The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Engaged Anthropology: Engaging Local Stakeholders and Decision Makers in Science and Conservation


Anthropology, Iowa State University

March 28, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

After receiving Wenner-Gren (WG) funding to study chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Senegal, I was awarded an Engaging Anthropology grant by this foundation to facilitate sharing my results with interested parties. In 2013, at the first of two meetings I proposed, over 35 participants representing other researchers, NGOs, local government, mining corporations, Senegalese National Parks, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar), and the Senegalese Forestry Department met in Senegal for a successful informational meeting. A second meeting is scheduled for 2015, geared specifically to conserving chimpanzees. One participant, the African Wildlife Foundation, will help finance the second meeting and was instrumental in bringing GRASP (Great Apes Survival Partnership) to the table, which will also help fund this event. Our first meeting was highly successful in initiating discourse between international researchers, NGOs, and the wildlife community in Senegal in a more productive fashion than the largely one-on-one manner in which it was conducted previously due largely to a lack of resources. I view this as one step towards a more collaborative working relationship among all entities involved and one that will hopefully result in involving more Senegalese students in research. One of our ultimate goals is to design a strategic conservation plan for chimpanzees in Senegal given increasing mining activity. Thus, a relatively small investment from granting organizations can have a significant impact on collaboration between field researchers and local stakeholders at various levels. I will discuss lessons learned as well as positive outcomes from this process.

Fongoli research supported by Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Iowa State University, National Geographic Society, Leakey Foundation, Primate Conservation Inc., American Society of Primatologists, and the National Science Foundation.