CSF's First Virtual International Course Is A Huge Success
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Conservation Strategy Fund held its first-ever virtual and online training for our flagship international course: Economics and Finance for Environmental Leadership. With 57 participants from 29 different countries, the CSF training team worked tirelessly to transition our in-person course into a virtual learning format and provide an exceptional educational experience for participants from all over the world.
Overall, the course was a huge success and provided a unique learning experience for our participants, professors, and even our CSF staff, as we learned to navigate the new online learning environment for future CSF courses! Rating the overall value of the course at 4.7 out of 5, our course respondents were extremely satisfied with the virtual format and content, and 86% said they would highly recommend our course to other colleagues interested in the intersection of conservation and economics.
In addition, our 2020 course alumni are already using what they’ve learned in the field by applying economic tools and concepts to their work. “I'm starting a job as a Project Monitor and Evaluation Specialist related to environmental crimes,” said one participant. “This knowledge will be very useful when I get to participate in interdisciplinary discussions about conservation.”
Charles Karangwa, a 2020 course alum from Rwanda and Regional Coordinator with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), says he is also eager to start using economic analysis in his restoration work. “I’ve already had six countries request support with the implementation of forest landscape restoration initiatives,” he explains. “One of the key deliverables is financial and economic analysis.” Because of this course, Karangwa says he now feels better able to conduct opportunity assessments to support these types of projects.
Yet, even without any immediate projects to support, alumni are grateful for the knowledge of how economics can better inform conservation efforts worldwide. “I feel more prepared to do environmental impact studies, and assess the value of all the ecosystem services that nature gives us,” says Milagros Estrada, an alum from Peru, who currently works as a Foresight Specialist with the National Center for Strategic Planning (CEPLAN). “I am looking forward to developing environmental impact projects in the future.”
Looking forward, the CSF training team is excited to see what our 2020 cohort will accomplish. “We had a terrific group of engaged and motivated participants,” says Training Director and lead Course Facilitator Kim Bonine. “I hope that this course was a transformative experience for them, and I look forward to seeing how they use their new knowledge and skills to increase the impact of their important work for people and nature.”