While they have a wealth of treasures to protect, Africans have not traditionally considered conservation as a career path. To change mindsets and foster a culture of conservation, African Wildlife Foundation created a number of scholarship, education, and training programs that would present young people with the means to enter into conservation careers and the skills to succeed in conservation.
Africans have not traditionally considered conservation to be a viable career path.
Without an educational background in conservation or related experience, it is difficult to enter into a conservation career. People interested in pursuing conservation may have a challenging time finding a way to start in the field.
AWF’s history is rooted in fostering educational opportunities for Africans. Our first project was to establish the College of African Wildlife Management in Mweka, Tanzania. Mweka, as it is most commonly known, is a pioneering and leading educational institution providing quality wildlife management training in Africa. In its 50-year history, Mweka has trained more than 5,000 wildlife managers from 52 countries worldwide. Some of AWF’s staff members are proud Mweka graduates.
In 1996, AWF established the Charlotte Conservation Fellows program to provide financial support for African nationals pursuing master’s degrees or doctoral research in conservation-related fields. This program is committed to enhancing the effectiveness and impact of African nationals in the field of conservation through the increased knowledge, skills, and credentials obtained through an advanced degree.
Since its inception, Charlotte Fellows has helped 50-plus students pursue graduate degrees in fields ranging from biology and conservation economics to enterprise development and community conservation. Some of the past recipients of the Charlotte Fellows scholarship have gone on to become a director of South African National Parks, a director of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, and a CNN Hero for Defending the Planet as well as AWF’s own staff.
AWF established the Conservation Management Training Program (CMTP) to recruit recent conservation master’s degree graduates into the organization and develop talent that will go on to work in African conservation. As the name implies, the CMTP is a competitive, high-level training program where, over the course of two years, participants gain real-world experience in African conservation. They have an opportunity to propel their careers forward by working in the field under the direct mentorship of AWF’s program leaders and may be hired as AWF employees when they complete the program.
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