Request Proposal

Ecology and Conservation in Kenya | 2023

Study AbroadStudy Abroad Kenya

Overview & Dates

This program is split between Brackenhurst, an eco-campus in Limuru, and the Pardamat Conservation Area in Maasai Mara. The course acquaints students with some of the threats to wildlife and biodiversity in East Africa while exposing them to certain local communities that are paving the way to important solutions. 

Global climate change phenomena, population growth, and increasing human-wildlife conflict are some of the challenges and threats to wildlife populations we are facing all over the world. These necessitate a re-examination of how we can help protect and preserve some of the world’s most important and diverse ecosystems. This program importantly probes students’ pragmatic problem solving and field-based skills. In turn and in line with EDU Africa’s Transformative Learning philosophy, the program will encourage and

facilitate students’ holistic growth (in fields of intercultural competence, professional development, global citizenship, personal growth, and intellectual growth) during their time abroad.

Program Dates

28 days, Date: 2 – 29 July 2023

Registration Deadline: 15 May 2023

Key Study Topics

  • Forestry and agroforestry
  • Ecological restoration and monitoring techniques
  • Indigenous vegetation and biodiversity
  • Ethnobotany, traditional knowledge systems and their uses in conservation
  • Tree nursery management (species identification/propagation)
  • Wetlands health and ecosystems services
  • Community-based conservation vs. state protection
  • Wildlife monitoring/research practices (including transect game counts, camera trap grid design/maintenance, mammal identification techniques)
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Nomadic pastoralism, rotational grazing, and grassland management

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this program, students should be able to:

  • Contextualize their knowledge of historical and current threats to tropical wetlands, forests, and African savanna ecosystems
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key terms, theories, and concepts related to East African wetlands, forest, and savanna ecologies
  • Hone professional skills by demonstrating the use of appropriate evaluative techniques in wetland plant and animal investigation
  • Develop cross-cultural understanding through studying the impact of culture and context on conservation in East Africa
  • Demonstrate critical insights into community-based conservation, incentivizing conservation, and restoring damaged ecosystems
  • Reflect on personal growth, challenges, and experiences during their time abroad through dedicated journal and reflection practices

Location

Brackenhurst is approximately 40 kilometers north of Nairobi and is set in a safe and peaceful environment among the rolling hills of Limuru, an area famous for its tea fields. Students will be accommodated on-site at Brackenhurst Learning Center. Brackenhurst is home to one of the largest collections of indigenous plant species in East Africa, with over 1 000 tree and shrub species, many of which are endangered or thought to be extinct within their original distribution zones. It’s also an ideal base from which students can explore the surrounding Kenyan wetlands.

The Maasai Mara conservancies were established under the rationale of conserving the environment and its wildlife alongside a mandate to protect, empower, and improve the livelihood of the local Maasai communities. These conservancies provide an ideal location to study ecology, human influences on the savanna, and community-based conservation in East Africa.

In the Maasai Mara, students will be accommodated at the newly-developed educational and research hub in the Pardamat Conservation Area – The Wildlife Tourism College of the Maasai Mara. Most of the fieldwork will be based within Pardamat, a dynamic dual-use conservation area, with occasional visits to a neighboring conservancy as well as the renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Pre-requisites

A background in environmental science, conservation biology, agroecology, horticulture, development studies, wildlife studies, or related subjects is ideal (entering level 200 and above). Participants need to be culturally aware and open-minded to thrive in this program. All lectures and tutorials are conducted in English; hence a good command of the English language is essential.

Eligibility Requirements

Students participating in this program should be aware of and be prepared for the following: 

  • Producing a certificate of full and up-to-date (i.e., including booster shot where eligible) vaccination against COVID-19 before being allowed to enter Kenya
  • Signing and adhering to the policies outlined in EDU Africa’s Participant Agreement, which include COVID-19 Protocols 
  • Obtaining travel insurance (compulsory) before travel that should include adequate cover for baggage, curtailment, and provision for any forms of COVID-19 related disruptions to travel 
  • Obtaining medical insurance (compulsory) before travel that should cover any potential medical expenses and the cost of repatriation should participants become too ill to participate, including helicopter rescue and air ambulance services, as well as cover for any forms of medical expenses that may be incurred due to COVID-19 related illness 
  • Walking long distances (i.e. about 5km) over rough and/or muddy terrain during fieldwork exercises
  • Traveling on bumpy roads (gravel and tarred)
  • Exposure to sun and wind during fieldwork
  • Living in a setting away from reliable internet (during your time in Maasai Mara)
  • Managing dietary needs with limited available options in the Maasai Mara
  • Possessing an awareness that participation in the program might evoke a level of stress, anxiety, and discomfort
  • Working collaboratively in teams

Program Accessibility

We are committed to providing an inclusive and accessible learning environment for all our program participants. Specific needs for disabilities and/or different functionalities should please be communicated to us during the program preparation phase so that they can be assessed, and wherever possible, the appropriate arrangements may be made to accommodate them ahead of time.

