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Abstract

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) was founded in 1961. The mission of the organization has evolved over the years, however, contemporary operations focus on four objectives; wildlife conservation, land and habitat protection, community empowerment and economic development. (AWF, 2012).  AWF currently conducts work addressing these four areas in 15 countries within the continent of Africa. Until recently, AWF had not ventured into the education sector and while they do not currently own or operate schools of their own, the organization is hoping to develop some conservation and environmental education curriculum to help support their mission. AWF has also decided to construct schools of their own that they would staff and operate in various regions throughout the continent. This research project and paper were undertaken to help support these efforts.

A review of literature regarding drivers and barriers to successful development and implementation of environmental and conservation education curriculum was synthesized in order to inform AWF in this new endeavor. Live interviews were also conducted to obtain a more contemporary view from experts around the world. Nineteen live interviews were conducted in total. These interviews sought to obtain the opinions of experts in the field of environmental education, specifically relating conservation and environmental education in developing nations. Additionally, these interviews highlighted existing environmental and conservation education curricula that contemporary experts believe to be exemplary. Finally, these interviews sought any advice or guidance experts could provide to a project like this. Qualitative analyses of these interviews were conducted using Nvivo 10 software.

Our final discussion focuses on the literature review and interview analysis. Our recommendations to AWF are informed by all of the information reviewed throughout this process. The recommendations detailed here stem from the drivers and impediments identified by experts who have developed and/or implemented similar curricula in the developing world and/or African continent. These recommendations take into account our finding that the development of the curriculum materials are only one component to a much larger picture. As such, our recommendations emphasize teacher involvement, community involvement, local context of curriculum, a long-term view and local relevance as the major considerations in curriculum development and/or implementation.