A History of the Capacity Development Programme
In October and November 2009 we ran two highly successful training teams around our West African Manatee Conservation project in Ghana. Both teams of 8 brought together key manatee conservationists, policy makers and those working in the field to learn new study techniques and share in ideas for developing conservation plans for manatees throughout West Africa. In January 2010 we ran our first teacher team on the South Africa’s Brown Hyaenas project. The teachers, from around the local area and South Africa, took part in local carnivore ecology research as well as participating in workshops to explore how to best transfer skills learnt in the field back to their pupils.
In early June Earthwatch, with funding from Zurich, supported a 3 day National Conference on Identification of Knowledge Gaps for Sustainable Management of Mangroves in Sri Lanka. For a copy of the report click here. Also in June we had our first group of Omani scientists joining the long established Earthwatch Samburu project to understand how Earthwatch projects work and how they might be replicated in Oman. The following month we held our first round table event in Ghana looking at the Conservation of the white necked rock fowl. This brought together key players in rock fowl conservation in West Africa together and enabled us to look at long term strategies for the conservation of the species and its habitat.
We were delighted to have received three Capacity Development fellowships from three different funders which enabled us to train three Malagasy emerging scientists as part of Luke Dollars Carnivores of Madagascar project. It was also the second year of our Neville Shulman Awards – please click here for more details.
Participants: 111 people to field in 2009/2010 (total fielded on programme 1430)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Denise Mitchell Memorial Fellowship, Earthwatch McCrea Fund, Herschel & Peggy Post Fellowship, John Ellerman Foundation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Neville Shulman Awards, Newmont Mining, Rufford Maurice Laing, Shell, UBS, Zurich Financial Services
This year we trailed some new initiatives to ensure our fellows got the most from their Earthwatch experience. This included hosting the first Business Skills for World Heritage team on our Climate Change and Landscape in Borneo’s Rainforest project. This unique training programme brought together Earthwatch scientists and staff, UNESCO World Heritage Site Managers with Shell Business Managers.
Have a look at Earthwatch’s Capacity Development Programme Newsletter – REACH 2009 – for more information about the Business Skills for World Heritage Programme andongoing efforts to protect Ghana’s beautiful and rare white-necked rock fowl.
This year saw the launch of the Neville Shulman Awards and the continuation of UBS and Maurice Rufford Laing training grants for young and emerging scientists in Africa.
Participants: 75 people to field in 2008/9 (total fielded on programme 1319)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Earthwatch McCrea Fund, Landrover, Mitsubishi Corporation, Newmont Mining, Neville Shulman Awards, Rio Tinto plc, Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation , Shell, UBS, Zurich Financial Services
During 2008 we sent a record number of participants into the field and with a diverse and growing base of funding we are optimistic about the expansion of the capacity development programme into future years. We are also looking for new ways that we can further engage, and offer more opportunities for our past members and partner organisations so that together we can make positive tracks to a sustainable future.
Increasingly, conservationists are able to join Earthwatch projects which are directly related to their own area of work or study. This year, these included a group of Asian bat specialists who went on Dr. Tigga Kingston’s project Malaysian Bat Conservation, while Dr. Mark Huxham’s project Tidal Forests of Kenya hosted a team of individuals involved in mangrove conservation across Africa. Chun Chun Chia who participated on the Malaysian Bat Conservation project during 2008 commented:
“I applied the skills and knowledge I learned from the Earthwatch program in the field. Additionally, I passed the skills to local students in South Sumatra by holding a workshop”
Participants: 158 people to field in 2007/8 (total fielded on programme 1,244)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Cadbury Schweppes, Darwin Initiative, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Newmont Mining, Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation, Rio Tinto plc., UBS, Zurich Financial Services
A huge landmark for Earthwatch and the Capacity Development Programme - the 1000th person received training on one of our projects. It took twelve years to field the first 1000 people and we are hoping to get even more out in the future. Our 1000th trainee was Mr. Darlington Taugben, a Liberian student studying at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, who participated on the project Cocoa Farming and Biodiversity in Ghana.
The programme also continued to expand in 2007 as we started a new project in South Asia called Mangroves of Sri Lanka. With funding from Zurich Financial Services, 3 teams of Capacity Builders from Sri Lanka set out learning and collecting data about the ecosystem services provided by mangroves.
The Capacity Development Programme newsletter - REACH was redesigned this year and became a full colour document (replacing it's black, white and green predecessor). Read more about what happened on the Capacity Development Programme in 2007 by having a glance at the new look REACH 2007.
