MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy

MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy is a leadership development programme for professionals from partner organizations of the MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature. It brings together two generations of leaders – senior and young professionals.

Building a strong conservation community has always been core to MAVA's approach. Leaders that can carry on and multiply efficient and innovative initiatives, long after MAVA's closing, are a key component of this community.

The Academy aims to develop leaders who can bring about positive change both within and across partner organizations to increase their sustainability and impact.

Launched online, participants will experience the power of working together in person, as well as continuing the learning online and remaining connected throughout the Academy year. Starting in 2018, the Academy will run each year until 2022, up to the foundation’s closure.

Konstantinos Perikleous, Young Professional, Terra Cypria

"The most unexpected journey, to become the best version of yourself. Priceless training for a leader indeed!"

How does it work?

The thought leadership guiding the Academy is ‘Leading Beyond Authority’. People who can Lead Beyond Authority work with peers, partners and other stakeholders to produce change beyond their direct circle of control.

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The Academy combines the following key elements:

  • Leadership development customized for both senior and young professionals, which means that participants are able to work with and learn from colleagues at a similar stage in their career
  • Inter-generational exchange and collaboration to generate innovative ideas

The approach is highly experiential – it will include exchanges with contributors from different sectors and visits to organizations to explore leadership in practice.

Each participant will have opportunities for individual personal development through:

  • 360 feedback – a questionnaire based on Leading Beyond Authority will be completed at the beginning and end of the Academy and debriefed with a professional coach
  • Coaching – senior professionals will receive one-to-one development with a professional coach
  • Leadership Development Fund – on becoming an alumnus, participants can apply to undertake further learning and development opportunities

The Academy will focus on Leading Beyond Authority. Senior and young professionals will work together online, and then participate in a face-to-face event that will explore Leading Beyond Authority in practice.

The Academy will then bring all the participants together for a second face-to-face event, where they will be guided through a process of innovation to develop ideas to meet a compelling challenge facing the nature conservation sector.

Senior professionals and young professionals will be ‘matched’ with someone from a different organization by Mowgli Mentoring, who use a tried and tested method. The matched pairs will work together as mentor and mentee during the Academy year. The senior professionals will receive mentor training at the start of this process.

Mentors support their mentees in developing and working on their goals, both personal and professional. The benefits for mentors can include developing their active listening and communication skills, as well as becoming more empathetic and self-aware. For mentees, the benefits can include increases in confidence, a clearer idea of the direction of their career and improved leadership skills. The focus is on the relationship, and Mowgli supports each pair throughout the Academy year.   

In order to help participants to reflect on what they have learnt from the Academy, we have included the following online modules:

  • Sharing learning – this will provide participants with the tools to cascade the learning from the Academy within their teams and wider peer groups
  • Maximizing impact – this facilitated online session will enable participants to reflect on their experience, and consider how they will sustain their learning and translate this back into their organization/role

Why should you apply? Here is a short film about the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy. You will hear from some of the 2018 participants who share their experiences.

André Hoffmann, MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature

"Effective leadership in the conservation sector is essential if we are to protect biodiversity for the benefit of people and nature. This investment in our partners will build capacity and capability, both for the individuals who take part and for their organizations. We have chosen to work with Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring as leaders in their respective fields.”

Read the latest news about the MAVA Academy

Who is it for?

MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy is intended for senior and young professionals from all MAVA direct and sub-contracting partners, meaning any organization that receives directly or via sub-contracting funds from MAVA to implement their work.

One senior and one young professional must apply together as a ‘duo’ – they should be from the same organization. There can be more than one application per organization.

We are seeking highly motivated individuals who show commitment to bring about positive change, and who can demonstrate their leadership potential and/or capability.

Senior and young professionals do not need to be on the same team or have a direct management relationship. Applicants will also require:

  • Senior professionals – more than ten years of work experience
  • Young professionals – less than ten years of work experience

Why take part?

This Academy will equip the participants to lead more effectively within and beyond their organizations. Participants will:

  • Enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority – increasing their ability to lead and collaborate across boundaries
  • Stretch their problem-solving and creative skills – by being exposed to a new approach to innovation
  • Grow new networks – by connecting with diverse participants, contributors and speakers
  • Explore how to apply what they have learned to their own leadership and in their organization
  • Develop greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation
  • Experience the power and potential of mentoring which supports long term personal and professional growth
Joan Marc Simon, Senior Professional, Zero Waste Europe

"I didn't know what to expect from mentoring only six months ago, but I'm very happy that I 'trusted the process', for it helped me detect and develop skills that are very necessary for my professional and personal development."

Practical information

Upcoming application phase

Applications for the 2020–2021 English-speaking Academy will open in October 2020.

What is the time commitment?

  • 360 degree assessment – debriefing with a professional coach up to one hour
  • Online – modules totalling 10 to 12 hours
  • Cohort gathering – two 4.5 day events
  • Mentoring – two to three hours per month, following the first face-to-face event
  • Coaching – senior professionals will have three, 90-minute coaching sessions


The main language of the Academy alternates for each cohort. This third cohort will be in English. All materials will be available in English and French.

What is the cost?

MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature is making a significant investment in the leaders who join the Academy. Once accepted to join the Academy, each participant will be given a budget for travel and subsistence costs. These costs will be reimbursed when the expense procedure is completed accurately. If this budget is exceeded, participants will have to cover the additional costs. 

Common Purpose 

Common Purpose is a leadership development organization that specializes in cross-boundary leadership. A not-for-profit, we run programmes in over 100 cities worldwide. Founded in 1989, we have over 85,000 alumni globally. Our leadership development programmes inspire and equip people to work across boundaries. This enables them to solve complex problems in organizations and in society.

Mowgli Mentoring 

Mowgli Mentoring is a not-for-profit organization which runs mentoring programmes accredited by the European Mentoring & Coaching Council across the Middle East, Africa and the UK. Through the delivery of over 100 mentoring programmes, over 1,000 professionals have been trained to support entrepreneurs, corporate employees, women and youth across all sectors.

MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature

MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature is a family-led, Swiss-based philanthropic foundation with an exclusive focus on the conservation of biodiversity. MAVA is active in four programmes: Mediterranean Basin, Coastal West Africa, Sustainable Economy and Switzerland. With these programmes, it supports around 200 partners for a total annual budget of 70 million CHF. MAVA Foundation is implementing its last strategic cycle 2016-2022, meaning that it will phase out its funding to all partners by 2022.