Not just a happy occasion, a new future for conservation in Africa
Last week David Macdonald was in Kigali, Rwanda, for the inaugural Board meeting of the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation. This involved getting together with an inspired and inspirational, but very nervous, group of 22 applicants to the ALU’s new undergraduate conservation course, Global Challenges. They were nervous for good reason, because they had assembled to learn which of them were to be the handful of winners from the long selection process of which they were the short-listed finalists. The happy winners would then be formally congratulated by the Board members, David, Mark Childress (former US Ambassador to Tanzania) and Richard Vigne (CEO of Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy). The finalists grinned fixedly, shifting their weight from foot to foot as we chatted about their varied and startling achievements (so many trees planted, so many classrooms visited), Fred Swaniker (pictured right), the Ghanaian-born, McKinsey’s trained, founder of ALU announced that funding has been found to award scholarships to all 22. There were shouts, and hugs and tears, and the Board members felt honoured to be in the presence of the future of Africa’s conservation.
The two photos picture two of the successful ALU scholars. Daniel Rugwiza is a Rwandan who led an initiative to plant more than 200 trees to decrease the impacts of deforestation in his neighborhood, and he worked with the Rwandan Ministry of agriculture on awareness raising campaigns on food wastage. Sharlene Nozipho Moyo is a Zimbabwean who, having co-founded a poultry project with her mother, became fascinated by animals and this led to her involvement in raising awareness about illegal wildlife trade.
The ALU’s School of Wildlife Conservation runs both an undergraduate course and a graduate Conservation MBA, both tailored to the challenges and opportunities of Africa. Amongst those opportunities, Fred Swaniker and his team identify an African USP: wildlife and its conservation, so the idea is that every single ALU student, whatever their topic, will take at least a basic course in conservation. A subset of these students will specialize in conservation, which includes a 4-month conservation internship each year. Read about it, under the banner of Building Africa’s Conservation Leaders, at https://sowc.alueducation.com/
With its track record in African conservation https://www.wildcru.org/ and its world famous post graduate Diploma course https://www.wildcru.org/courses/diploma/ the WildCRU is the perfect partner for the ALU, and we look forward not only bringing undergraduates and graduates from ALU to Oxford, but also to participating in training ALU students.
Sharlene Nozipho Moyo