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Mweka Workshop

To discuss capacity building initiatives by organizations belonging to the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG), a February 2001 meeting was held at African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). ABCG organizations discussed new initiatives and approaches to capacity building at the individual, institutional, and systemic levels. Opportunities for on-the-ground collaboration such as support for the regional wildlife training colleges in Africa [College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka, Tanzania, Lcole pour la Formation des Spcialistes de la Faune de Garoua, Cameroon and Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa] were reviewed. Opportunities to coordinate training activities with African partners in wildlife and protected area authorities were also examined. ABCG organizations compiled a list of their available scholarship and research opportunities to be shared with African partners.

Activities & Achievements

ABCG has since been involved in numerous efforts regarding conservation capacity building in Africa. These include:

Nature, Wealth and Power


To discuss how to integrate environmental management, economic growth, and good governance to improve biodiversity conservation in rural Africa, the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) and the Community Conservation Coalition (CCC) held an 18 December 2002 Meeting to discuss the recently released discussion paper by USAID’s Africa Bureau and partners entitled: “Nature, Wealth, and Power (NWP): Emerging Best Practice for Revitalizing Rural Africa”. As the conservation community uses larger more holistic landscape approaches to conservation, larger issues that impact conservation outside of protected areas must be explored. Discussions focused on the relevance of the framework, principles and action recommendations identified in “Nature, Wealth and Power”, and how it can be related to on-the-ground conservation activities in Africa.

Africa Policy Advisory Panel Report- A Natural Resource Conservation Initiative for Africa


Image of Lion Africa Policy Advisory Panel Report

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell provided the keynote address at a Thursday, 8 July 2004 conference on Capitol Hill about U.S./Africa Policy. The conference marked the release of the Africa Policy Advisory Panel Report entitled, Rising U.S. Stakes in Africa: Seven Proposals to Strengthen U.S. Africa Policy.

Nick Lapham of Conservation International (CI) worked with many Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) members [Judy Oglethorpe and Richard Carroll of World Wildlife Fund; Harry van der Linde of African Wildlife Foundation, Heather Eves of Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, James Deutsch and Steve Osofsky of Wildlife Conservation Society, Peter Veit of World Resources Institute, and Nancy Gelman of ABCG] to draft the proposal on “A Natural Resource Conservation Initiative for Africa.” The Africa Policy Advisory Panel (APAP), for which the U.S. Congress authorized monies in the 2003 omnibus spending bill, guides U.S.-Africa policy. Peter Seligmann, the CEO of CI, sits as a member of the Advisory Panel.

At the conference, Nick Lapham described the reasons for increased U.S. interest in African conservation. He emphasized the role of tourism in Africa as the second biggest foreign exchange earner. The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) III now has a section on ecotourism. He also described potential threats to natural resources such as preventing timber from being the “currency of conflict” in places such as Liberia as well as disease transfer between domestic animals, wildlife and humans.

Nick Lapham presented six recommendations from the APAP report for A Natural Resource Conservation Initiative for Africa to:

  1. Scale up and sustain U.S. assistance (diplomatic, technical, and financial) to regional partnerships aimed at conserving key tranboundary ecosystems.
  2. Prioritize improved natural resource management as a key component in U.S. efforts to promote good governance.
  3. Expand and better coordinate U.S. government activities to address the African bushmeat crisis.
  4. Develop stronger programs and incentives to more effectively engage the U.S. diplomatic corps in Africa on natural resource conservation issues.
  5. Restore and expand U.S. technical assistance programs that build capacity of Africans- from practitioners to political leaders- in natural resource conservation.Increase U.S. investment in African parks and protected areas.

Many of the speakers including Colin Powell, Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), and former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, highlighted conservation issues. Colin Powell said that he is enormously proud of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). He stated that through CBFP, the U.S. was building creative partnerships with African governments, NGOs, and the private sector. “The Forest Partnership will help to safeguard Africa’s precious natural heritage while at the same time promoting development, allow that heritage to be used in a sensible way that preserves it, but at the same time gets some economic benefit out of it in order to alleviate poverty and to enhance good government. Under the Forest Partnership, we are supporting a network of parks and protected areas, well managed forestry concessions and the creation of economic opportunities for communities that depend on the forests and the wildlife of the region.”

Powell recalled his visit to Gabon and President Bongo’s initiative to set aside 10% of the country into protected areas. He said that he wanted to see flora and fauna, but his security was so good that all he could see in the jungle were some trees as there was no wildlife ( or even mosquitos) to be seen within 500 miles. He said how proud President Bush is to be at the forefront of these environmental initiatives.

Rep. Royce also drew attention to CBFP and ecotourism. He described CBFP as an innovative approach to “help give Africans an incentive to save their flora and fauna from destruction. Eco-tourism in the Congo Basin, and in the more traditional tourist destinations in eastern and southern Africa, has great potential for up-lifting Africans, and conserving for posterity the resources all of mankind has an interest in.” Royce mentioned the new congressional caucus on international conservation in the U.S. House of Representatives that focuses on these issues. He also emphasized the recent destruction of Virunga National Park and stated that “Rwanda must stop its deforestation of one of the two remaining mountain gorilla habitats.”

