Identification of Protected Areas who will benefit

Published: 14 November 2015
Last edited: 01 April 2019

ESN provides training and mentoring to protected area managers to build organisational management skills, thereby supporting management effectiveness.


Each year, six African protected areas each nominate three representatives who will benefit from the input of business planning guidance, personal skills development and support for the duration of one year. Protected areas are selected through a competitive application process. ESN is open to UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including sites on the tentative list), IUCN natural protected areas, protected area agencies, management authorities, local governments and NGOs with management remit. The programme is targeted at protected area managers who are in positions of responsibility that allow them to instigate management and planning changes, and who have the support of their senior management.


To ensure the programme is effective in driving organisational change, ESN works with protected areas that demonstrate a clear need for training in organisational, management and business skills. For sites that have severe challenges (i.e. lack of political support, severe lack of resources or security issues), enhancing these skills may not have a discernible impact.


Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Management planning
Sustainable financing
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

Effective outreach to protected areas in Africa, with a focus on site managers, management authorities and related government departments. Full commitment from members of staff, including senior management, to implementing organisational changes identified through the ESN process. Ongoing access by the protected area managers to communications systems (telephone and internet). Ability of staff to join training where the primary language is English.

Lessons learned

Earthwatch invests significant resources into a robust application, interview and selection process to ensure that the enabling factors are in place. Identifying protected areas which need the training, have the resources to fully take part, and have the right level of senior buy-in is a huge determinant of the long-term impacts and success of mentor-mentee relationships.