“Mulago scoured the earth to find and fund the most promising people and ideas to deliver bigger, better, faster conservation outcomes. Legado stood out with a pioneering solution to protect isolated and biodiverse mountain ecosystems in Africa. At their flagship Mount Namuli site, Legado is proving that desirable conservation agreements can secure a vibrant future for both critical mountain tops and the people who depend on them. Legado’s approach can deliver real impact at scale — a woeful need in conservation — and makes us optimistic about the future.”

Dear Legado Community,

Welcome to our 2018 Annual Report. For as much as it reflects the people and biodiversity Legado has supported in Mozambique over the past year, this report is also about you. It is about the significant impact your contributions have made in protecting the world’s most threatened mountain ecosystems by empowering the people who call them home.

I am thrilled to share it with you and hope you enjoy reading about this year’s highlights and innovations.

Jump here to read about how this year brought advances in leaders, partners, and the prospect for fair deals on Mount Namuli.  Further down you’ll see how we’re invested in leadership throughout the Namuli watershed region via a new international partnership spanning Ethiopia, Mozambique, and the US. And also check where we’re heading next: The Sky Islands ­— our plan for scaling and rolling out lessons learned on Mount Namuli to protect some of the richest and most underprotected biodiversity in the Eastern Afromontane ecoregion. There’s a lot more beyond that so please dig in and let us know what you think ­— we look forward to hearing your questions, thoughts, and feedback.

On behalf our Founder + Executive Director, Majka, myself, and the whole Legado team  ­—  thank you. We are deeply grateful for your continued generosity and encouragement. You are playing a key role in advancing a thriving future for mountain biodiversity and mountain communities.

With gratitude,

Meg Gardiner
Legado Board President


Because you championed Legado, 2018 was a year of investing in local leadership and expertise, inspiring systemic behavioral change, and taking vital steps toward protecting mountain biodiversity and mountain communities in the following ways:

Expanding Grassroots Leadership: As part of our ongoing Legacy Leadership work we brought together representatives of all of Namuli’s nine communities, local and district government representatives, our field and management teams, and 17 international advocates including two Ethiopian leaders to create a shared language of thriving futures and individual agency in creating that future.  Curious to know more about how we think self-leadership creates collective change and thriving futures?

Inspiring Conservation: How do you inspire people to change their behavior? On Namuli, we do it through Campaigns for Conservation — an approach developed by Rare, a conservation organization with 25 years of conservation driven behavior change experience in over 50 countries. In 2017, we began with puppet shows, theatre, dances, and songs all crafted to support the local communities’ behavior adaptation with a goal of stopping the destruction of critical rainforests on Namuli. In 2018, we added the formation of environmental clubs at primary schools to host theatre and dance competitions, cultural events, and football (soccer) tournaments. This was done in tandem with discussions of best agricultural practices, the impact of wildfires on biodiversity, and the socio-economic, cultural, and ecological importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Investing in Fair Deals: We were proud to host the first-ever Portuguese language Conservation Agreement training at the foot of Namuli, in Gurue, Mozambique. This training, run by Conservation International’s Conservation Stewards Program, was one of two which our team attended in 2018.   It will play a critical role in how we and the Namuli communities co-create a plan to preserve the mountain and its vital habitat while also building a thriving future for its inhabitants.

Building Local Capacity + Expertise: We supported local leadership by engaging with natural resource governance committees across eight communities. Prior to our work in 2017, Namuli’s communities did not have local governance structures in place to create and enforce their natural resource management plans. This ongoing local governance support is critical to the success of long term  land management by the Namuli communities.

Growing New Partners: As our work on Namuli expands and deepens, we continue to bring new partners and funders to the table. This year we’re pleased to announce our partnership with Nitidae, a French organization which specializes in landscapes and value chains. Nitidae’s mission is to preserve the environment while contributing to the local economy and we’re thrilled to have them join us on Namuli.

Establishing Best Agricultural Practices: We trained 131 farmers across six communities in a combination of perma gardening and conservation agriculture best practices. The trainings included the establishment of 13 demonstration fields that are currently managed by community members and supported by our field staff. These fields demonstrate the impact of these practices on soil restoration, water conservation, and overall yield.

Bringing it Home:
Ricarina’s Story

Ricardina Maria Osorio Veiria grew up in a small town in the shadow of Mount Namuli ­— so it should not come as a surprise that she has chosen to spend her career protecting the mountain ecosystem that was such a big part of her childhood.

