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Also, this year, six young conservationists working in South America, Africa, and Asia received a scholarship from the KfW Foundation to attend the Frankfurt Spring School 2020. The scholars came with proposals for their own conservation projects. Three of them will return with funding from the KfW Foundation to implement their projects back in their home country. Throughout the Spring School already they developed these proposals with the help of their fellow Spring School participants further. Now, even though the Spring School had to be ended earlier due to the Corona Virus Situation, the six KfW Foundation Scholars continued working on their proposals back home in their countries under quarantine and will present them next week online to a jury.

Read on to find out how each of our scholars is planning to contribute to conservation in their home country:


Reducing human-wildlife conflict and enhancing co-existence in the Serengeti Ecosystem, Tanzania.

Edmund Tobico

The project aims to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and allow for the co-existence of wildlife and communities surrounding the Serengeti National Park. Conflict between wildlife and farmers is common in these areas as wildlife leave the boundaries of the park and feed on livestock and crops and cause damage to farmers‘ property. In retaliation for the economic loss experienced by farmers, wildlife is often killed. The project will create harmony between wildlife and local communities by building more effective, environmentally-friendly livestock fences. The project will also collect data for an existing human-wildlife conflict database that can be used to predict and prepare for future conflicts, and by supporting alternative and sustainable forms of income to farming.


Plastic waste clean-up in Con Dao marine protected areas, Vietnam.

Binh Vuong

The project aims to reduce plastic pollution and improve marine habitat quality off Con Dao island. Litter from tourist and fishing boats, and plastic waste input into the sea from the island, are degrading marine habitats. Con Dao‘s plastic waste management systems are inadequate at combating the level of plastic pollution. The project will implement a campaign to increase awareness of marine plastic pollution. A clean-up of Con Dao‘s marine protected areas will be undertaken and include the removal of plastics, coral and mangrove planting, and routine monitoring of the area. Finally, the project will research and implement solutions to improve Con Dao‘s waste management systems, including finding solutions to waste separation, composting, and the transfer of waste to the mainland.


The Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) conservation: an opportunity for sustainable co-management between native communities and Yaguas National Park, Peru.

Monica Paredes 

The project aims to establish and support community-led conservation initiatives for the Amazonian manatee alongside authorities of Yaguas National Park. The Amazonian manatee is Vulnerable to extinction with threats including hunting, habitat degradation by illegal mining and logging, ingestion of plastic pollutants, and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. The project will implement environmental education to raise awareness of the species in local communities. The project will also continue to support biological monitoring of the species to inform conservation management. Insights gained from the data include the identification of manatee feeding sites and estimations of population size.

© Andreas Bartchi


Protecting southeastern waters of Semporna, Malaysia, from IUU fishing through community livelihood improvement.

Fadzliee Asmat

The project aims at protecting the waters of Mabul island from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Fishing is an important source of food and income for Mabul island‘s Bajau Suluk indigenous community. Non-native fishermen, however, are threatening the balance of the marine ecosystem through unsustainable and illegal fishing methods, including fish bombing and shark finning. This in turn is affecting the livelihood of the Bajau Suluk community through reduced abundance and quality of fish. The project will develop community-led initiatives to manage marine resources and combat IUU fishing. These community-led initiatives include establishing a monitoring programme for IUU activities, supporting sustainable fishing practices, and improving the storage of fish caught by Bajau Suluk people.


Implementation of the best monitoring and mitigation methods of human-wildlife conflict in two villages of Mukungule Game Management Area, Zambia.

Francis Mapenga

The project aims to reduce human-wildlife conflict in two villages surrounding the North Luangwa National Park. Here, the increasing elephant population is a predominant source of conflict, with elephants leaving the park and feeding on crops and causing damage to property. The project will implement a sustainable human-wildlife conflict mitigation and monitoring system, train farmers in mitigation measures, and establish the costs associated with conflict. Additionally, the project will support the establishment of alternative and sustainable forms of income. The project will act as a pilot scheme that can be used to mitigate conflict in other villages around the NLNP.


Strengthening conservation processes of Rio Negro National Park, Paraguay.

