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This profile was last updated on 10/5/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Founder and Director

Africa Matters
375 Jayne Street #201
Oakland, California 94610
United States

Company Description: It is the goal of AFRICA MATTERS to promote wildlife conservation by encouraging the interaction of artists, teachers and scientists. We directly offer financial...   more
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

33 Total References
Web References
Africa Matters Board Members
www.africamatters.org, 5 Oct 2014 [cached]
Wendy Blakeley: Founder/Director
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Wendy Blakeley is a resident of Oakland, California.
Until 1991 and her first trip to Africa, her life focused the performing arts. She studied acting and various movement disciplines in college, San Francisco and New York. After a number of years performing in New York and Los Angeles, she settled in the San Francisco Bay area and developed a deep love of wilderness. Here she began teaching performing arts at Full Spectrum Studio and in 1981 was a founding member and partner of Eighth Street Studio in Berkeley, which became her home base for 16 years. In addition to teaching Airborne trapeze dance, she was a performance artist and coached other artists in movement. As a member of the Performance Alliance she produced the annual Works in the Works dance showcase series. During these years she was also raising her son, and Africa was not on her mind.
Then in 1991, her son off to college, she made her first trip to Africa a safari billed as the Ultimate Primate Safari. This trip took her overland through 5 countries in East Africa and brought her face to face with Jane Goodalls chimpanzees at Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania. Having followed Goodalls work for years, she realized she was seeing chimp faces she could put names to whose life stories she knew.
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Since that time, I have supported the work Wendy has done in Kenya and Zimbabwe and am happy to be newly elected to the Board of Directors of Africa Matters.
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Contact: africamatters2@gmail.com All photos by Wendy Blakeley
Newsletters
www.africamatters.org, 1 July 2009 [cached]
Wendy: " My stay was mostly at Hwange National Park where I have lived and worked in the past. I was welcomed back warmly by the local community, including parks employees, friends and local researchers.
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Wendy did not appear with her family until my last day there and it was truly a thrill when she stepped out from behind a bush. I immediately recognized her from her photos. She generously stood and posed for quite some time.
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The Dog Project has invited Wendy to come and help establish an arts and crafts program as part of the Center.
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Director Wendy Blakeley has been conferring with EarthTeam staff ( see Partners ) to develop a program whereby the student club members of Wildlife Clubs of Kenya can access a web chat room and share their concerns, questions and solutions to environmental problems with local student EarthTeam members.
To trigger interest, Wendy recently made presentations to students of environmental science classes and conservation clubs in local high schools, whetting their enthusiasm for being the first in line to talk to the students in Kenya. Both at Pinole Valley High School and El Cerrito High, eyes popped and questions flew in response to the materials and slides Wendy presented.
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Wendy will be taking materials from River of Words ( see Projects) with her to Zimbabwe as well as on-line to Kenya, to further encourage the use of artistic expression as a tool in the world of conservation.
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Africa Matters Director Wendy Blakeley left for Zimbabwe the first of May to assist the Painted Dog Conservation project in establishing an arts and crafts program in their local community.
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Wendy has found it interesting that in this culture and education program, most of the �artists� are boys; very few girls come. Needless to say she is making an effort to make the sessions available to all! It has been a rewarding effort � already one youngster of 11 has been identified as extremely, naturally gifted and he will be monitored and his work rewarded. The goal is that as soon a s possible, the running of these crafts will be turned over to a locals, and thus not only providing income for those making crafts, but open up a managerial jobs for a few others. All of this will depend upon finding viable markets for their goods. Africa Matters will assist in locating vendors in the U.S. when Wendy brings back the first sample products in September. If anyone is interested and has experience in marketing we would be delighted to hear from you. Part of the intent is to educate the local community to the value of conservation and so there is an effort in all of this to start to steer craftspeople away from curios carved from trees they cut. Deforestation due to the need for fuel is something hard to control, but cutting trees that can bee 100 years old for the roadside curio industry is something that can be addressed. When the Exhibit Hall at the Community Conservation and Education Center (CCED) opens, there will be a small shop where visitors will be able to purchase these crafts. In addition to the Crafts workshops, Wendy has been asked to contribute her expertise from her form �life� in the performing arts, by coaching a group of young performance artists, Ingoyama. They have been formed with the specific purpose of presenting plays in the local communities and school about conservation. Their style is traditional and they incorporate traditional song and dance into their work. These thirteen young people ranging in age from 15 to 21 have gained a lot of attention � which Wendy reports is much deserved. She will bring video and audiotapes with her to have available and promote this group.
