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. It will run each year for four years until 2022. Run online and face-to-face, participants will experience the power of working together in person, as well as continuing the learning online and remaining connected throughout the twelve months of the Academy.

Mam Francine Boro/Legma, Onatel SA (Burkina Fasso), Common Purpose Graduate

"I learn to move away from my comfort zone and be more open and collaborative with others, creatively, in order to make every idea successful."

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 a number of key elements:

  • Individual personal development through 360-degree feedback, coaching and mentoring.
  • 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 to meet a compelling challenge facing the conservation sector.

The approach is highly experiential – it will include exchanges with speakers 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
  • coaching - senior professionals will receive executive coaching
  • Capacity Building Fund - participants can apply for support to undertake further learning and development opportunities.

The first part of the Academy will focus on Leading Beyond Authority. Senior and young professionals will work together online, and then participate in separate face-to-face elements that will explore Leading Beyond Authority in practice.

The second part of the Academy will bring all the participants together. They will be guided through a process of innovation to develop ideas to meet a compelling challenge facing the conservation sector.

Senior professionals and young professionals will be ‘matched’ with someone from a different organization. The matched pairs will work together as mentor and mentee over the twelve months of the Academy. The senior professionals will receive mentor training at the start of this process.

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

  • Accelerator for teams/peers – this will provide participants with the tools to cascade the learning from the Academy within their teams and wider peer groups.
  • Translate online – this facilitated online session will enable participants to reflect on their experience, and consider how they will translate what they have learnt back into their organization/role. Line managers, coaches, or board members will join this session to explore what the key actions for both the individual participants and their organizations will be as a result of the Academy.

The senior and young professionals will take part in separate versions of these modules relevant to their career stage.

A short film that introduces MAVA Fondation pour la Nature, Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring.

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.”

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 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 analytical 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.
Ameer Sherif, Founder of Wuzzuf, Mowgli Entrepreneur, Egypt

“It was amazing to have a mentor who understands how I feel having been there before. I had a trusted friend and advisor whom I regularly got in touch with in the years to follow. Having the support of someone like him by my side gave me what I needed the most at the time: self-confidence and perseverance.”

Practical information

Application deadline

Applications to the 2018 Academy are now closed.

Applications to the 2019 Academy will be opened from December 2018 onwards.

Contact person:

Grace Owen, Senior Programme Director

What is the time commitment?

Online – four online modules totalling ten hours
Face-to-face – two four-day elements
Mentoring – two hours per month
Coaching – senior professionals will have two, ninety minute coaching sessions



The Academy will be delivered in English in 2018 and in French in 2019. All materials and online modules will be available in English and French from the start.

What is the cost?

There is no financial contribution required by participants who join the Academy. MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature is making a significant investment in the leaders who participate, and so it is expected, that applicants will commit to full attendance.

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 75,000 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 EMCC accredited mentoring programs across the Middle East, Africa and the UK. Through the delivery of over 100 mentoring programmes, over 1000 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 4 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.