Patricia Roche

The project aims to conserve ecosystem services and biodiversity of the Pantanal through effective management of Rio Negro National Park (RNNP). The Pantanal is the world‘s largest tropical wetland and spans across Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. RNNP is located within this expansive, incredibly biodiverse wetland area, yet the Park lacks any physical presence of government authorities. Additionally, land tenure conflicts, cattle ranching, wildfires, and weak relationships between park authorities and local communities threaten the Park‘s conservation goals. The project will improve the relationships of communities and park authorities by engaging and empowering local communities with RNNP conservation activities. The project will also secure the permanent presence of rangers in the park and raise public awareness of the importance of the Pantanal and RNNP.

© Gianfranco Mancusi – WWF Paraguay


We wish all of our scholars best of luck with their proposals and look forward to their presentations!

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It‘s that time of year again – The Frankfurt Spring School on Conservation Project Management (FSS) returns on Monday! We can‘t believe that it‘s been a year since we welcomed 30 young conservationists to Frankfurt. The first of this year‘s participants are already here. Meet Francis Mapenga from FZS Zambia, Monica Paredes from FZS Peru, and Edmund Tobico from FZS Tanzania. Hattie Hayeck, Communications Intern, and Corinna Van Cayzeele, European Projects’ Communications Assistant, asked them what they are most looking forward to about FSS.

Hattie: Welcome to Frankfurt! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Francis: “I‘m the Senior Community Conservation Officer for FZS‘ North Luangwa Ecosystem Project. I assist the Technical Advisor in supervising project staff and working with the local communities in protecting the North Luangwa National Park.”

Monica: “I work in Yaguas National Park, trying to protect and conserve this huge area of the Amazon Rainforest. Here, there is a lot of biodiversity, but also many of threats, including governmental conflict, logging, illegal mining, and the historical unsustainable use of the Park‘s resources.”

Edmund: “I work as a GIS and Monitoring Officer for FZS‘ Serengeti Ecosystem Management Project. The project focuses on enabling communities to benefit from the wildlife around them. We support local communities with setting aside designated areas of land for conservation, and help develop community conservation banks that provide loans to local people to start sustainable businesses.”

Corinna: What are you most looking forward to about FSS?

Francis: “Since I’m the second-in-command of my project, project management is very important to me. FSS will develop my project management skills and teach me how to manage a project on my own.”

Monica: “I am excited about developing my abilities and skills so that, when I go back to Peru, I can apply all my knowledge to better protect the area and enhance the lives of people in the local communities.”

Edmund: “FSS is important for me as it‘s all about understanding conservation project management concepts like log frame development, report writing, monitoring, and evaluations. If I can understand these concepts, and apply them back home, I can help improve the efficiency of our project. The FSS is also very important in developing my project concept. Afterwards, I hope to make a difference in conservation back home.”

Thank you very much for your time. Now enjoy Frankfurt and have a great time here at the Spring School.

Organizing the Frankfurt Spring School is a lot of work: setting up the programme and booking trainers are only the most obvious tasks to take care of. Several people are involved, spending hundreds of hours, to get the Spring School running. For the past three years, a core team with representatives from the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the Goethe University and the KfW Foundation organized the Frankfurt Spring School beside their day-to-day jobs. Now, this has changed. Thanks to the Metzler Foundation, the Frankfurt Zoological Society was able to employ for the first time a coordinator for the Frankfurt Spring School 2020 – Stephanie Kalberer.

Since the beginning of her studies in biology in Switzerland,  she has participated in many research and conservation projects worldwide – from Northern Germany to South Africa, Western Australia to Galápagos. Additionally, Stephanie has gained ten years of management experience: at a university, in a biotech company and as a student management consultant. This spring she attended the Frankfurt Spring School herself and was part of the social-media team contributing blog content during that time.

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In this post, she answered a couple of questions for us (for the interview in German done by the Metzler Foundation click here):

You have already worked on Galápagos in a nature conservation project – why did you attend the Frankfurt Spring School?

