Training & Education
Training the next generation of conservationists
Training & education can create local conservationists. Space for Giants does this in a number of ways.
First we support African conservation practitioners with training. This includes on the job training, short courses and mentoring to secure post-graduate qualifications. Tobias Ochieng and Samuel Mutisya represent two excellent examples of how such mentorship works. Tobias has been working with in human-wildlife conflict in northern Kenya for almost a decade. In 2007, Space for Giants helped Tobias to secure a full scholarship to go to Cambridge University where he was awarded an MPhil in Environment and Development. He subsequently became the project manager for Space for Giants, before taking up a senior position in the African Wildlife Foundation. Tobias has been accepted to Cambridge University to study for his PhD. In 2009, Samuel Mutisya worked closely with Space for Giants to identify the management actions required to make electrified fences effective at protecting subsistence farmers and their crops from elephants. His performance was so impressive that Space for Giants helped him to secure a UK Darwin Initiative Fellowship to pursue an MSc in Conservation Biology at DICE in the UK. After successfully completing his degree Samuel returned to Kenya to take up a senior post with our partners at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Second we provide grassroots education, through our community drama initiative. The purpose of interactive drama is to use the medium of entertainment, laughter and informal discussions to persuade local people to actively participate in wildlife protection. This builds on many years of interactive drama performance used to help with the mitigation of human-elephant conflict. Our research, published with Cambridge University, has shown that the use of drama stimulates lively discussion both within and outside the play itself. It can teach those who take part things they did not know about elephants, about wildlife officials, and perhaps about themselves. We have found it contributes to debate, and to the beginnings of changes in attitudes and changes in behaviour. For these reasons we use drama to engage local communities on a range of issues relevant to our programmes of work, though in particular the mitigation of human-elephant conflict and the prevention of poaching.
What else are we doing to create the next generation of wildlife conservationists?
On the Job Training
First we provide on the job training to our staff and those of our partners so that they learn how best to do their job in an applied environment.
Second we provide short applied courses for conservation. For example we have recently taught the following short courses:
- Mapping for Conservation;
- The use of questionnaires in assessing local perceptions towards conservation;
- Studying elephants in the field;
- Proposal writing for conservation grants;
- Human-Wildlife Conflict Management.
We would like to provide these same courses to promising East African conservationists in 2011.
Finally we also support our employees and those of our partner organisations to pursue higher education. Tobias and Samuel are glowing examples of just how successful this has been.