Participants: 132 people fielded in 2006/7 (total fielded on programme 1,186)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Cadbury Schweppes, Darwin Initiative, DEFRA (PECE), Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Newmont Mining, Rio Tinto plc., Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation , Syngenta, UBS, Zurich Financial Services.
The African Fellowships programme was rebranded the Capacity Development Programme in 2006 in light of its expanded horizons. The programme entered into Eastern Europe for the first time and offered 14 people from across Eastern Europe and the Caucuses the opportunity to participate on the Earthwatch project Belarus Wetlands. The programme was run in conjunction with the Field Studies Council (FSC) who provided training in environmental education on the project, and with funding from the UK government's (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Partnership for Environmental Cooperation in Europe (PECE).
With funding from the Mitsubishi Corporation we were also able to initiate a new project - Coral and Coastal Ecology of the Seychelles. Young marine conservationists from the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Eastern Africa joined the project scientists to learn about intertidal and sub-tidal ecology, and to gather baseline data from the islands.
Form more information about what happened in 2006 and an insight into the special team for conservationists involved in primatology that ran that year see the annual newsletter REACH 2006.
Participants: 134 people fielded in 2006 (total fielded on programme 954)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Cadbury Schweppes, DEFRA (PECE), European Union, HSBC, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Pippa Mc Crae Memorial Fund, Rio Tinto plc., Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation
After the research completed and data collected by twelve capacity builders on the Earthwatch project Lakes of the Rift Valley a submission was made to the Ramsar Secretariat to make Lake Elmenteita (Kenya) a Wetland of International Importance. The proposal was later accepted as it was recognised that the lake was an essential location for supporting the lesser flamingo and other locally threatened species - a fantastic achievement for all involved.
Our expanding Capacity Development community held a reunion event in Ghana in 2005 located at the Ebenezer Presby Hall in Accra. Held in partnership with the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) the event was a chance for past participants from Ghana to get together again and share stories, and learn about the launch of two new Earthwatch projects in the region. To learn more see our annual newsletter from the year REACH 2005.
Participants: 73 people fielded in 2005 (total fielded on programme 820)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Cadbury Schweppes, Darwin Initiative, European Union, Ford Foundation, HSBC, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Pippa McCrae Memorial Fund, Rio Tinto plc. Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation.
The Capacity Development programme celebrated its 10th year anniversary in 2004 and did so in style. We held a dinner reception for more than 40 past fellows, local partners, journalists and government representatives, including the British Ambassador at an alumni reunion in Antananarivo in Madagascar. The reception was cause for double celebration as it was also where we announce the start of a new project: The Lemurs and Forests of Madagascar.
Our annual Capacity Development Programme newsletter - REACH - was also redesigned this year to make it more accessible and enjoyable to our growing Capacity Development community. Have a look at the new design and the other achievements by having a look at REACH 2004.
In 2004 the African Fellowships programme trialled Earthwatch's first all French speaking team. The ten fellows from Madagascar and Guinea participated on the Earthwatch project Saving Cameroon's Rockfowl (Sauvegarder le Picatharte Chauve), which aims to protect this elusive IUCN red-listed species.
Participants: 85 people fielded in 2004 (total fielded on programme 747)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., European Union, Ford Foundation, HSBC, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation, Rio Tinto plc.
2003 was a good year for the Capacity Development Programme as it saw us re-establish our partnership with the European Union. It also saw our Lakes and Flamingo's of the Rift Valley project receive funding from the Darwin Initiative.
Whilst it is always sad to see projects go in 2003 the last Capacity Development Programme teams participated on the project Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary in Ghana. The project did however leave a legacy and there is now a sustainable ecotourism initiative run in conjunction with the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC).
Participants: 52 people fielded in 2003 (total fielded on programme 662)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Darwin Initiative, European Union, Ford Foundation, HSBC, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Rio Tinto plc., UBS Warburg
An alumni reunion event was held in Kenya's Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi on the 17th of June 2002. It brought together the people who participated on an Earthwatch project and who lived in Kenya. The Reunion was made even more memorable as Leonard Zulu was named the 600th Capacity Development Programme participant. Chrurchill Nokrach who attended the reunion commented that "It was a really great occasion to meet past alumni. The function could rotate in different countries. Past fellows should be given time to discuss what they have achieved".
The handbook African Forest Biodiversity: a field survey manual for vertebrates was published in 2002. This practical booklet offers a number of tricks and techniques for collecting data on many vertebrate species including amphibians, reptiles, small, medium and large mammals, primates, and birds. You can access this book in both English and French from our Publications page.