“Originally I got into studying agriculture because of my cousin,” Ricardina says. “She rode a motorcycle every day for her job in agriculture and I wanted to do that too — I  wanted a life of adventure.”

What started out as a thirst for travel and a curiosity about the  forest and its animals has grown into a dedicated effort to protect her community’s natural resources and ensure those resources will be available for future generations.

“I work to incentivize the communities of Namuli to stop deforestation practices and leave the forest intact,” she explains. “We work side-by-side with communities around the mountain in many ways. We work with their natural resource management committees to design future plans to make the forest sustainable, we have meetings with each community to determine community desires and agendas, and we also provide technical assistance —we teach how to plant, how to use plants, and how to farm with conservation in mind.”

It’s that community-centered approach that drew Ricardina to Legado, and our implementing partner LUPA, in the first place.

“Legado is different than other organizations that I have worked for and the difference is in the priorities,” Ricardina explains. “Where other agriculture projects have focused on commercialization with local producers, Legado’s priority is the preservation of biodiversity and the management of natural resources. We work with producers on how to control and preserve the resources — this priority helped me realize how important Namuli is.”  Ricardina is inspired by Legado’s focus on biodiversity and wants to spread the message; she believes biodiversity is “good for Namuli and would be good for other places and mountains as well.”

Ricardina has an Associates Degree in Agro-Livestock from the Agrarian Technical School in Ribaue, Nampula. Not one to shy away from big goals, Ricardina dreams of becoming an environmental engineer, while also balancing life as a new mother.  She said that her passion for protecting threatened mountain ecosystems has only been enhanced by raising her daughter.  “My daughter is a year and a half old and I want to be a role model for her through the work that I do. I want her to know that it is important to work for the environment — if we can successfully preserve this mountain, then she can grow up to see and learn about the forest and animals the way I have.”

Meet Legado’s international team of conservation experts and community advocates here.


At Legado, we believe that at the center of all progressive, systemic, and lasting change are people who are making a personal choice to take conscious actions towards the future they wish to be a part of, as individuals and as a collective. What is that conscious future? It’s what we refer to as legacy, or if you’re speaking Portuguese, legado.

For the past three years we’ve been building our Legacy Leadership culture within our team, with Namuli community members, and with our partners. Our goal is to create thriving futures for people and for biodiversity. And we believe this goal is possible when everyone we work with can articulate, believe, and act upon their personal and collective legacies. Here’s how we’re doing it:

This August we hosted our largest Legacy Leadership program ever in Mozambique in conjunction with Lightyear Leadership. Lightyear is a program which teaches a self-leadership method that helps people cultivate the best in themselves, while transforming their communities.

We brought together over 90 people from across Namuli, Mozambique, and the world — from Nicau, Namuli’s northern outpost to Los Angeles, from a Canadian running for political office in Vancouver to a Lomwe Queen, from a government official living in a coastal capital to a cassava farmer making her living on the slopes of a mountain. And together we created goals andvisions for orphanages, forests, education, chickens and fields — thriving futures for all.

We focused on African-to-African learning by hosting Ethiopian Lightyear co leaders Muktar Adbi and Halefom Gezaei. They joined us for our program and for a week of work with our field team. Halefom and Muktar work with imagine1day, a non-profit in Ethiopia which inspired much of our Legacy Leadership program.

Our program was led by Lightyear founder Susanne Conrad and supported by 11 ambassadors as one of their dynamic Shareback initiatives — the first one ever in Mozambique.

Our field team, and all of Legado, is now actively growing our Legacy Leadership culture in our work with Namuli community members and together as a team.

To learn more about Lightyear Leadership and its partnership with Legado click here.

You can visit namuli today

Last year, we shared with you that we’d just received a Jump Start grant from Google. Jump Start is run by Google to connect creators with virtual reality (VR) cameras and to amplify their content. It was established to literally ‘Jump Start’ creators in the realm of stereoscopic VR video by providing access to Google VR’s Jump technology.

Google’s Jump cameras are at the forefront of VR technology. The Jump camera rig consists of 16 camera modules in a circular array to provide an unparalleled 360-degree experience to the viewer. The size of the rig and the arrangement of the cameras are optimized to work with the Jump assembler (the program that stitches all the images together into a VR film).

