||Effective conservation education has the ability to improve educational opportunities
and expand environmental support in places where it is implemented. The African Wildlife
Foundation (AWF) was founded in 1961 to promote wildlife conservation, land and habitat
protection, community empowerment, and economic development across Africa (AWF, 2012).
Until recently, AWF had not ventured into the formal education realm and, while they
do not currently own or operate schools of their own, the organization is working
to develop conservation education curricula to help support its mission. AWF will
construct new schools and improve the infrastructure of existing schools to create
effective learning environments for conservation topics. This study seeks to provide
AWF with expert opinions and related curricular developments to help support their
efforts at improving conservation education in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A review of relevant literature focusing on the successful development and implementation
of conservation education curricula was conducted and analyzed. Live interviews were
conducted to obtain views from conservation education experts around the world. Nineteen
interviews were conducted in total. These interviews provide expert opinions on environmental
education, particularly conservation, in developing nations. Additionally, these
interviews highlight existing environmental and conservation education curricula that
contemporary experts identify as exemplary, and they include advice and guidance from
experts within the education field. Qualitative analyses of these interviews were
conducted using NVivo 10 software.
Recommendations to AWF were developed based on the information reviewed throughout
this process. The research shows that an emphasis on teacher capacity, community
involvement, local context of curriculum, long-term project goals, and local relevance
must be given significant consideration during curriculum development and implementation
in order to maximize the probability of success.