Odyssey For Change is based on 20 years of hands-on experience in setting up, funding and running some of the most internationally acclaimed community-based conservation projects in the world.

The successful model that was created by the founders of Odyssey For Change has helped to ensure the protection of some of the world’s most valuable terrestrial and marine natural resources, while at the same time reducing poverty and promoting environmental awareness in some of the poorest and most underprivileged communities in the world. These projects have also been significant commercial successes.

A sampling of projects that the founders of Odyssey For Change have been involved with follow below.

View case study

Learn more about the founders

— Dr. Julie Garnier
— Christopher Cox

Creation of Africa’s largest community-based wildlife area

The million acre Save Valley Conservancy in the Lowveld of southern Zimbabwe. This project was originally conceived for the protection of the endangered black rhino and became one of the most successful community/conservation programmes in Africa. The model is now part of the curriculum in conservation studies in leading universities world-wide.

Development of the first sustainable non-consumptive conservation model

Eco-tourism designed specifically for generating community and conservation benefit, by linking top-of-the–range adventure tourism to the protection of endangered species and the support of the local communities. The luxury lodge was constructed by the local community, using local materials, and a tourism bed levy ensures financial sustainability of conservation and community programs.

Creation of first community-based wilderness sanctuary in Mozambique

The 70,000 acre Messalo Wilderness Area. Reduction of human-wildlife conflict through community-based techniques and zoning programme. Large increase in wildlife populations through day-to-day management of conservation area with local communities trained in conservation management. Creation of community-based natural resources management systems.

Creation of first community-based marine wildlife sanctuary in Mozambique

Development of community-based natural resources management systems. Reduction of illegal fishing practices and control of resource use by local communities. Now held as most successful model in Mozambique.

Coral research and monitoring programme

This program, with the input of leading coral scientists, and community awareness efforts, resulted in the successful protection of one of the most diverse and pristine reef ecosystem in the Western Indian Ocean.

Livelihood improvement and capacity building

Creation of health posts, schools, and wells in some of the poorest communities in Africa, and the creation of training program for government employees, students and local communities on community-based conservation management techniques.
' It is heartening to know that this pristine area will not be destroyed... because Julie and Christopher have the conservation vision, wisdom and dedication to make a difference. '

Wildside Magazine, South Africa

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Dr. Julie Garnier

Julie Garnier (Dr. Vre, D.Vet.Med, MRCVS) is a wildlife veterinarian with broad experience in wildlife management in Africa, scientific research on endangered species and development of community-based conservation projects. She was an Honorary Research Fellow of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), 1995 - 2004 and is now a ZSL Conservation Fellow.

She is a laureate of Maisons-Alfort National Veterinary School and worked in Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Zimbabwe before joining ZSL. She began there as assistant curator, focused on management of endangered species and clinical work. She moved to ZSL’s Conservation Programmes division and developed a comprehensive programme on black rhinoceros fertility in wild and captive populations in Zimbabwe. This ground-breaking conservation programme enabled the development of new technologies for managing rhinoceros reproduction and improvement of reproductive success of endangered species. Her post-doctoral thesis was published with the Royal Veterinary College in London, has presented a scientific papers and presentations at international conservation conferences. Her work has also been featured in various general press articles and TV programmes.

Julie and her husband Christopher Cox created the Cabo Delgado Biodiversity and Tourism Project in 1998. Their vision was primarily to conserve what they had found and create real benefits for the local populations, and she has developed scientific and community programmes for the project since 1998. She organized reconnaissance and exploratory surveys and handled conservation negotiations with the Mozambican ministries of Agriculture and Environment at provincial and national levels. Her ground-breaking programs - which include innovations such as turtle satellite tagging, conservation education for local communities, social projects to help communities improve conditions, human-animal conflict management, and capacity building initiatives to provide adequate resources to local governments for conservation self-management – have received international acclaim.

Dr. Julie Garnier, Femme en Or

Dr. Garnier was recently honored with the prestigious Femme en Or (Woman of Gold) award. Since 1993, these awards highlight the talents of exceptional women who, each in their own field, are helping to change society. Each year, 11 women are selected for outstanding achievements in their respective fields; Dr. Garnier was selected as the Femme en Or de l'Environnement for 2016.

A selection committee made up of 45 prominent French journalists and artists is charged with determining outstanding women in each of the 11 categories.

The committe selected Dr. Garnier for this year's honor because of her role as a pioneer in community-based conservation, her IUCN-acclaimed work with the Kimwani and Makonde tribes of Northern Mozambique using an innovative holistic approach to conservation focused on local women, her development of the Odyssey Conservation Trust, and her contributions to validating the novel approach of the One Health working group, which focuses on linking environmental, human, and animal health.

Christopher Cox

From an early age, Christopher has always preserved a live-long passion for nature and conservation, while pursuing a successful international career in business and communication that spanned London, France and Canada, USA and Africa. In France, when still in his early twenties, he created and ran the retail arm of a French industrial conglomerate and then in Canada, he built Foster Advertising into the largest agency in Canada, handling prestigious clients such as General Motors, Air Canada, Hilton International, Royal Bank, Christian Dior etc.

In the early eighties he joined Chris Spring of Spring O’Brien (NYC/Paris) to develop the largely under-marketed luxury goods and up-market travel niches. Here, he had the novel idea of linking luxury tourism with conservation and community improvement. His new venture - Cox, Spring, O’Brien - created the first international community-based conservation media campaigns in Europe and the US, which were universally lauded. Combining his wide experience in international business and marketing with conservation, he then helped create the largest community-based private wildlife and tourism reserve in Africa in southern Zimbabwe. The community-based conservation programme instigated there is now used in the curriculum of conservation degrees in universities worldwide.

In 1997, Christopher and his wife, celebrated wildlife vet Dr. Julie Garnier, discovered some of the only remaining coastal wildlife populations in Mozambique, along with some of the last unchartered islands in the Western Indian Ocean. They created a community-based private coastal wildlife area of 3,000 hectares along with a marine commute conservation area including 3 islands They built Vamizi Island Lodge, ranked as one of the top 101 hotels in the world and international media coverage was extensive with glowing articles on the project, including accolades from many conservation-specialized publications. Prestigious scientific partners lined up to join the project and substantial funding for conservation and community programmes were raised from the private sector and institutional donors such as the World Bank, French Government etc. Having created and managed what have been internationally recognized as some of the most successful sustainable community-based initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, Christopher and Julie decided to expand the concept to other areas around the globe and in 2008, they created the Odyssey For Change Partnership.