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The importance

of leadership

Conservation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and to successfully address the complex and ever-changing challenges that arise, it is crucial to have innovative and interdisciplinary leaders at all levels. At Conserve, we put committed and talented leadership at the centre of our model and seek leaders who draw on diverse experiences and can bring together a range of stakeholders. We also look for inspiration from different models outside of conservation and help to facilitate collaboration between traditional and non-traditional partners.

A young well built man cooking on a 3 stone Fire at the bush during a camping night
Sunrise in a reserve with a gazelle walking in the grass

Of course, it also takes a team with a wide range of skills to effectively manage conservation areas and projects with empathy and diplomacy to build trust with communities.

This includes scientific understanding of ecosystem processes, technical skills to maintain infrastructure, financial planning and analysis. Our focus extends beyond just analytics and includes a range of skills essential for leveraging data to inform decision-making, such as IT proficiency to gather and analyse data, fundraising and marketing skills to communicate insights effectively, logistics planning and patrolling to implement plans, and solid project management skills to oversee the entire process. As Conserve’s geographic footprint expands, so does the number of jobs created within our in-country entities and our ability to invest in the future generation of conservation leaders living in these landscapes.

Close up Pygmy water-lily

We know that contributing to a cohort of African leaders in conservation will enrich not only Conserve but will have ripple impacts within communities and the entire sector. From our position, we can invest in the cohort of leaders working within Conserve’s portfolio – and across our extended networks – as well as those growing up in communities that have benefitted from the opportunities provided by healthier and thriving landscapes.

Goal 3:

African skills and leadership are enhanced within the conservation sector

We want to contribute to the next generation of conservation leadership that is diverse, inclusive, and well-equipped to address complex and dynamic challenges. We envision a dynamic group of leaders drawn from across the continent.

What has been done

At Conserve, we provide opportunities for professional growth to nurture diverse talent and leadership and we have sought partnerships to help us broaden these opportunities.

Knitted big basket with many strings in it

What has
been done

Skill and leadership development

Conserve is developing a senior leadership programme to support emerging leaders who are assuming leadership roles within Conserve’s growing portfolio of projects. This includes:

  • Targeted mentoring and coaching
  • Training courses developed by an array of partners with various specialisms, all of whom share a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Cultivation of peer networks and exchange opportunities
  • Mapping career paths within Conserve and promoting from within
  • Conducting needs assessments to identify skills required in each project site and offering targeted training programs for staff members
Young men in traditional Maasai regalia standing while one of them jumps high
And because we believe that skills and talents are nurtured throughout life and that everyone benefits from stronger educational fundamentals, we also commit to:

Providing bursaries for children of staff members and other school-age children from our partner communities

Supporting environmental education curricula and wildlife clubs in community schools to help support a new generation of passionate conservationists

Providing internship opportunities for African students and recent graduates

Developing skills: A perspective by Shakira Nsimbi

Key networks

In 2022, we worked to outline plans for the above initiatives and have developed connections with a range of partners and peers who bring deep and complementary skills in various aspects of leadership development.

Planet women logo
Landscapes for 1 billion people logo
William & Mary Institute for Integrative Conservation logo
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Southern African Wildlife College Logo
Global Livingston Institute logo

We are also deeply grateful to the incredible conservation professionals who have joined our Technical Advisory Board members and who serve as prominent role models for emerging conservationists across the continent.


our goals

Conserving natural landscapes Investing in African skills and leadership Building strong local governance Unlocking value for people