My PhD thesis on “Life History Strategies and Population Dynamics in Galápagos Sea Lions” at the University of Bielefeld in collaboration with the Galápagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation was linked to a research project on Galápagos. The goal was to facilitate future decisions in nature conservation management in Galápagos. My first field season in Galápagos was adventurous: our research material had been lost somewhere on the journey and arrived only three days later, and living with three assistants on an island the size of two soccer fields also brought some complications along. More experience in strategic planning, in dealing with employees as well as in communications and public relations would have made my start a lot smoother. Of course, I’ve learned a lot over the years – learning by doing – but on some topics it helps if you get tips and tricks from experts beforehand. Today, I know how important it is to be able to write good project applications, have strategic development and business plans, and handle finances and budgets appropriately.

What did you expect from this course and what was your highlight?

The four weeks were some of the best and most instructive in my entire academic career – it was inspiring, hands-on and I got insights that I wish I had received years ago. There were many highlights. The welcome speech by the FZS Director Dr. Christof Schenck was impressive. He showed very clearly that we have to act now, if we want to leave a livable planet for the next generation. The project planning training with Martin Davies and Nick Folkard was also remarkable. Being trained by people who have already raised millions in conservation funding around the world is very helpful. On top of theoretical knowledge we always had a direct link to real projects: six early career conservationists from across the globe participated in the Spring School as well. Besides attending the course, they developed a funding proposal for a conservation project in their home countries. Having had these international scholars of the KfW Foundation was very useful and something that I will continue to benefit from in the future. Workshops on social skills and leadership have given me new insights, which I was able to implement immediately after the Spring School in my research on Galápagos. Last but not least, during the four weeks, friendships and a network were created that I would not want to do without anymore. All this has made the Spring School to what it was – unique four weeks that I would like to experience again.

Why did you apply for the position of the Spring School Coordinator? On which aspects do you want  to focus?

After this year’s Spring School, I was inspired, motivated, and grateful that I was able to spend such an instructive time with such great people. Now, I want to make sure that other future conservation project leaders can make the same great experience. I fully support the concept and want to continue and further improve the Spring School. As an alumnus I am also interested in building a Spring School alumni network that will grow each year. A strong professional network is essential for successful nature conservation – together we can always achieve more than alone.

Thus, I am really looking forward to the Frankfurt Spring School 2020 and to meet the new generation of nature conservationists. Don´t hesitate to drop an email at info@frankfurtspringschool.de if you have any questions – I am always happy to help!

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Already for the fourth time, the Frankfurt Spring School on Conservation Project Management will take place at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main in spring 2020. Don´t miss your opportunity to participate in Germany’s unique crash course for conservationists from 24 February to 20 March 2020! In four intensive weeks, experienced international experts will train you in conservation project management, human resources and personnel management, financial management, performance skills and organisational development. Besides the interactive workshops at the Goethe University, the programme includes also an excursion to the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park for a first-hand experience of wilderness conservation and a “Speed-Dating” event where you can network with conservation veterans and your Spring School fellows.

Over the last three years, over 90 motivated early career conservationists from across the globe came together to improve their knowledge and skills to successfully manage the world’s conservation challenges. Do you have a passion for conservation, a strong work ethic and the drive to improve? Then, the Frankfurt Spring School is just the place for you.

Click here to learn how to apply! Application deadline is 1 November 2019.

For six international KfW Foundation Spring School scholars from Brazil, DR Congo, Guyana, Indonesia, Tanzania and Zambia the end of Spring School was only the beginning. Already during the four weeks on conservation project management training those six were busy designing and structuring their own “dream project” on paper. Day by day the conservationists developed, reviewed and refined their project proposals until they were ready to be submitted to the KfW Foundation.

Two weeks after the Spring School, finally, the scholars presented their dream conservation project to the KfW Foundation Selection Panel. Representatives of the KfW Foundation, Goethe University, WWF, FZS as well as an external consultant put the project proposals to the acid test and drilled the scholars with questions.

All six of them did a great job and their passionate as well as professional presentations did not make the panel’s decision any easier.

Eventually, however, after hours of discussion, a decision was made. We are happy to announce that the following three proposals were selected to receive funding from the KfW Foundation and will be implemented by the Spring School scholars:

Regina-Domonko_projectLivelihood improvements in the wildlife corridor villages, Tanganyika District, Tanzania by Regina Domonko

 

Andhani-Widya-projectImprovement of monitoring and evaluation standards of reintroduced sumatran orangutan in the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape, Indonesia by Andhani Hartanti

 

Carolina-Siqueira-projectSustainable use of socio-biodiversity in the Brazilian Savanna, Cerrado, Brazil by Carolina Siqueira

 

 

Congratulations to Regina, Andhani and Carolina and best of luck for the implementation of your projects!