In 2002, Earthwatch also entered into a partnership with HSBC bank and which will see them support a number of people to go on the Capacity Development Programme.
Participants: 50 people fielded in 2002 (total fielded on programme 610)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., HSBC, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Rio Tinto plc., UBS Warburg
The effects of the ending of funding from Darwin and The EU were felt in 2001 and saw Capacity Development Programme participants drop. However the number of training opportunities offered has begun to increase through small grants. Despite fewer numbers, the benefits of the Capacity Development Programme were still being clearly felt by its participants. Nickson Otieno, who participated on the Earhtwatch Tanzanian Forest Birds Project in September 2001, commented:
"The Earthwatch Fellowship is without a doubt one of the very best things that ever happened to me as it kind of shoved me along the path of my career in conservation. It gave me the chance to meet and work with fellow conservationists from across Africa and to exchange ideas with them."
Participants: 45 people fielded in 2001 (total fielded on programme 560)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Rio Tinto plc., UBS Warburg
The dawn of a new millennium and a significant milestone for the Capacity Development Programme as it fielded its 500th person. Unfortunately it also saw an end to the first round of European Union and Darwin Initiative funding, but both partnerships were to be rekindled in later years. As of 2000, the programme had fielded participants from over 180 different research organisations, NGO's, national parks and governments from 22 African countries.
This year also saw the publishing of two new books: The Plants of Mount Cameroon and The Plants of Mount Oku and the Ijim Ridge, Cameroon. Martin Cheek, co-author of the books and Principal investigator for the Earthwatch project was thankful for all of the hard work put in by Capacity Development Programme participants as "the 118 Fellows on these teams have formed the backbone of the surveys".
In 2000 we also initiated a partnership with UBS Warburg which was to last for the following three years.
Participants: 68 people fielded in 2000 (total fielded on programme 515)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., European Union, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Rhodes Trust, Rio Tinto plc., UBS Warburg
The end of the 20th Century saw a new opening for the African Fellowships Programme as we entered into partnerships with Rio Tinto and British American Tobacco plc. These partnerships have been very successful. The Capacity Development Programme also saw its 400th participant go out into the field in 1999.
Participants: 99 people fielded in 1999 (total fielded on programme 447)
Funders: British American Tobacco plc., Darwin Initiative, European Union, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa, Rio Tinto plc.
The Mitsubishi Corporation became the first corporate funder of the Capacity Development Programme in 1998, when it collaborated with the Southern African Wildlife College to select two of its outstanding students, through an open competition, to attend the Black Rhino project in Zimbabwe. Gaining funding from Mitsubishi was a significant step forward for Earthwatch and we have since developed successful partnerships with many other corporate organisations.
In his article in for the 1998 edition of REACH, the Capacity Development Programme newsletter, Professor Eugene Moll who had recently taken up the position as Director of the Southern African Wildlife College in said:
"The next millennium has to become the conservation millennium, and we have to start living sustainably. We need to learn to do things differently."
Participants: 89 people fielded in 1998 (total fielded on programme 348)
Funders: Darwin Initiative, European Union, Guinness Earth Science Awards, Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe & Africa
The number of participants that received training on the Capacity Development Programme decreased in 1997 as funding from the Rhodes Trust came to an end.
Participants: 71 people fielded in 1997 (total fielded on programme 259)
Funders: Darwin Initiative, European Union, Guinness Earth Science Awards
Alongside an increase in training positions available, 1996 also saw the start of Earthwatch's relationship with the Darwin Initiative, a source of funding set up by the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to promote biodiversity in areas lacking in financial resources.
Participants: 112 people fielded in 1996 (total fielded on programme 188)
Funders: Ernest Cook Trust, Etosha Eco. Inst., Darwin Initiative, European Union, Rhodes Trust
The Capacity Development Programme started life in 1995, and at the time was called the African Fellowships programme due to its exclusive focus on the region. Funding for the very first teams was secured in 1994 from the European Commission. However, it wasn't until the 15th of January 1995 that participants went out into the field, to join Dr. Marc De Mayer and help collect vital data on his project Kenya's Wild Forest. You can find out more about the team and Dr. Berhanu Tsegay, one of the very first people to undergo training on the Capacity Development Programme, in the 2007 edition of REACH (pdf) - the annual newsletter for the Capacity Development Programme.
Participants: 76 people fielded in 1995
Funders: European Union, Rhodes Trust