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Wendy Blakeley arrived at the Painted Dog Conservation Project in May of 2003 having accepted the invitation to initiate an Arts and Crafts program for them in the local area around Hwange National Park. The goal was to promote sustainable use of natural resources while developing marketable arts and crafts to improve the economic status of people in this area, which has been hard hit by the near disappearance of the tourist trade, and rampant inflation in Zimbabwe over the last several years. Immediately upon her arrival, the staff of another research station, the Hwange Lion Research, approached Wendy Blakeley, knowing of her background in theatre, and asked if she would take on the task as acting coach and artistic consultant to INGONYAMA. This is a group made up of young people from the area on the northern edges of Hwange National Park, more specifically, the community of Dete. It was formed in 2003 with the mission of taking conservation education to local schools in the form of drama and dance, with emphasis on the issue of responsibility for the care of the land and animals.
They have developed a style of theatre that is a unique fusion of contemporary and innovative techniques, resulting in a repertoire that unfailingly enchants their audiences, be they children or adults, locals or foreigners. They have also have earned a well-deserved reputation for their performances of traditional songs and dances. Wendy was thrilled to find theatrical talent of this caliber in the group, who were however in need of assistance to improve their performance techniques and in developing new materials.
Both the Dog Project Staff and Wendy were more than glad to assist them since the work fulfills goals common to all Conservation projects whether aimed at a specific animal (Dogs, Lions) and the broader aims of responsible use of land and wildlife. Wendy found this an exciting, challenging and rewarding partnership. She will continue to coach their work in 2004, to continue improving their performance skills and develop new material.
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Africa matters founder and Board President, Wendy Blakeley has spent the major portion of both 2004 and 2005 in Dete, Zimbabwe.
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If you would like to volunteer your assistance (A) at our table at WCN Expo selling Iganayana Arts and Crafts and promoting Africa Matters, you will get free admission to the Expo. and the possibility of attending some of the lectures by major movers in wildlife conservation from around the globe. (B) assist us in organizing the Africa Mattes Fund raiser scheduled as above Contact: Wendy Blakeley in Oakland at 510/655-4528 Or wendyblakeley@earthlink.net
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Since 2003 Director Wendy Blakeley has been coaching, teaching and advising this local group of young men.
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Though they regret having to leave families behind, and Wendy mourns their absence, they are able to earn hard cash and so manage to use their talents to support their artistic work.
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Wendy will be in California from mid-September until December 1 2006 . If you are interested in a presentation to your group, students, etc. Please email wendyblakeley@earthlink.net or phone Barry Blakeley at 510-663-5397 in California.
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Still these people manage always to smile and greet you, children jump up and wave and shout when I drive past (�kiwa, or Wendy); they take education deadly serious, and yes, even sing and dance at the least chance.
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Wendy did a tiny bit of acting/stage craft training.
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Submitted by Director, Wendy Blakeley
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Director Wendy Blakeley's namesake: "Wendy", matriarch of the "W" family in the Presidential Elephant Herd...2001
Elephant injured by snares outside Hwange National Park. Sept 2002
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Wendy Blakeley with Louis Presente and Mr Banda, local craftsmen from Mabale.
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Wendy Blakeley rehearsing with drama group Ingonyama. 2003
Wendy Blakeley and drama group Ingonyama on the Victoria Falls Bridge in July of 2003 for a performance
Home | Newsletters | Pathways | Projects | Photo Gallery | How to help
Contact: africamatters2@gmail.com All photos by Wendy Blakeley
Staff & Board - Painted Dog Conservation
www.painteddog.org, 4 Sept 2014 [cached]
Wendy Blakeley: Arts and Craft Centre Coordinator
Projects
www.africamatters.org, 10 Oct 2008 [cached]
Africa Matters Founder Wendy Blakeley, who is also currently the Community Arts Coordinator for Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe, works hand in hand with PDC's Education Officers to identify students who are academically motivated and have verifiable financial need, with special consideration being given to any who have exhibited interest in environmental issues.
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1998: Wendy Blakeley visited the Clubs and traveled into remote village and small urban center schools with Mobile Education Office Eric Deche. She joined in Mr. Deche�s presentations to the student club members informing them of the status of the Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus) and the work that was going on in Zimbabwe to conserve these endangered animal and promote awareness that they were once an integral part of the wildlife in Kenya; what caused their disappearance and what hope there was for their return.
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ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTER: During Director Wendy Blakeley's trip to Zimbabwe in August of 2002 she was invited to return to the Dog Project in 2003 to assist in developing a program and facility for an Arts and Crafts Center to be part of the larger Community Conservation Center at the Dog Project Headquarters.
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In the summer of 2000, Founder Wendy Blakeley escorted a group of personally selected local artists on the first ART SAFARI for a month's travel in Zimbabwe.
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Contact: africamatters2@gmail.com All photos by Wendy Blakeley
How to help
www.africamatters.org, 5 Oct 2014 [cached]
Director Wendy Blakeley assist with end of year awards ceremony at Dete Primary School.
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Contact: africamatters2@gmail.com All photos by Wendy Blakeley
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