This year, we’re pleased to share the two new virtual reality pieces we created as part of our grant:

Mountains = Water = Life

In this 3-minute VR film, filmmaker Ross Henry takes you on a journey to the heart of the mountain. Narrated by the Queen of Namuli, Mountains = Water = Life tells the story about the power of one mountain and its water — tracking water from the
rainforests on top of Mount Namuli all the way on its journey to the Indian Ocean — 200 miles away.

Explore Namuli

Explore Namuli is Legado’s new online experience that allows you to tour Namuli in 360. Visit the Murexta Plateau and Namuli’s rainforest, see mud bricks being made under the Namuli sun, join a soccer game and more. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Namuli but don’t want to take the multi-day journey to get there — this is your chance!

You can check out both VR films here.

built to last: chad’s Story

“In 2011, when I heard of Legado’s first expedition to the mountains of Mozambique, I knew instantly where the team was heading. Years and years ago, one of my climbing partners sent me a book written by a member of the British Special Forces. The author had served during the Mozambican civil war, and inside his book was a black and white photo of a mountain with a massive granite face. I wondered if that could be Namuli.”

As an active member of the climbing community, Chad had followed the professional climbing career of Legado’s Founder, Majka Burhardt, for a long time. When he heard she had traveled to Mozambique, he was sure it must be to explore the same mountain from the book that had captured his imagination.

“As I dug into the story behind the photo, I was deeply affected by Mozambique’s history of violence and conflict – a million people murdered or starved to death and another five million people displaced,” he reflects quietly. “This photo I saw was taken during the civil war. It made me think about all of the landmines and guerrilla operations that were there, blanketing this beautiful mountain and ecosystem.”

Today, Chad is an avid financial supporter of Legado.

“What is inspiring to me is the completeness of the solution Legado has brought to bear — change management, leadership training, community engagement, benchmark environmental and agricultural practices, and responsible governance,” he explains. “For me, it was interesting to see the continuation of the story – from the civil war and coming full circle to identifying this very special place to support and protect. What is more, Legado is creating a blueprint to approach other critical zones around the world.”

“It’s a solution that’s built to last. This really is an investment — not speculation. It’s not about short-term gain, it’s a long-term change — and that’s something I can get behind.”

Every dollar that donors like you and Chad give helps to secure a vibrant future for Mount Namuli and the people who depend on it. Legado is a registered 501(c)(3) and also has fiscal sponsorship to accep tax-receiptable gifts from Canadian donors. Learn more here.

Stewardship + Responsibility

2018 was a year of pure generosity from our donors and partners. Together, we celebrated everything from a new donor commiting to a $5 monthly gift to a $118,000 gift from the North American Lightyear Leadership participants. Our continuing partnerships with and support from Cool Earth, Mulago, Lush Charity Pot and others all contributed  to a year of financial health and significant investment in our field programs.

Sky Islands: Where We’re Heading

In 2019, Legado is proud to share that we’re expanding, and we’re doing so as part of our work with Sky Islands.

What is a Sky Island?

A Sky Island is a mountain that has exceptionally high biodiversity in an exceptionally small area — like Mount Namuli.

In Mozambique, Sky Islands account for only 0.3% of the landmass but have:

Over 20% of all of Mozambique’s birds

20% of its herpetological biodiversity

Nearly 60% of Mozambique’s butterfly species

25% of the country’s plant diversity

Sky Islands are also critical for seeding clouds and producing rain.

Sky Islands capture 40% more dry season rainfall, per area, than non-Sky Islands — providing a critical water tower effect in drought-prone countries like Mozambique.

The water that Sky Islands capture is pivotal for Indigenous communities at the source and downstream. That means that Mount Namuli’s 12,000 people are the guardians for a water source which supports more than 1 Million of their fellow Mozambicans.

Legado is excited to expand our work creating community led and owned grassroots solutions — solutions that protect biodiversity and ecosystem services, and make a better and more sustainable life for the people who call the mountains home.

Because of your ongoing support and encouragement, we will take our learnings from Mount Namuli with us as we expand to new Sky Islands. Our next Sky Island will be in Mozambique and we are evaluating opportunities in other countries.

Learn more about the Sky Islands here.

Legado is built by the best

Legado is supported by a variety of generous funders, corporate partners, and private donors.

Previous Support From:

Namuli Thriving Futures Is A Joint Program of:

Photo credits: Sophie Allen, Grant Bemis, Curtiss Conrad, Ross Henry.