The African Marine Conservation Leadership Programme (AMCLP) is expanding its leadership development programme to support marine conservation leaders from across the continent. Building on the success of the inaugural programme in 2020, Blue Ventures is continuing its partnership with leadership experts Maliasili to convene the second cohort of AMCLP’s conservation leadership accelerator. Bringing together senior conservation leaders from across Africa, the programme aims to increase the capabilities and impact of African-led and African-based marine conservation organisations, accelerating efforts to protect the continent’s coasts, oceans, and small-scale fisheries.
The programme has now selected the second cohort of 16 senior leaders from community-based organisations across Mozambique, Kenya, and Tanzania to join the network starting in July this year. This second cohort will focus on in-person, week-long workshops to foster connections, build peer-to-peer support, and enable leaders to put lessons into practice.
The new senior leadership cohort follows the launch of AMCLP’s new LeadUp initiative, which started earlier this year, targeting emerging leaders in African conservation organisations. LeadUp is already supporting over 30 mid-level managers to develop their skills as future leaders of the sector with virtual and in-person training.
Working in partnership with Maliasili, Blue Ventures launched the AMCLP in 2020 with its first cohort of 17 senior marine conservation leaders, weathering the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to embark on this new leadership journey. The inaugural AMCLP leaders have since reported enhanced effectiveness, greater confidence, and strengthened abilities in their work with the communities they support.
Julitha Mwangamilo from Tanzania participated in the first senior leaders’ cohort and reflected on the programme with us. Her organisation Sea Sense works with a network of over 60 community conservation officers who act as ‘ambassadors for conservation’ in their respective villages, providing a vital link between the organisation and the wider community. “I realised that sound leadership is essential if we want to be successful,” she noted. “The programme has changed my leadership style and made me more self-aware. It has also changed me, allowing me to connect deeply with people and communicate more effectively, which makes my work more enjoyable.“
Kahaso Mtana, Emerging Leaders and Network Management Coordinator at Maliasili, told us what LeadUp is all about: “LeadUp focuses on helping emerging conservation leaders identify the critical skills they need to build to unlock their leadership potential.”
Participants in both programmes will also be gathering in person with the rest of the network in late September for the five-day African Community Conservation Forum, led by Maliasili and co-funded by Blue Ventures, Tusk, Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The forum seeks to provide African conservation leaders with a space to connect, learn, and collaborate, as well as the tools, support and plans to take community-based conservation forward together.
As these leadership programmes expand, Blue Ventures aims to invest in the organisations that can unlock what is needed for people and nature: those that put communities first, have a full-time presence on the ground and have a long-term commitment to providing sustained support to community-led marine conservation efforts.