The African Wildlife Foundation together with Africa Alliance of the YMCA, World Scouts Movement, and WWF consortium seeks to recognize and nurture top the 100 Young African Conservation Leaders (YACL) whose work promise to leave a lasting impression in the African conservation landscape. In 2020, the Consortium invited youth networks and conservation organizations to nominate young people under the age of 35 who are actively involved over the last three years in impactful conservation work at community, national, or international levels in Africa. A total of 565 nominations were received but 134 were repeat nominations, where nominees were nominated twice or more by different organizations. Thus, the consultants received 134 nominations. Following the first analysis of the 431 nominations received, the team presented to the judges the top 130 nominees for further assessment and analysis to trim down to the top 100 Young African Conservation Leaders.
Agriculture & Food Security
This category is concerned with smart farming and irrigation methods in common and unique spaces such as rooftop farming. It is also concerned with access to food, addressing unsustainable agriculture practices and food production methods.
This category covers alternative energy sources, transition to clean energy, and energy access for all. In particular, the category encompasses all forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency mechanisms.
Forests & Land Restoration
This category covers submissions focused on tree planting at the primary level to research on forests, state of the forest and biodiversity monitoring, and restoration of degraded forest ecosystems and landscapes. It also covers governance and management of protected forest areas and initiatives around forest access and resource benefit sharing.
This category is concerned with enhancing marine biodiversity conservation, curbing marine pollution, and working with artisanal fisher folks to manage fisheries better. It also includes work on the sustainable seafood industry.
Research, Education & Awareness
This category covers all the submissions focused on environment and conservation education. It works around litigation, journalism, arts, and sports to influence change in the behavior of humans’ interaction with the environment. It also covers education and outreach programs in protected areas such as forest nature reserves, and national parks. Awareness and advocacy encompass a diverse range of issues, from advocating for the plastic ban (manufacturing and use within countries) to indigenous people’s rights to access land or natural resources in protected areas to petitioning the duty bearers to protect the people and the environment.
This category covers initiatives focused on tackling land pollution through waste recycling and recovery, circular economy, and addressing plastic menace issues.
This category covers all work related to wildlife research and monitoring, wildlife habitat protection, wildlife species conservation and repopulation, and human-wildlife interactions. This category is also concerned with sustainable tourism, especially in the biodiversity hotspots ecosystems. It further covers initiatives working on combating illegal wildlife trade, state of wildlife monitoring, and anti-poaching initiatives. Connected to this category are the rangeland management and restoration of grasslands ecosystems and the establishment of community-managed Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).