 

We’re sure that the suitcases of all scholars and also all the other Spring School participants are full of newly acquired know-how and skills for the management of nature conservation projects.

We wish all participants the very best for their future!

P.S.: The photo in the top images shows the six KfW Foundation scholars together with the members of this year’s Selection Committee (from left to right: Bernd Siegfried, Regina Domonko, Hervé Kimoni, Issah Mulilo, Andhani Hartanti, Dr. Tobias Garstecki, Dr. Christof Schenck, Christine Mentzel, Joachim Gottschalk, Pia Puljanic, Dr. Thomas Müller, Timothy Babb and Carolina Siqueira). © KfW Foundation/Ruben Armbruster

A glass frog, (Hyalinobatrachium crurifasciatum) seen near the Jordan Falls in Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, Guyana. © Daniel Rosengren

Today, this year’s KfW Foundation scholars pitch their project proposals. Good luck to all of them. A lot of hard work went into the project proposals before, during and after the four weeks of Spring School. While we await the decision on this year’s winners, you can test yourself: Which of the projects matches your conservation interests the most?

Our quiz has five questions. Make sure to note down the number of the answer you selected for each question. That will be essential for the outcome of the game!

 

A. Which challenge in nature conservation interests you the most?
1. Conversion of natural habitat for agriculture.
2. Deforestation as a result of illegal mining.
3. Endangered species suffering from habitat loss.
4. Endangered species threatened by poaching.
5. Human rights violations.
6. Deforestation due to population growth.

 

B. Which component in nature conservation is important to you?
1. Promoting sustainable agriculture and forest management in local communities.
2. Monitoring forest cover to detect illegal deforestation.
3. Re-introduction of endangered species.
4. Monitoring wildlife.
5. Assuring human rights and law enforcement.
6. Assuring sustainable livelihoods of local communities and connectivity between habitats.

 

C. What’s your favourite species?
1. Maned wolf – is it a fox? Is it a wolf? Neither!
2. Jaguar – gotta love big cats.
3. Orangutan of course!
4. Can’t really decide between black rhinos or elephants – both are awesome.
5. Bonobo and elephants.
6. Chimpanzees – our closest relatives!

 

D. Which tools and methods would you like to apply while working in a conservation project?
1. Smart strategies to promote sustainable local products and collaborations between communities.
2. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“drones”) and maps.
3. Telemetry and behavioural observations.
4. Camera traps and habitat assessments.
5. New communication mechanisms with the local community.
6. Beekeeping, microfinance and wildlife corridors.

 

E. In which country would you like to work in the field of nature conservation?
1. Brazil.
2. Guyana.
3. Indonesia.
4. Zambia.
5. Congo.
6. Tanzania.

 

Did you remember to write down the number of each answer? Have a look to see which number you selected the most. This indicates which project from this year’s KfW Foundation scholars suits you best:

Project 1: Sustainable use of socio-biodiversity in the Brazilian Savanna, Cerrado, Brazil by Carolina Siqueira

Project 2: Using Fixed-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) to enhance the monitoring activities across Guyana’s National Protected Areas System, Guyana by Timothy Babb

Project 3: Improvement of monitoring and evaluation standards of reintroduced sumatran orangutan in the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape, Indonesia by Andhani Hartanti

Project 4: Assessing the impacts of the increasing elephant population on the rhino sanctuary in North Luangwa National Park, Zambia by Issah Mulilo

Project 5: Support for the implementation of the complaints management mechanism against abuses by eco-guards of the Salonga National Park, DR Congo by Hervé Kimoni

Project 6: Livelihood improvements in the wildlife corridor villages, Tanganyika District, Tanzania by Regina Domonko

 

Authors: Dafna Gilad and Vera Pfannerstill.

P.S.: The frog in the top image is a glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium crurifasciatum), photographed near the Jordan Falls in Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, Guyana by Daniel Rosengren.