University level multidisciplinary programs that facilitate learning about climate change challenges to biodiversity and ecosystem services are relatively scarce in the Albertine Rift region of Africa – a biodiversity hotspot that is increasingly under threat from natural and human-induced drivers of change. To fulfill this need, START, in partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), offers Master’s level courses and externships for regional conservation practitioners, researchers and university faculty. While course modules foster interactive learning about climate change implications for biodiversity and human well being, follow-on externships enable the application of this knowledge to field research assessments, thereby adding to the emerging understanding of climate change and conservation in the region. A separate training session for participating university faculty, supplemented by access to online course modules, equips the educators with resources and tools to incorporate program related learning into conservation curricula at their own universities. Two rounds of the courses and externships have been offered to date, in 2008 and 2010 respectively. The program’s curriculum has also been formally integrated into the University of Dar es Salaam’s Master’s program in Natural Resource Assessment and Management.
Moreover, the effort has networked the University of Dar es Salaam with other regional universities and institutions, offering enhanced opportunities for sustained collaboration, knowledge sharing and communication. A regional Stakeholder Dialogue convened in 2011 facilitated interactive discussions among participating scientists, practitioners and policy-makers and underscored the urgent need for: a) continued capacity building; b) support for climate risk assessments; c) regional cooperation on good practices; d) awareness building at all levels; and e) improved communication between communities of science, policy and practice.
The MacArthur Foundation provides funding support for this program.
For more information, contact Senay Habtezion, email@example.com
Last Updated on January 15th, 2013