Conservation Academy Manager

at African Parks
Published June 28, 2024
Location Kigali, Rwanda
Category Management  
Job Type Full Time  


African Parks and the School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) are in search of a Manager to lead a pioneering Conservation Academy. The mission of the Academy is to develop Africa’s future conservation talent. We are seeking an individual who has a profound committed to this mission, who is passionate about conservation and capacity development, as well as having an entrepreneurial mindset and a robust background in project management.

● African Parks (AP) African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. Founded in 2000, AP currently manages 22 national parks and protected areas across 12 countries, covering 20 million hectares. AP’s objective is to ensure that these protected areas are managed in a holistic way, enabling them to become ecologically, socio-politically and financially sustainable.
● The School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) operates under the African Leadership University and is situated on the ALU campus in Kigali, Rwanda. Founded in 2016, its mission is to provide a platform for approaching conservation through the lenses of entrepreneurship and innovation. By redefining conservation as a multidisciplinary field that includes conservation sciences, business, and governance, SOWC aims to attract talent from diverse sectors, fostering innovation and collaboration.

Recognizing the growing demand for skilled professionals in protected area management within the conservation sector, and the insufficient current training infrastructure in Africa (market research has revealed that existing institutions offer training that is either excessively lengthy, costly, or overly theoretical), AP and SOWC have joined forces to create a Conservation Academy.

This Academy represents an exciting initiative that will establish a new benchmark for conservation education and training. It will ensure that individuals receive comprehensive training covering all aspects of protected area management through practical and holistic courses. Located in Rwanda, it will leverage the conservation successes of Akagera National Park, and draw upon the extensive operational experience gained by African Parks and other key partners over the past two decades. The Academy will ensure the highest standards in professional training and will have its own campus, which will be exemplary in terms of eco-development.
The Academy will serve the broader conservation sector, aiming to strengthen global expertise in protected area management and nurture local talent.

1. Purpose
The Academy Manager will be responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of the Academy in order to ensure its efficient development, timely construction, operation, growth and success. This role involves strategic and operational planning, staff and faculty management, student development, and program enhancement.
The Academy Manager will report to the Executive Director of the SOWC. Oversight of the management of the Academy and the fulfilment of its purpose will be ensured by the Academy Board, which will have representation from both African Parks and SOWC.

2. Key Responsibilities
Project development
● With the support of AP and Akagera management team, oversee the design and construction process of the Academy.
● Ensure all legal, administrative and construction requirements for such a facility are met.
● Hire and manage a project team.
● Working closely with SOWC, oversee course content development for Park Managers (PM) and Park Management Unit (PMU) staff trainings.
● Working closely with AP and SOWC, plan and implement one pilot course for PM and PMU staff.

● Inaugurate the Academy campus in 2025 and roll-out training offer thereafter

Academic program management

● Working with SOWC and AP, oversee the development, scheduling and implementation of courses specifically designed to meet the long-term training needs of African Parks.

● Working with SOWC, ensure that all faculty needs are met in a timely and high-quality fashion, making use of the African Leadership University (ALU) affiliate faculty pool whenever required.

● Working with SOWC, monitor curriculum quality and course delivery, making recommendations for improvements as required.

● Working with SOWC, ensure compliance with relevant educational standards and regulations, including in-country and international accreditation agencies wherever relevant.

● Develop a relationship of mutual support with the management of Akagera National Park to maximise immersive “learning through doing” opportunities within the Park.

● Working with SOWC and other institutions, support the scheduling and implementation of courses delivered by third parties.

Student administration and oversight
● Working with SOWC and AP, and using ALU platforms, develop and oversee the procedures for student admissions, registration, progress tracking and final certification.

● Working with AP and SOWC, assist in the identification of prospective trainees across partner institutions and the conservation sector at large.

● Implement strategies to enhance student engagement and success by creating a conducive learning environment.

● With the support of ALU Student Life, continuously address student concerns and provide support services as needed.

Financial management

● Manage the Academy's budget, which is to be approved by the Academy Board.

● Through oversight of the Financial Manager, monitor expenses, revenue, and financial performance.

● Consistently seek opportunities for funding and cost-saving measures across all aspects of the Academy operations.

Operational management

● Ensure high quality management of the Academy in terms of its ability to accommodate students and faculty and provide facilities to deliver an excellent educational experience.

● Ensure that areas of risk are continuously assessed and mitigated where necessary.

● Create Standard Operating Procedures and policies wherever applicable in an education setting, and ensure their implementation thereof.

3. Experience and Qualifications
● Deeply passionate about developing and mentoring future conservation talent in Africa.

● Solid experience and understanding of conservation – a minimum of 10 years, with a track record of at least 5 years in senior managerial roles is expected for this role.

● Demonstrated experience in business management.

● Demonstrated experience in capacity building; experience in professional education is a significant plus.

● Demonstrated experience in project management and a proven ability to build and lead teams.

● Passion for people, with strong interpersonal, communication and engagement skills.

● A passion for Africa, its people and its biodiversity.

● Strong entrepreneurial mindset.

● Very versatile: strategic thinker with a hands-on operational approach.

● Rigorous and organised.

● Proficient in English and ideally fluent in either French or Portuguese.

Please send a cover letter and full CV

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