Discover opportunities to become an effective and impactful nature conservation leader

MAVA is committed to ensuring the sustainability of biodiversity conservation actions and the existence of a vibrant movement of actors. Securing the continuity and quality of actions means in particular to identify and support individuals gifted with courage, passion, focus, energy, and vision who will carry on and multiply innovative initiatives long after MAVA’s closing. Moreover, the rapid pace of environmental and societal change demands unconventional thinking and cross-sector collaboration.

Taking into consideration these needs and the MAVA conviction of the importance of leadership development and personal growth, the foundation supports several leadership programmes for a total budget of 9 million euros impacting 400 participants up to 2022. Below, we present the programmes supported: MPhil in Conservation Leadership – University of Cambridge, MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy – Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring, and School of Wildlife Conservation – African Leadership University (ALU).

These programmes will help our partners to become more effective and impactful leaders. From young to senior professionals, from new or experienced persons in the nature conservation sector, from few weeks up to 3 years commitment, from full time to part-time training, these programmes offer a wide range of great leadership development opportunities following our partner’s needs and time availability.


  Implementing partners

  Next date for applications

  Eligible countries

  Total number of participants supported by MAVA

  When MAVA support started


Description: The MPhil is a full-time, 11-month, Masters course. The taught elements of the course offer: (i) inter-disciplinarity across the social and biological sciences; (ii) integration with management and leadership skills; and (iii) an emphasis on practice through engagement with conservation professionals.

For whom: graduates of any discipline with leadership potential and at least 3 to 5 years of relevant experience (either in employment or in a voluntary capacity).

  University of Cambridge & Cambridge Conservation Initiative (several university departments and conservation organisations)

  Applications for session beginning October 2021 will start in September 2020. Deadline for applications for October 2020 is up to 3 December 2019. Apply here.

  All countries

  179 students (around 20 people / year) since 2010

  Supported since 2019

For more information, please contact


Description: An English and French speaking intergenerational leadership development programme which explores and teaches the concept of Leading Beyond Authority, mentoring and innovation for effective leadership. The Academy is over one year with 2 face-to-face events – each of 4.5 days-  and 2-3 hours / month. This programme has been specifically designed for MAVA partners.

For whom: for both senior and young professionals (less than 10 years of working experience) of all MAVA direct and sub-contracted partners, meaning a organizations that receive funds directly from MAVA or via a sub-contract.

  Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring

  Recruitment for the final English speaking cohort will open on 7 April 2020 – Last recruitment

  West Africa (from Sierra Leone to Mauritania including Cabo Verde), Mediterranean Basin, Switzerland and European countries linked to our Sustainable Economy programme

  120 leaders (60 junior professionals and 60 senior professionals) up to 2022

  Supported since 2018

For more information, please contact Reem Assil



1. Conservation MBA at the ALU School of Business (ALUSB) in Rwanda

This MBA combines ALU’s rigorous 20-month degree programme with a specialisation in conservation leadership. It aims to develop management, leadership, business skills and advocacy skills of senior practitioners for African conservation. This specialisation includes distance-learning modules and a field based module covering the following topics: Business & Biodiversity, Conservation Governance & Management, Conservation Markets & Finance, Conservation Policy & Strategy, and Conservation in Practice.

2. Bachelor of Arts in Global Challenges, Conservation focus at ALU in Rwanda

This undergraduate degree is a 3-year program. Students learn the fundamentals of conservation, develop key skills in leadership, critical thinking, data analysis, project-management, problem-solving, and collaboration. They spend 4 months each year participating in a conservation internship, and for their last 2 years, they conduct research and identify solutions to key conservation challenges they are passionate about.

3. Conservation Leadership Xcelerator (ALX) in Senegal (to be opened in 2020)

It is a 6-month, part-time leadership programme focused on Sefl, People, Commercial and Strategic leadership as well as problem solving. It turns managers into high impact leaders and empowers them to fast track their growth. Xcelerator participants are taken through a six-phase module over 12 days of in-person intensives.

For whom:

  • Conservation MBA : mid-career professionals with a minimum of 5 years work experience required (for information, the average number of work experience years of conservation MBA students is currently 11). People working in conservation or who would like to enter conservation.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Global Challenges, Conservation focus : student / young conservation leader. Criteria of eligibility here.
  • ALX : emerging conservation leaders / Middle manager

  African Leadership University (ALU)

•  Recruitment for October 2020 Conservation MBA will start in April 2020. See here for updates. Applicants for the Conservation MBA must first gain into the classic MBA and then they can apply for the conservation programme.
•  Final recruitment deadline for the Bachelor of Arts, conservation focus is 12 June 2020 (there are several rounds of recruitment up to June 2020). Apply here.
•  ALX Senegal:  To be launched in July 2020. See here for updates.

  All African countries. MAVA supports and sponsors candidates from West Africa (from Sierra Leone to Mauritania including Cabo Verde)

  •  Conservation MBA: 12 West African up to 2022
•  Bachelor of Arts, conservation focus: 30 West African up to 2022
•  ALX: 60 West African up to 2022 (20 persons/year)

  Supported since 2019

For more information, please contact

If you would like to receive information about MAVA leadership development support opportunities, you can subscribe to our “leadership development opportunities mailing list”. To do so, please send an email to :

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