Kinship Conservation Fellows officially kicked off its Fellows Summits series in North America at the IslandWood Learning Center (just outside of Seattle), from June 7-10 and followed up with a second Summit in Africa, from July 12-15. As part of Focus 2018, Summits provide Kinship Fellows a unique opportunity for the exchange of ideas and networking. Over the course of three days, Fellows take part in sessions on the innovative use of market-based tools, conservation finance and community engagement.
“What we’re trying to achieve in Focus 2018 is a reunion of our community. It’s been five years since the last focus year and a lot has changed,” said Nigel Asquith, program director and a 2005 Fellow. “The Fellows have new projects and new ideas, and the field of market-based conservation has changed. We want to start creating synergies across the Community to figure out how to bring all of these ideas together to scale their efforts.”
At Summits, Fellows are invited to showcase their current work, sharing their challenges and successes. Sessions explore best practices and future directions, with an emphasis on how to take conservation efforts to scale. But central to the Summits is the opportunity for Fellows to connect, to learn from each other and explore opportunities for future collaboration.
“Kinship is probably one of the largest Fellows communities in the world that’s focused on conservation professionals. I think that building out the human capital side of the conservation world is vastly important,” said Logan Yonavjak (2013). “And bringing concrete tools and a container for those Fellows to continue building relationships and sharing resources is incredibly valuable and a very unique proposition.”
North America Summit
In Africa, the feedback from Fellows was much the same. Kitty Brayne (2016) who is based in London works on community-based conservation in Madagascar. “I work with a couple of the Fellows who had already taken part in the Kinship Fellows program before me. I feel like we have a common language and common approach. We work in different organizations but on similar issues,” said Kitty. “Even though I already knew them, coming together again through this Summit has given us a whole new dynamic and enthusiasm to go away and do something together that we hope will change policy in Madagascar.”
A theme that will be examined at each of the Fellows Summits is the current state of market-based conservation: what’s working and how market solutions can be brought to scale. Kinship Conservation Fellows plans to gather and analyze the collective input from Fellows who attend the Summits and share insights about what is taking place in the field of market-based conservation.
“We have folks who have been Fellows for 15 years now, they have risen to the top of their field and are doing amazing things,” said Nigel. “How do we replicate that success? Kinship Fellows have shown the world how it can work. Now we need to help the rest of the world replicate that and do it a million times over.”
About Kinship Fellows Summits
Kinship Conservation Fellows has been developing and delivering training on market-based conservation since 2001. As of 2017, its flagship Fellows program has trained 264 conservationists around the world. Facilitating collaboration among Fellows is part of the Program's strategy to accelerate effective and lasting conservation impacts and includes organized events such as the Fellows Summits. In 2018, Fellows will participate in Summits in North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.