About SOWC

Founded in 2016, the School of Wildlife Conservation is a centre of excellence focused on the "Business of Conservation"

What do we mean by the "Business of Conservation"?

For too long, the conservation space has been dominated by inefficiency and waste.  Consequently, we are now facing an extinction crisis that is the most extreme our planet has ever witnessed. As a direct result of human activity, damage to the natural environment has reached unprecedented levels and, if we are to save ourselves from disaster, new models for managing the natural capital of planet earth are required. The business of conservation is about creating and maintaining economic incentives for the sustainable utilisation of wild resources and removing economic incentives which drive unsustainable use. It is about finding ways for conservation to become an opportunity for economic and social development, where natural capital is sustained or grown even as we attend to the needs of human beings.

SOWC Stories

Daniella Sach

Daniella Sach “I am a strong believer that we need to shift the story of conservation to bring it into

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Wassa Cisse

Wassa Cisse “For a long time, I have been observing the financing models used to support conservation and climate efforts

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Catherine Chumo

Catherine Chumo “ALU provided a larger picture which aided in enhancing work at the national and community level in African

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Christian Mugabe

Christian Mugabe As the Director of Business Conservation at the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, a role I assumed very recently.

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Our Objectives

Our work as a School is critically important for the future of the African continent, indeed for the rest of the world. Our objectives are

To become the global "go to" place for people wishing to learn about new approaches to conservation, built, developed and successfully practiced across Africa by Africans

We want Africa to become seen as the global leader for global conservation success where our amazing natural assets are safeguarded for future generations as the continent develops.

We do this in a number of ways

Supporting young leaders at the African Leadership University: Critically important is our support to all ALU students undertaking degree courses. Through the school we aim to expose as many future African leaders as possible to conservation, with the expectation that a significant subset of these leaders will focus on conservation as their life’s mission and ultimately engage in conservation efforts on the continent. For those who choose missions focused on the conservation space we support them with consistent high quality expertise and mentoring, access to high quality information, regular guest speaker sessions from experts across Africa and other parts of the world as well as impactful internship opportunities from our wide network of conservation partners.  

We deliver a Conservation MBA (currently in redevelopment to be relaunched in early 2023) and run a suite of executive development courses focused on leadership and various aspects of cutting edge conservation. We have become a hub for the wildlife economy of Africa through our world class Research programme. We also deliver the world renowned Business of Conservation Conference (BCC) once annually in Kigali, and regularly support innovation accelerators for people with new ideas about how to transform the conservation space.

We are on a mission to create the next generation of entrepreneurial African conservation leaders who we know will thrive in the booming green economy that is emerging across the continent.  From carbon markets, to green financing and protected area management, we have the ability to support student choices and passions across a wide range of different areas. If you want to live and learn at the cutting edge of modern education, then join us at the School of Wildlife Conservation.

We look forward to welcoming you. 

Our Programmes

Wildlife Economy Research

State of the Wildlife economy in Africa Report

The aim of our research is to gather data and information to illustrate the value of wildlife to economies and through this to encourage investment in this important economic asset. The research process will also highlight data gaps and encourage the collection of data related to wildlife economies in order to better understand the vast contribution of wildlife resources to national economies.

Undergraduate Programme

Developing the next generation of conservation leaders

We offer an individually tailored undergraduate program, a BA in Global Challenges with a specialization in conservation, to empower students to drive innovative solutions to Africa’s conservation challenges.

MBA for Conservation Leaders

Enhancing the management and leadership skills of rising conservation leaders

The MBA for Conservation Leaders combines world-class business education with cutting-edge training in leadership and conservation management. It prepares mid-career conservation leaders for the next stage of their careers.

The Business of Conservation Conference

Breaking down the silos in conservation

We convene a wide array of stakeholders to promote best practices, strengthen networks, and collectively tackle the challenges of conservation. The first of these was the 2018 BCC which hosted 300 leaders from conservation, ecotourism, politics, conservation philanthropy and investors. 

Executive Development

A suite of executive development courses on leadership in conservation

The School develops and delivers Executive Development courses to mid-career professionals designed to upskill or provide new skills in various areas that are critical to the business of conservation, as well as supply leadership training.  The programs also provide a platform for participants to expand their professional networks across the African continent and beyond, opening new opportunities for collaboration with conservation peers

Entrepreneurship in Conservation

Discovering and grooming the next generation of entrepreneurs in Conservation

We aim to discover and incubate new revenue models that do not depend on tourism, but still enable local communities within African countries to obtain their livelihoods from wildlife, manage their natural resources sustainably, and improve their collective wellbeing. Participants have the chance to win a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money.

SOWC in Numbers

Our Impact Report

Fred Swaniker

Founder

A citizen of Ghana, Fred Swaniker grew up in Botswana and Zimbabwe, both countries blessed with wildlife. However, like the majority of his peers, his family could never afford to visit the high-end game reserves in these countries. He vividly remembers during his college years in the United States that his peers would ask him if he had seen a lion or an elephant. He would uncomfortably respond that he had indeed seen such animals–but in a zoo! It was only when Fred returned to Africa–this time to South Africa–that he had the opportunity to visit the Kruger National Park. He was immediately awestruck by the wildlife and breathtaking landscapes he experienced in the bush, and vowed that he would find a way to ensure that future generations of Africans would also be able enjoy such incredible experiences. He also realized that unless Africa’s wildlife became an ‘African asset’–something that all Africans–not only wealthy foreign tourists could see the benefits of–African communities would have no incentives to conserve habitat and wildlife. Years later, when Fred founded African Leadership University, he saw it as a vehicle to address the ‘Grand Challenges’ and ‘Great Opportunities’ that Africa would encounter over the next 50 years. The conservation of Africa’s wildlife was high on his list of African opportunities and Fred envisioned a school within the university that would develop leaders for conservation. But his wish would remain a dream until he reconnected with his longtime friend, financial backer, and philanthropist Jennifer Oppenheimer in mid-2016. As it turned out, Jennifer had been thinking along the same lines as Fred.

Jennifer Oppenheimer

Life-long philanthropist and conservationist

In memoriam of Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer

A seed funder for African Leadership University, the late Jennifer (Fern) W. Oppenheimer was instrumental in the establishment of the pan-African university in 2013. Three years later–in mid 2016–Jennifer approached the University’s founder, Fred Swaniker, with an idea to create a new generation of African leaders who would lead efforts to safeguard Africa’s natural resources and wildlife. Her vision, shared by ALU, was to ensure that Africa’s wildlife becomes a truly valuable ‘asset’ that is enjoyed by Africans and the world, and that contributes to the sustainable development of Africa. Jennifer subsequently provided seed funding to enable the establishment of the ALU School of Wildlife Conservation.

Highlights

Our Partners and Organisations We Work With