Your Editorial “It's academic” (Nature 439, 763–764; 200610.1038/439763a) reports the need for stronger national academies in Africa. The British Ecological Society launched its Building Capacity for Ecology Fund in January 2006, to support the development of ecological societies in Africa and Eastern Europe. The society has put £500,000 (US$70,000) of its own money into this exciting initiative. As president (J.H.L.) and past-president (A.H.F.) of the society, we hope that others will join us in this or similar initiatives, as it is vital that the science of ecology is promoted and used by policy-makers in Africa.