Press Release

AWF and Africa Refocused Announce the African Conservation Voices Producers Lab Fellows 2024 Cohort.

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ACV Feature

NAIROBI, KENYA 18 April 2024/// The Nature, Environment, and Wildlife Filmmakers (NEWF) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) proudly introduced this year’s African Conservation Voices Producers’ Lab (ACVPL) cohort of 10 storytellers at the NEWF 2024 Congress. Through this collaboration, all 10 storytellers have become NEWF Fellows. ACVPL was made possible with support from Africa Refocused, NEWF’s collaboration with the National Geographic Society.

Throughout the nine-month fellowship, these 10 mid-career filmmakers will receive support in developing, shooting, and distributing short conservation films told from an African perspective. The fellows will also participate in storytelling workshops throughout the program, including one in Nairobi in April.

With Fellows representing Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, and Mauritius, ACVPL demonstrates the true power of Pan-African collaboration, said Wambui Rachel, lead for NEWF Story Labs.

“NEWF has strengths as a storytelling organization and the African Wildlife Foundation has vast experience as a conservation organization, and now we’re leveraging the reach and impact of both,” said Wambui during remarks at the NEWF Congress. “And seeing the cross-pollination of our collective storytelling community that includes AWF’s African Conservation Voices Fellows, NEWF Fellows, and African National Geographic Explorers has been so exciting.”

The fellows’ films in development will explore themes including human-wildlife coexistence, climate change, the role of Indigenous people and local communities in conservation, community resilience, and species conservation.

The cohort of new fellows are:

  • Adams Cassinga, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Kudzanai Dhilwayo, Zimbabwe
  • Shuimo Trust Dohyee, Cameroon
  • Ghaamid Abdulbasat Hatibu, Tanzania
  • Aika Kirei, Tanzania
  • Prashant Mohesh, Mauritius
  • Sama Mildred Ngenseh, Cameroon
  • Anthony Ochieng Onyango, Kenya
  • Benjamin Owuor, Kenya


“When we thought about what this collaboration could look like… we wanted fellows to be able to use the films to convene around certain issues,” said Ariel Gakunga, AWF’s Field communications, Storytelling, and Production Manager. “We have a unique philosophy at AWF. We understand that If you care for wildlife, you must care for the lands where the wildlife exist, and you must also recognize the people who live in those lands and the laws that govern them. Film is a powerful way to get leaders and policymakers to care about these issues.”

Some of the new ACVPL fellows are longtime youth educators and community leaders, so filmmaking is a natural extension of the storytelling they’re already doing in classrooms and informal settings.

The ACVPL cohort’s films are expected to be showcased at the 2025 NEWF Congress. Some of the fellows aspire to bring their films to governments, classrooms, and wider audiences.



NEWF is a platform in Africa for filmmakers, conservationists and scientists to engage, network and contribute through storytelling towards a shared vision of protecting the earths’ natural assets for future generations. NEWF started out as an annual Congress in 2017 and has grown to become an all year round capacity building, impact and outreach organization building a connected network of Africans advocating for the protection of the continent’s natural habitats and wildlife through visual storytelling. NEWF’s vision is that the stories of Africa that celebrate and advocate for the protection of her natural history are told by a connected network of visual storytellers organically led by indigenous African voices. NEWF’s mission is to remove the barriers to entry and build capacity in order to enable access, support inclusion and foster a culture of equity for African nature, environment and wildlife visual storytellers.


The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and their habitats as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 during the African independence movement in order to build our capacity to steward our natural resources, AWF articulates a uniquely African vision, bridging science, education, public policy, and field programs to demonstrate the benefits of conservation and build a future for Africa where people and wildlife thrive.


The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on InstagramLinkedIn, and Facebook.