Alumna Rachel Harris graduated with a degree in Business Studies from the University of Brighton in 1999. She spent five years working in events fundraising for a charity in London and then made the decision to Move to Namibia to follow her conservation dreams. She now runs the Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) and has been doing so for nearly 20 years. EHRA is an NGO which is dedicated to the peaceful co-existence of free-roaming desert-dwelling elephants and humans in Namibia.
There have been devastating droughts in the region, which means elephants can be destructive in their search for water, and out of desperation, they frequently destroy water pipes or spear their tusks through water tanks that can leave communities without a local water source for years. EHRA works directly with local communities to construct protective walls which allow elephants to drink water, but prevent access to the windmills, water storage tanks or pumps. Funding is provided by an award-winning volunteering program that encourages participants to help with the construction of these walls as well as elephant patrols.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, the NGO is struggling financially which means that they are unable to raise funds to send the team out on patrol. Regular patrolling and monitoring of the elephants may prevent attacks by poachers and it also helps prevent any human-wildlife conflict as communities are alerted by EHRA’s team when elephants are roaming nearby their village. You can watch Rachel on the BBC talking about EHRA here. She discusses the difficulty they are facing without volunteers who carry out their essential work.
If you would like to help by donating some money to the EHRA, you can do so here https://www.ehranamibia.org/donate