Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring kick off the face to face component of the MAVA funded Leaders for Nature Academy

MAVA Leader for Nature Academy

The program is transformative, powerful, and has forever changed the way I will relate to people.” 
Clive Poultney. Mentor, MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy, Southern African Wildlife College.

Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with the MAVA Foundation and Common Purpose to launch the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy, a program aimed at driving growth, sustainability and impact within the conservation sector in order to develop a strong conservation community that will take up the mantle and carry forward MAVA’s mandate in future.

The MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy aims to equip the participants to lead more effectively within and beyond their organizations by capacity-building the participants’ abilities to:

  • Lead beyond authority
  • Stretch their analytical and creative skills
  • Grow new networks
  • Develop greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation
  • Experience the power and potential of mentoring which supports long-term personal and professional growth

The program takes a highly experiential and innovative approach that incorporates blended learning within the program delivery with both online and face-to-face components incorporated into the academy’s syllabus.

Photo credit: Thibaut Branquart, Grand Nord Films

The academy which had already begun its online component through an online accelerator program, kicked off the face-to-face component in high gear in July 2018 in Amman, Jordan. The face-to-face session brought together 15 senior and 15 young professionals from Africa, Europe and the Middle East who formed cohort 1 of this 4- year programme.

The 4-day session was co-created by leadership development experts Common Purpose who are working to develop cross-boundary and intergenerational leaders who can lead beyond authority with Mowgli facilitating the mentoring component.

Here are some key facts on the Nature for Leaders Academy cohort 1 participants:

  • 70% came from Europe, 23% from Africa, and 7% from the Middle East
  • 80% of the senior leaders are men and 20% women whilst in the junior leaders pool we have a ratio of 60% women and 40% men
  • The leaders represent the following sectors: Biodiversity conservation, education, policy, marine conservation, wetland conservation small-scale fisheries, waste reduction, sustainable infrastructure and environmental protection.
Photo credit: Thibaut Branquart, Grand Nord Films

Throughout the 4 days, the conservation leaders attended immersion visits interacting with various leaders and organisations tackling youth empowerment and leadership causes, renewable energy and others. Mowgli Mentor Samar Dudin who is CEO of Ruwwad inspired the group by sharing her leadership journey. The participants also visited the Ajlun Forest Reserve where they interacted with reserve rangers as they explored the eco lodge, Wild Jordan Centre, and the Royal Academy for Nature Conservation where they were hosted by General Director Yehya Khaled who shared the academy’s financial and sustainability model. The senior and young professionals also got an opportunity to meet Hazem Malhas, Founder of Al Hima and former Environment Minister who shared insights about leading in the environment sector and leaving a legacy. These learning visits sought to practically expose the senior and young professionals to the Leading Beyond Authority (LBA) model and expand their view of what is possible, what is being done and inspire them to think more creatively about how to take their own activities forward to create greater impact.

Photo credit: Thibaut Branquart, Grand Nord Films

To support and embed the leadership development and sectoral learning, Mowgli Facilitators trained and capacity built 15 senior business professionals from across the regions as 360 degree mentors, to equip them to support both the professional and personal development of the mentee’s life, before matching them with 15 young professionals from another organisation and region, in one-to-one relationships. Each matched pairing is now being supported through an 8-month structured mentoring support process to enable them to set the foundations for a long term, trust based mentoring relationship.

“Enter as strangers, leave as friends. Each leader has his/her own path. We all need to be honest and look deep inside though.”
Vicky Barboka. Mentee, MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Greece

So what’s next for the leaders and the academy?

Firstly, we are gearing up for the next online accelerator, followed by another face to face workshop in November in London where we will run a mentoring refresher session, and the participants will engage in Common Purposes’ unique Innoventure Program.

Secondly, we are getting ready to launch the recruitment phase for the second ‘French speaking’ cohort later this year.

Stay tuned for more news on the pioneering Leaders for Nature Academy and the participating change-makers working to make a difference within the conservation sector.

I would like to once again thank you and the entire teams of Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring for the professionally prepared and conducted training. It has been a very valuable experience and I am sure it will have an impact on my leadership. The combination of Leading Beyond Authority and mentoring has been very exciting and both approaches very connected in a very harmonic way. I didn’t have the feeling that these are two somehow connected modules, but everything has been integrated.”
Gabriel Schwaderer, Mentor — MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy, EuroNatur Foundation

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