Izele is a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK with a current focus on Eswatini (Swaziland), Mozambique and South Africa. We have developed an online social network for people who care about nature, letting conservation areas, businesses, groups and influencers share news, information and expertise with their partners, stakeholders, visitors and supporters. Izele is unique in its bottom-up approach, giving conservationists on the ground more of an online presence and voice, and we have a particular focus on helping community-based organisations join our network.

We are named after an evergreen tree species from southeast Africa called the black bird-berry in English and izele in Zulu. This tree is found within the region where we piloted our project and has star-shaped yellow flowers, which form the basis of the Izele logo.

Izele is designed to be user-friendly and lets any conservation organisation and person create a page for free and then:

• Share details, information and news on their work and show which groups and organisations they collaborate with.
• Put their location on our interactive country maps, so people can find out which organisations and conservation areas are found nearby.
• Provide photos and information on the species they help to conserve.
• For conservation areas and businesses, give information about their ecotourism services and activities and let visitors see their availability on the country maps.
• Include information about the safety procedures and restrictions in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
• Automatically combine their social media posts into one News Feed.

We think that our online social network contributes to Conservation Optimism’s vision of a more effective, inclusive and active future for conservation, as Izele can help put every conservation area on the map and gives all conservation organisations and conservationists more of a voice in the online world. Through our work to provide even the most remote, community-based organisations with an easy-to-use website, we will contribute towards inspiring, motivating, supporting and empowering conservationists in southern Africa.

In joining ConservationNOW, we hope to continue to share these stories, tools, news and ideas and to connect with more people who care about nature.

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