Kansteiner, when introducing Nick Lapham, said that not only are we conserving wealth with conservation, but are also generating wealth. He said that African governments were recognizing the role of ecotourism and have responded by setting aside parks. He discussed the need for them to take next steps and asked Nick how the U.S. might assist.

The seven proposals put forth by APAP include:

  1. Crafting a U.S. Energy Policy for Africa
  2. Capital Market and Financial Sector Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
  3. To Guarantee the Peace: An Action Strategy for a Post-Conflict Sudan
  4. A Natural Resource Conservation Initiative for Africa
  5. Countering the Terrorist Threat in AFrica
  6. Crisis Diplomacy and Peace Operations
  7. Continuing U.S. Leadership to Combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and Globally

For copies of the conference agenda, speeches by Colin Powell, Ed Royce, and Senator Russell Feingold, the Executive Summary of the APAP Report (“A Natural Resource Conservation Initiative for Africa” is on pp.28-30), press release, etc., please see the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) website at Hard copies of the report can be purchased from CSIS Press for $25. Also see the interview with Nick Lapham on entitled “Conservation Should Be Major U.S.-Africa Policy Issue, Report Says”.


MENTOR Fellowship Program

Mentor logoThrough the 2008-2009 Wildlife Without Borders Africa program, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is addressing the need for action to curtail the illegal and unsustainable bushmeat trade in eastern Africa. The USFWS MENTOR Fellowship Program used a team approach to build the capacity of eight emerging eastern African conservation leaders to address bushmeat challenges and lay the foundation for implementing bushmeat solutions.

Through the USFWS MENTOR Fellowship Program, a team of eight Fellows under the guidance of four experienced conservation Mentors worked to address illegal bushmeat exploitation in eastern Africa.

MENTOR fellows


Mr. Evanson J Kariuki

Mr. Iregi Mwenja

Southern Sudan:

Mr. Peter Amum

Mr. Isaac Seme


Mr. Martin Andimile

Ms. Lowaeli S. Damalu

Mr. Opyene Vincent

MENTOR Team’s Project Implementation and Accomplishments:

MENTOR Team’s Project Implementation and Accomplishments Fact Sheet

Field Research & Actions:  By July 2009, the MENTOR Fellows successfully assessed eight key protected area regions and urban centers to evaluate the current state of the bushmeat trade.  They implemented efforts (September 2008 – May 2009) in several key protected areas including law enforcement training and actions, protein and income alternatives, awareness, and building consensus on the bushmeat issue among professionals in the eastern African region.

Fact Sheets and information on the bushmeat assessments are available on the main USFWS MENTOR Fellowship Program webpage and their individual sites (click on the Fellows above to learn more about their bushmeat field research and actions).

Partnership Building:  By July 2009, MENTOR Fellows, Mentors and Partners had successfully established the foundation for the Bushmeat-free Eastern Africa Network (BEAN) to support continued bushmeat interventions in key protected areas including awareness, education, law enforcement and protein and income alternatives.  In addition, partnerships were initiated in the four selected protected areas (Serengeti, Masai Mara, Murchison Falls Conservation Area and Boma National Park) to bring together local stakeholders linked with enforcement, awareness, and alternatives.

Bushmeat-Free East African Network (BEAN) website: an interdisciplinary network consisting of stakeholders who work to implement grassroots solutions to bushmeat exploitation problems affecting eastern Africa.

BEAN brochure

Awareness: By July 2009, the MENTOR Fellows had generated at least 10 print and 10 radio reports in the media focused on the bushmeat issue.  Over 125 meetings had been held in the four countries with key stakeholders including conservation organizations, education groups, development agencies, and local communities.  In addition a national bushmeat symposium was held in Kenya bringing together 45 individuals from 18 institutions with an interest in/focus on the bushmeat issue.  All MENTOR Fellows participated in the Society for Conservation Biology – Africa conference in January 2009 providing a team-developed presentation to all conference participants.

MENTOR Fellows’ symposia:

Kenya National Syposium Report, May 2009

Bushmeat Symposium Abstracts for the Society for Conservation Biology in Ghana, January 2009

Information Management: By July 2009 MENTOR/BEAN team had created a complete communications package for key decision makers/media, website for professionals and the public (with estimated 600 visitors per month), media and the general public and a communications strategy for continuing awareness efforts through July 2010.

For more information on the MENTOR Fellowship Program on bushmeat exploitation in eastern Africa, contact:

College of African Wildlife Management-Mweka
PO Box 3031

Photo: MENTOR Fellows and their Mentors at the College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka, Tanzania. Top row: Evanson Kariuki (Fellow-Kenya), Dr. Mwangi of Univ. of Nairobi (Mentor-Kenya), Iregi Mwenja (Fellow-Kenya), Martin Andimile (Fellow-Tanzania), Thadeus Binamungu of AWF-TZ (Mentor-Tanzania), Lowaeli Damalu (Fellow-Tanzania). Bottom Row: Isaac Seme (Fellow-Southern Sudan), Peter Amum (Fellow-Southern Sudan), Dr. Jamus Joseph of WCS-Southern Sudan (Mentor-Southern Sudan), Okello Genesis (Fellow-Uganda), Dr. William Olupot of WCS-Uganda (Mentor-Uganda), and Vincent Opyene (Fellow-Uganda). Photo credit: Heather Eves