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Enhancing the sustainability of community wildlife conservancies

Empowering communities to address their urgent need for management skills by helping to create locally relevant affordable courses.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

According to the World Wildlife Fund the global populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. Environmental organizations are working with governments, businesses and communities to protect wildlife, yet the decline has not been stemmed. Wildlife conservancies and sanctuaries play a key role in preserving the remaining populations of elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, leopards and other threatened species. Furthermore, wildlife tourism is a major source of foreign exchange in a number of African countries, essential to future economic development, as well as employment. Conservancies are facing an urgent challenge to enhance their efficiency.

Managing wildlife conservancies effectively requires exceptional leadership and managerial skills because of the great diversity of the activities involved, such as anti-poaching activities, environmental protection, fundraising, negotiating and contracting, hospitality, government relations, etc. Community conservancies have voiced their urgent need to strengthen their leadership and management skills. Community conservancies account for over 80 percent of all Kenyan conservancies.

The project will build bridges between wildlife conservancies and partners who together can enhance their management skills: providers of management education programs with an emphasis on experiential and peer-to-peer learning, and wildlife funding organizations. Such programs have improved outcomes in developing world healthcare. Over time the project will build bridges between networks that operate mostly separately today.

As of now few locally-relevant training programs exist, reflecting in part the scarcity of scholarships for community conservancy participants. Eliciting funder interest in scholarships for community wildlife conservancies is one of the project's goals; this will also stimulate education providers to offer more courses - a win/win.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Beneficiaries will be (a) people who are living in community wildlife conservancies, including unemployed youth; (b) people enjoying increased security due to a drop in wildlife poaching and the related money-laundering; (c) those benefitting from economic activities generated by additional sustainable tourism, including better healthcare and education facilities funded by revenue-sharing partnerships with tourism operators; and (d) future generations who will not be deprived of the exceptional experience of connecting with animals with which we share the planet in their natural habitat.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

I am aware of no other organization currently building a worldwide platform that can replicate/adapt locally-management training programs across geographies. I founded the Global Business School Network of about 70 member schools "North" and "South" (www.gbsn.org) in 2002 and stepped down last September after running it all these years. Building on the relationships with African and other developing country management educators, I incorporated "Management Sciences for Wildlife Conservancies" (MSWC), a US-based 501c3 earlier this year. In collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, MSWC is carrying out the first-ever survey of management training priorities of Kenyan wildlife conservancy Boards and Managements. The first results are in, and will be used to create the first university-based sectoral courses. While Kenya is the "pilot country", enhancing management skills in wildlife conservancies is a widespread unmet global need.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

MSWC, incorporated as a 501(c)3 March 19, 2018, builds on a GBSN initiative piloted in Nairobi in 2017; (https://gbsn.org/global-business-school-network-strathmore-stellenbosch-business-schools-convene-roundtable-wildlife-conservation-leadership-management/), and while GBSN improves access to quality, locally-relevant management education for the developing world, MSWC focuses exclusively on wildlife conservancies and similar organizations.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Two years ago my wife and I met Michael Joseph, the Board Chair of Lewa Conservancy, a model of its kind. Michael was insistent that even Lewa needed improved management skills. He was enthusiastic about connecting community conservancies to management educators. This started me imagining how my professional experience in development economics and management could contribute to such an exciting project - bringing needed management education to community conservancies.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Planet: better balance between agriculture/herding and wildlife protection will benefit the environment, and more endangered wildlife will survive.

Prosperity: better-managed community conservancies mean more revenues and jobs, and better education and health services, for populations who are living far from the main economic centers.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Since inception of MSWC earlier this year, I have been partnering with the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association and Strathmore University (Nairobi). The former partnered in designing and implementing a survey of community conservancies (see above); the latter, largely at my behest, has started working on creating short locally-relevant wildlife conservancy courses. I plan to partner with potential funders of scholarships that will be necessary in order to bring community participants to such courses, and so as to create incentives for other educational institutions to offer courses. Meanwhile, I am partnering with eLearning Africa (https://www.elearning-africa.com/) on a discussion panel about management education/wildlife conservancies in Kigali end of September. I am also partnering with GBSN on a similar discussion (although with different stakeholders) at their annual conference held this year in Nairobi.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The communities own the land on which the wildlife lives and therefore managing these resources in a way which is more effective enhances community benefits is a critical issue for their future (including, importantly, mitigating conflicts between pastoralists and wildlife conservation).

Geographic Focus

Wherever communities can use management learning to help conserve wildlife and the environment.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project is underway, with several new courses on the drawing board. The critical need is for scholarships, so that community conservancies can take advantage of such courses. Based on earlier experience with leadership and management courses for healthcare in the developing world, wildlife conservancy similar programs should become financially self-sustaining 3 years after launch.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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