The School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) at the African Leadership University has partnered with Oceans Alive to open its first marine conservation hub in Kilifi, Kenya. The hub will offer African students, interested in marine conservation and the blue economy, the opportunity to gain valuable insights into achieving sustainable management of coastal environments.
In its “learning through doing” approach to education, the School aims to be the African centre of excellence for entrepreneurial education, research, innovation and change that unlocks the economic development potential of the continent’s natural resources through sustainable utilisation and the business of conservation.
According to Richard Vigne, Executive Director of the School, “we want our students to learn by getting their hands dirty, not just sitting in a classroom and studying books. Research has shown that humans learn most effectively from the experiences we have in life, so our network of conservation hubs is designed to give students the immersive hands-on learning opportunity that we know will give them a deep understanding of their chosen subject and make them ready to contribute meaningfully as future conservation leaders across the continent.”
Based near Vipingo in the Kilifi County of Kenya, on the Indian Ocean coast, Oceans Alive is a successful conservation organisation with a global reputation that works with communities to sustainably manage around 12,000 hectares of ocean and coastline.
The African Union estimates that the Blue Economy currently generates nearly US$300 billion for the continent and creates 49 million jobs. In addition to economic benefits, it also provides food security, livelihoods, and helps to maintain biodiversity. However, all of these benefits are entirely dependent on the ocean’s health, which must be properly cared for by the people who depend on it
At the marine conservation hub, students from all over Africa will spend up to two months learning about all aspects of the marine environment. They will help local communities restore fisheries and coral gardens, while immersing themselves in the multi-faceted world of conservation. The program includes time spent onshore and in the water, learning about life in the coastal communities and the extraordinary world that exists beneath the waves.
“Working with ALU students is a great opportunity for Oceans Alive to teach what we have learned. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience of working with communities to protect our ocean and its biodiversity. We are excited to learn as we teach and to hear the impressions and ideas from these bright minds who will call Kuruwitu home as they stay with us for the exciting ALU / Oceans Alive program,” says Oceans Alive Education Director, Tilda Bowden.
The first five students have gone through a rigorous application process and have now joined the marine conservation hub.
Samuel Omondi, one of the students, passionate about data analytics and marine conservation says, “I am excited about the potential of the Oceans Alive program to provide large and complex datasets that can be analysed to gain insights into marine ecosystems and support evidence-based decision-making. I am eager to explore how data analytics can be used to address the complex challenges facing our oceans and contribute to the preservation of marine life”.
To date, the African Leadership University (ALU) has 6 hubs located in Addis Ababa, Kampala, Kigali, Lagos, Nairobi, San Francisco and more recently, Kilifi. ALU students have the opportunity to experience a range of communities worldwide, from the high-tech scene of Silicon Valley to Nairobi, Africa’s safari capital. They can immerse themselves in diverse cultures, learn from local experts, explore real-world challenges and opportunities while collaborating with community stakeholders to develop solutions.For further information on the Marine hub and SOWC initiatives, please contact: Executive Director of the School of Wildlife Conservation, Richard Vigne at: firstname.lastname@example.org