Ubuntu. I love this philosophy, a gift from many African traditions – that we share this experience of humanity as a collective. It comes with a wonderful sense of connection and belonging to others, but it also implies a great sense of responsibility for how we treat other people. We all share this human experience. What affects one will affect all.

The great Nelson Mandela understood this common humanity. He knew what it meant for peace, for our freedom. He used this philosophy effectively to challenge us to take action and inspire change.

18 July is Mandela Day – an annual event for us to celebrate the life of this incredible human but more importantly for each of us to ask ourselves what we will do with the freedom we have been granted.

We are also a few years into the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace. If you check out this link, you will notice how the United Nations have not only saluted the legacy of Madiba but have also used it as a firm foundation to continue this great work towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Today seems a perfect day to highlight the vital and valuable work of two organisations that have both the philosophy of Ubuntu and the heart of Madiba at their core.

The first is the Peace Parks Foundation of which Nelson Mandela is a founder. This little intro video gives a snapshot of their dream:

If you want to delve a little deeper into the work of the Peace Parks Foundation and keep up to date with what’s happening on the ground, I highly recommend Peace Parks TV.

The other organisation is African Parks. There is a lovely intro video on the About page of this website. Here is a more lengthy look at the work of African Parks. It is a little dated now, but still gives valuable detail of this community conservation work.

What excites me about both these organisations is the realisation that wildlife conservation and community empowerment cannot be separated. The only solution for peace in our time is understanding the Connection between Nature and Humanity. Peace Parks and African Parks are putting this understanding into action and inspiring communities to change. Making the most of hard won peace and freedom.

GVI is another organisation hard at work around the world providing opportunities for people with privilege and freedom to give back and make a difference for people and the planet.

This is something you can easily get involved with. Simply attend GVI’s next Virtual Open Day coming up on Saturday 24 July to find out more about volunteering opportunities. There is something here for everyone no matter your skills, experience and interests. Use the link to register.

How will you make the most of the peace and freedom you have been given? Take Action. Inspire Change.

Happy Mandela Day!