Building leadership skills in African organizations

“This is unlike anything I’ve experienced before in this field’ and ‘I wish I could have been part of something like the African Conservation Leadership Network (ACLN) ten years ago!”

Reported members of the 2018 ACLN cohort that met for the second time in Naivasha, Kenya in September 2018 for a week-long session to improve practical organizational leadership and management skills.

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Strengthening Partnerships in African Conservation: Kenya's Wildlife Conservancies Movement

The Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) and Maliasili, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) with support from the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) held a dialogue on Strengthening Partnerships within Kenya’s Wildlife Conservancies Movement, hosted by the African Wildlife Foundation in Nairobi on July 4, 2018. It explored partnerships between local actors and national as well as international partners. Read full article here.

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Nikita Lodhia
"Leadership is not only about [managing] people and goals, but individual awareness is key."

In May 2018, the second cohort began the programme at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, where seventeen leaders from nine African organisations working in Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia and Zambia. Facilitated by the Maliasili team, the first week laid the foundations for personal learning and leadership - delving deeply into self-awareness and the impact of personality on leadership style.

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The Founder’s Dilemma

Recently I listened to a conservationist tell the story of how he had founded a very successful conservation organization, only to be eventually fired by the board he had himself built up over the years. What had occurred was that his organization had established a strong track record of achievement and impact, and resulting growth in its funding, staff, and board. 

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LeadershipNikita Lodhia
Foundations of Fundraising

Organizations need money to run, which is why fundraising is one of the foremost challenges and priorities they face. While there isn’t a simple solution to fundraising – unfortunately, it’s always going to be a challenging part of the job – there are ways to approach it to be more effective, efficient, and successful.

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FundingNikita Lodhia
The Backbone of Strategy

Here we lay out a simple set of five questions that provide the backbone of any strategy or strategic plan. If an organization can answer these five questions clearly, it has a sound underlying strategy, even if it is not written down anywhere.

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StrategyJessie Davie
Why Goals Matter

As we frequently find ourselves emphasizing at Maliasili Initiatives throughout all our work with our partners, the single most important question any organization needs to answer is: What do we want to achieve? The key to answering this question, and in building the systems and plans to help an organization achieve its core purpose and mission, lies in setting good goals.

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Five Critical Questions for Every Organization

Organizations are both complex and simple. They are complex in that they are made up of different people, working together to solve difficult social problems that often operate at multiple scales and over long time horizons. Successful organizations tend to grow, which adds to the scope of work, level of resources, number of relationships that must be managed and so forth. Thus growth and success only increase an organization’s level of complexity.

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StrategyJessie Davie
9 Key Functions of an Effective Board

The Board of Directors sets the tone and direction of an organization, thus effective board leadership and governance is critical in helping to ensure that a civil society organization can operate to its fullest capacity. Creating an effective board is a continual process that includes recruitment, engagement and development, as well as striking a balance between providing oversight and support to the organization’s leadership.

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Revitalizing civil society support in the face of crisis and opportunity

Civil society organizations are under assault around the world. As recently described in The Guardian and by networks such as CIVICUS, the past several years have witnessed a surge in government efforts to restrict local organizations’ ability to operate or access external funds. At the same time, development aid often exacerbates constraints placed on civil society organizations by favoring short-term, restricted funding, curtailing investment in salaries and overheads, and imposing onerous reporting requirements.

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LeadershipJessie Davie
Hedgehog Strategy

We find that outstanding organizations, focused on results and achieving large-scale impact, also tend to be hedgehogs. A focus on solving a particular problem, and refining a specific methodology that produces consistent results, is in line with the ‘hedgehog concept.’ This kind of focus characterizes an organization like Lion Guardians, with its rigorous approach to resolving conflicts between people and lions, or Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative, which its replicable methods for community forest management.

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StrategyJessie Davie