Wildlife and ecology expert, Edson Gandiwa, believes developing the capacity of youth to tackle conservation challenges is the key to unlocking Africa’s potential.
“It is important have young people with a positive attitude towards contributing to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country,” he says.
A professor in the School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), Gandiwa was selected as a 2014 Washington Fellow, part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, and will join 29 other Zimbabweans as part of a contingent of 500 youth from across the African continent.
He will spend six weeks in a rigorous academic program at Wagner College (New York), where he hopes to learn about leadership in environmental related issues.
“On my return to Zimbabwe, I hope to enhance my contribution to the training of young students in conservation leadership and capacity building of stakeholders involved in natural resources conservation based on experiences from the program,” says Gandiwa.
He says he is honored to be part of the Washington Fellowship, which he sees as an “opportunity to expand knowledge and collaborate with other young leaders through networking and learning from each other’s diverse experiences.”
Edson has published over 50 research articles in international and regional peer-reviewed scientific journals and conference proceedings. His current research interests include: community based natural resource management, wildlife conservation, population ecology, media framing of wildlife conservation and plant ecology.
Edson is a 2004 graduate of the National University of Science of Technology (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) in Environmental Science and Health.
He also earned a Master’s degree in Tropical Resource Ecology from the University of Zimbabwe (2007). In 2013, he earned a Doctorate degree in Wildlife Conservation at Wageningen University in The Netherlands.
In March this year, he was appointed Executive Dean of the School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation at the Chinhoyi University of Technology based in Mashonaland West.
His career has included assignments as a Wildlife Ecologist for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority based in Gonarezhou National Park, Chiredzi as well as working as a Project Assistant Officer for Christian Care, Zimbabwe.