EHRA celebrates two decades

Paving the way for the coexistence of humans and animals
Since its establishment in 2003, the elephant conservation organisation Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) has made significant progress in human-elephant coexistence in the northern Erongo and southern Kunene regions.
Staff reporter
The Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) team is celebrating 20 years of elephant conservation, having developed and implemented holistic solutions to human-elephant conflict to ensure the safety of rural communities and the long-term survival of wild elephants in Namibia.
“It all started with a simple solution to a big problem: a small group of volunteers built a stone wall around a rural community’s watering hole to prevent elephants from damaging the delicate water infrastructure,” the EHRA said in its report.
After two decades and nearly 3 000 volunteers, EHRA has preserved 239 watering holes with such walls, benefiting around 10 000 people.
The organisation supports communities and monitors elephants in an area of ​​over 12 000 km². “Recognising the need for a holistic approach, we have grown and developed projects to address the many challenges of living with elephants.”
Funding has been secured for 42 solar pumps to replace diesel pumps, 22 of which are already installed. In addition, 10 elephant dams have been built to reduce the risk of nighttime elephant encounters in villages, and 279 solar lamps have been installed to protect homesteads from curious elephants.
“To reduce the widespread fear of elephants, EHRA has trained more than 5 500 people and hired five community elephant guards through the PEACE project. These guards respond to conflicts, help repair damage caused by elephants, conduct elephant safety courses, and guard homesteads at night when elephants are nearby.”
EHRA has fitted nine elephants with satellite collars and set up an elephant early warning system through the EarthRanger platform. The collar data contributes to long-term monitoring of elephant migration routes and supports commercial farmers in resolving human-elephant conflicts.
To train the next generation of conservation-conscious people, EHRA developed the S.E.E.D (Sustainable Environmental Education for Development) project in 2022.
The organisation runs environmental education courses for primary school students and has reached nine rural schools and 238 children in just two years. "We are particularly proud of the newly built education centre, shop and elephant museum at our site on the Ugab River."
These buildings are intended to be the centre for the educational projects and a place for all visitors to learn about elephants, conservation and the local community.
"Our journey over the past two decades has been full of challenges, but also incredible progress and hope," said Rachel Harris, Executive Director of EHRA. "We are grateful for our passionate supporters, volunteers and partners who dedicate their time and resources to making a difference for both people and elephants."
"I believe there is a way for humans and elephants to live together. We are not there yet, but our methods are working and we can be proud of the impact we have made over the past 20 years."