserved for projects to support Swift and Swallow protection in Tanzania. A nation-wide campaign is being prepared by JGI Tanzania, with the help of Swifts Without Frontiers and the Dar Es Salam University.

You can find more pictures of Yusuph and his activities on my blog:
http://martinew.canalblog.com/archives/2018/01/11/36037260.html
Anyone willing to help can contact Martine in private for practical details.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2018 UK Swift Awareness Week, 16-23 June


One for your summer diary: the new national ‘2018 UK Swift Awareness Week’, 16 - 23 June 2018

As we count the days until our wonderful Swifts are back in our skies again, we’re delighted to let you know about an exciting development for 2018.

This summer, Britain will become the first country in the world to dedicate a national week in support of Swifts.

Swift Awareness Week will run from 16 - 23 June. There will be events and publicity all around the country, organised by dozens of local Swift groups. These events aim to raise awareness of Swifts and bring a focus to their plight, and of course provide information about how to help them. The Swift is one of the few endangered species that individuals really can help in their own property and there are many groups across the country working hard to try to halt their dramatic decline of 50% in just 20 years.

Some of the events that you might find happening near you are

1. An evening walk to show people Swifts, led by a local expert.
2. A talk about swifts in a local hall.
3. An evening informal gathering at a house that has Swifts nesting.
4. An ‘open garden’ event with displays about Swifts and ideally Swifts nesting within sight.
5. A parade down a street with Swift flags and more.
6. A celebration of the Swifts and the long journeys they will be making in May and July/August at a local school.
7. A Swift stall/display at a local event or in the local library or community centre.
8. A Swift stall set up in the local church/community centre/school.
9. A combination of two or more of the above – or something completely different.

As we become aware of planned events we will publish them in the AfS Swift events diary

Of course if there is nothing near you, why not plan your own Swift event to join our busy calendar of events? Please send details to swiftawarenessweek@gmail.com where you can also request further information.