Academic Credit

We do not currently offer independent credit for this program. However, students are encouraged to contact us so that we supply the required documentation if their participating professors can assist in applying for credit through their home institution. We provide a certificate of completion and a grade report on the successful completion of the program, but we do not provide an official credit-bearing transcript.

Coordinator

Lincoln Njiru

Lincoln was born and raised in central Kenya where he developed a passion for all things nature early in life. Pursuing this early passion seemed the obvious thing to do and so, he went on to study and graduate from Egerton University, Kenya with a Bachelor of Sciences in Natural Resource Management. The years that followed saw him work in one of Botswana’s game reserves before leaving to pursue further studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal where he obtained a Masters’ degree in Environment and Development.

Thereafter, he returned to Kenya to work in the Maasai Mara where he was involved with wildlife conservation programs for a number of years before transitioning to endangered species conservation, with a specific focus on rhino conservation. Lincoln is passionate about biodiversity and conservation, especially conservation initiatives that have a community focus and can contribute to the betterment thereof.

Lecturers

Prof. Stewart Thompson

Stewart is a Professor of Biodiversity Conservation and has led the Spatial Ecology and Landuse Unit in Biological & Medical Sciences at Oxford Brookes for over 20 years. He has a particular interest in how threatened species use landscapes in response to policy and management initiatives. Much of his current work surrounds understanding herbivore population changes and movement patterns in protected areas. For the last decade he has been working on projects in the Masai Mara investigating herbivore response to the creation of wildlife conservancies and assessing aspects of eco-tourism impacts to wildlife.

Dr. Sharon Kahara

Dr Sharon Kahara is an Assistant Professor in the Biology and Environmental Science Department at the University of New Haven, Connecticut in the United States of America, and her home country is Kenya. She holds a Ph.D. from South Dakota State University and specializes in wetland ecosystem functioning in natural and modified landscapes, as well as wetland wildlife use. Her past research activities include evaluating the impacts of urbanization on aquatic systems in developing countries and investigating the effects of climate and human activities on wetland ecosystem service delivery.

Program Cost

Total 4-week Course Cost: $5105

Inclusions:

  • Lectures and lecture facilities
  • LMS username and functionalities
  • All field trip excursions
  • Conservation fees
  • Course-related stationery and some texts
  • The room and board fees cover the following program components:
    • All accommodation during the entire program period
    • All meals for the entire program period
    • All transport related directly to the program
  • Emergency air evacuation cover during the time in the Mara (AMREF)

Additional Costs (not accounted for above):

  • International airfare to Nairobi
  • Visa expenses (vary per country of origin)
  • Immunizations (requirements vary per country of origin)
  • Recommended reading
  • Personal health & travel insurance (including comprehensive cover for any potential COVID-19-related costs, e.g. testing, quarantine, medication, or hospitalization)
  • Optional activities

Discretionary Expenses

Individual interests and extra-curricular activities determine how much extra each student needs to budget for their stay in Kenya. Incidental expenses, as well as any non-program-related travel costs, are the responsibility of each student. Optional activities in Nairobi National Park, Karura Forest, Gatamaiyu Forest, and Hell’s Gate National Park are also at the discretion of the student.

Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, EDU Africa reserves the right to change its fees or add additional expenses as necessary.

Application Process

Apply here: Student Application Form

  • The application deadline is 30 March 2023. Earlier applications are encouraged as there are limited placements available.
  • You will be contacted within 7 working days of submitting an application to set up an interview as the second stage of the process.
  • The final determination will be communicated to you no later than April 15, 2023.
  • A 10% deposit will be due on confirmation of acceptance.

Student Testimonials

Student Blog Post: My Study Abroad in Kenya experience

Student Reflection Essay: A Student Journey of Transformation

QUIP Recognized

The Forum on Education Abroad recognizes EDU Africa Kenya for meeting the field’s Standards of Good Practice. All our Kenya programs have successfully completed The Forum’s Quality Improvement Program (QUIP) and earned QUIP recognition.


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