Nairobi, Kenya--African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has selected its 2009-10 class of Charlotte Conservation Fellows, six emerging scholars who all come from and work in West Africa.
Founded in 1996 in honor of the late conservationist Charlotte Kidder Ramsay, the Fellowship program helps emerging African scholars pursue advanced studies in conservation-related fields. While expenses and materials vary according to the recipient, scholarships are awarded for amounts of up to $25,000. Since its inception, the Charlotte Fellows program has helped scores of students from East, West, Central, and southern Africa.
In selecting the candidates for this year's fellowships, AWF focused on the human resource and capacity needs in and around the Regional Parc W ecosystem--a rich transboundary landscape centering on a bend in the Niger River (from which it takes its name) and which encompasses protected areas in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Site of an emerging AWF program, of which capacity building will be a major component, the park complex is home to the largest remaining tract of protected savanna in West Africa and host to hundreds of mammal and bird species.
AWF congratulates its six new Charlotte Fellows, who underwent a rigorous application process and were selected for their strong accomplishments and outstanding commitment to conservation in West Africa.
AWF Charlotte Fellows: 2009-2010
Etotepe A. Sogbohossou, a native of Benin who has conducted lion research in Benin, South Africa, Cameroon, and Kenya, is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology at the University of Leiden. Her research focuses on lion ecology and behaviour, as well as human-wildlife conflict around Pendjari Biospehere Reserve in Benin. As the first long-term study of lions in West Africa, her project aims to provide information vital to the success of conservation efforts. Results from her research have already helped inform the design of two conflict mitigation projects around the Reserve and will be used as a basis for the developing Benin Lion Conservation Action Plan.
Etotepe majored in General Agronomy and earned a Bachelor's degree in Water, Wildlife and Forestry and a Master's in Natural Resources Management from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin.
Issa Nassourou is pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography at the Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey, Niger. His research focuses on management and rehabilitation of tourism sites and the development of ecotourism, a highly undeveloped sector in Niger. The study will propose how tourism sites should be managed to ensure the preservation of the ecosystem and culture while contributing to economic development.
Issa, a native of Niger, holds a Bachelor's and Master's in Geography from the Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey. He currently works for the University and previously worked for the Niger government.
Boubacar Boureima, a native of Niger, is the head of the Management and Classification Unit for the National Directorate of National Parks and Reserves. He has worked on various projects in W National Parc, including management planning, creation of corridors for pastoralists and environmental education. Boubacar is earning a Master's in Natural Resource Management at the Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey, Niger. He is studying the manatees of the Niger River and hopes to use his study results to guide conservation strategies of these large aquatic mammals.
Boubacar holds a Bachelor's degree in Management of Wildlife and Protected Areas from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and has worked for the World Wildlife Fund's Freshwater Program for Western Africa.
Mohamadou Habibou Gabou, a native of Niger, works for the Ministry of Environment and Drought Control, as the head of Management Support to Communities Division. Mohamadou is earning a Master's in Natural Resource Management at the Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey, Niger. Using Parc W as a case study, his research focuses on the contribution of protected areas to the development of riverine populations. He hopes to identify ways in which communities around Parc W can be better involved in the management of the park; how sustainable benefits can be increased; and what impacts the traditional use of natural resources has on the environment.
Mohamadou holds a Bachelor's in Forestry, Wildlife and Range Management from the University of Agriculture, Makurudi, Nigeria and worked as an Assistant Forestry Manager in Parc W.
Isidore Ogoudje Amahowe is researching the impact of elephants on the vegetation in Djona Hunting Area of Benin for a Master's degree in Analysis of Wildlife Populations at the Rural Development Institute, Bobo-Dioulasso University Polytechnic. His study will identify and characterize the types of plants targeted by elephants and assess the damage caused by the pachyderms. The results will help conservation managers understand the interaction between elephants and their habitats, and inform conservation efforts for both the species and the region's ecosystem.
Isidore, a native of Benin, holds a Bachelor's degree in Planning and Environmental Protection from the University of Abomey-Calavi and worked as the head of the Conservation Department of W National Parc in Benin.
Amelie Traore Hien is conducting research on ecosystem degradation in the Kou sub-basin in Burkina Faso while studying for a Master's in Protected Area Management at the International Institute of Water Engineering and Environment in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. Her research aims to identify the social, economic and environmental factors that drive degradation and outline potential solutions.
A native of Burkina Faso, Amelie has worked extensively as a consultant on rural development issues in Burkina Faso. She has also worked as Assistant Director General and Projects Coordinator for the Office of Education. She holds a Bachelors degree in Rural Development and Forestry and a Masters degree in Rural Development from the University of Ouagadougou.
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