AWF and ALU School of Wildlife Conservation Collaborate to Develop Young Conservation Leaders

Press Release

AWF and ALU School of Wildlife Conservation Collaborate to Develop Young Conservation Leaders

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The partnership, which is in line with AWF’s youth engagement strategy and leadership framework, will see AWF provide internship opportunities, curate ideas for solutions through MBA capstones, and collaborative research around wildlife economies on an annual basis.

KIGALI, RWANDA AND NAIROBI, KENYA (May 13, 2021) — African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the African Leadership University School of Wildlife Conservation (ALU SOWC) have entered an agreement that will see both institutions mentor upcoming conservation students and collaborate on applied research.

The partnership in line with AWF’s youth engagement strategy and leadership framework will see AWF provide internship opportunities, curate ideas for solutions through MBA capstones, and collaborative research around wildlife economies annually. The interns will be posted to our landscapes and country programs, policy and leadership programs, Classroom Africa and Youth programs, conservation science and species programs, business and wildlife economies programs, and other regional and global programs as appropriate.

The agreement will enable  MBA students to curate business-related opportunities and solutions within AWF programs as part of their capstone projects. Additionally, AWF will advertise upcoming job opportunities with the ALU careers department and facilitate secondments within AWF, partner organizations, and platforms. The two partners will also collaborate on research work within the space of wildlife economies and the business of conservation.

Africa’s population will be 1.6 billion by 2030, and the rapidly growing youth population will constitute 42 percent of that number. Africa, therefore, has a unique opportunity by its current youth to drive its growth, and the youth will need opportunities to take up leadership positions. That is why AWF has made an intentional approach to integrate the youth in conservation leadership programs in a bid to provide emerging conservation leaders with the much-needed exposure to conservation challenges, opportunities, and pragmatic approaches being deployed to address these.

AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya urged the youth by saying that they should transform the African conservation agenda and encouraged them to apply for internship opportunities that they come across.

“Engaging young people, therefore, should be considered as pivotal to achieving sustainable development and addressing the multifaceted challenges regarding unemployment in Africa which requires a deliberate strategy that puts youth at the forefront. Achieving this will entail involvement in internship and job opportunities; and most importantly having the youth empowered, inspired, and connected to global conservation platforms,” he said.

The agreement between ALU SOWC and AWF falls squarely under the conservation colleges partnership initiative under the AWF youth engagement strategy. Through this initiative, the organization will provide scholarships to youth from AWF landscapes, provide internships opportunities, support capstone and research initiatives, and provide guest lecture opportunities between AWF and ALU.

ALU SOWC Founder and CEO Fred Swaniker stated that some existing education systems have incorporated environmental information however delivery mechanisms are teacher-oriented, yet getting youth connected to nature requires youth-led practical and innovative approaches that trigger critical reflections and participation. This implicates the desired youth stewardship of conservation as youth are kept uninformed. As a consequence, youth are mostly indifferent or excluded from conservation conversations. ALU, therefore, acknowledges AWF's efforts in integrating students into the practical aspects of conservation through this internship program and other initiatives that we will work on together.

About ALU SOWC

Established in 2016, the ALU School of Wildlife Conservation promotes conservation as an African growth sector by developing the next generation of entrepreneurial conservation leaders and undertaking research into Africa’s wildlife economy. Its innovative programs of leadership development, learning, and research provide platforms for young entrepreneurs to incubate their innovative conservation business models for the African wildlife economy. At a macro level, SOWC seeks to influence the sector’s decision-makers to adopt sustainable business models and promote an entrepreneurial business-minded approach in African conservation. Follow @aluconservation on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.    

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science, and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wildlands and experiences.

MEDIA CONTACTS: To arrange interviews please contact Wambui Odhiambo of AWF in Nairobi, Kenya at wodhiambo@awf.org, +254 728 886987 or Benedicta Selassie Amenyo of ALU SOWC in Kigali, Rwanda at bamenyo@alueducation.com