World-famous Botswana filmmakers collect another prestigious ribbon for their selfless humanitarian and conservation work
The celebrity filmmaker couple from Botswana, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, has just received the Melvis Jones award from Lions Club International for their unassuming but impactful community work.
Better known for their extraordinary films and conservation work, the Jouberts have been running various community projects in Botswana which they support financially and with logistics and training.
They are actively involved with conservation, managing hundreds of thousands of hectares conservation land in three African countries. Their official organisation, Great Plains Conservation, employs about 660 people and thousands in local communities benefit from their humanitarian work.
The two are most famous for the films they make for National Geographic. It is estimated that some of their landmark films have been seen by hundreds of millions of people. Worldwide, their combined audience is estimated to exceed one billion people.
In recognition for his contribution to conservation, Dereck has been granted the World Ecology Award, alongside Prince Charles and Kenya’s Richard Leakey, and has been inducted into the American Academy of Achievement. He has also received the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service from former Botswana President, HE Festus Mogae.
While Dereck is the writer and cameraman, Beverly handles sound, but is also an accomplished photographer in her own right with many of her evocative images adorning articles in the National Geographic magazine. She shared the Botswana Order of Meritorious Service with her husband.
The Jouberts have produced 40 films for National Geographic, published 12 books, half a dozen scientific papers, and have written many articles for National Geographic magazine.
Every Melvin Jones Fellow is recorded for posterity at Lions Club International’s headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois, on a special board for this purpose. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton who were recognised for their contribution to human rights, their fight for equality, and for giving to the people of Africa.
“It is a great honour to receive this award, but one we are shy about accepting because our policy has always been to give quietly and anonymously, but it seems we have been found out,” remarked Beverly.
In his acceptance speech, Dereck said “with only 4% of the planet’s animal biomass being wildlife, it is the collective job of all humankind to protect them, and not to squabble over how to kill the last of them.”