Statement: ALERT partners with Copperbelt University
June 22 2015

ALERT Zambia and Copperbelt University’s School of Natural Resources (CBU, Kitwe, Zambia) are pleased to announce that the two organizations have formed a partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 17th June 2015 to cooperate in conservation research in Zambia.  Present at the signing was: Prof. Ngoma (the Vice Chancellor), Prof. Mbale (the Director of Research), Mrs Kabwe (Director of External Relations) and Dr Vinya (Head of Department for Plant & Environmental Sciences) from Copperbelt University, also in attendance was David Youldon, Director and Executive Committee Member from the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust.

For five years now, ALERT has offered fully-funded internships to students of the University to support local capacity building for conservation in Zambia.  The new MoU will increase cooperation between the parties in a number of ways.

ALERT is facilitating links between CBU and Coventry University (UK) – the university of ALERT’s Director of Research, Dr. Jackie Abell – that will include lecturer exchanges; the first of which will take place later in 2015 when CBU’s Professor Jacob Mwitwa visits Coventry for a month.  ALERT is also facilitating a collaboration between CBU, Coventry University and Midlands State University (Gweru, Zimbabwe) to improve the provision of conservation education programmes in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Over the coming months ALERT and CBU will develop a variety of conservation research programs to assist the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and the Forestry Department in their roles to protect and manage the country’s natural resources.  These programs will also include further linkages with both national and international academic institutions.  Discussions are already underway to link ALERT, CBU, ZAWA and a university in the USA to undertake research on an important conservation issue for the Livingstone area. 

The first research to be implemented under this MoU, and starting this week, is a carbon dynamic monitoring program of the Dambwa Local Forest No. 22, where ALERT currently operates the Dambwa Lion Release Site as part of the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program; itself a collaboration between local communities, ALERT, ZAWA and the Forestry Department.  The monitoring program, supervised by Dr. Royd Vinya of CBU, and operated with the assistance of Lion Encounter Zambia, seeks to contribute to knowledge of the status and trends of forests in Zambia, with the ultimate aim of providing information to the Forestry Department to assist development of area-specific forest management strategies.  The Dambwa Forest was gazetted as a protected forest area in 1976 as a source of wood for timber, fuel and other forest products for the Livingstone community.  A Joint Forest Management program was established in 2002 to deepen democracy in management of forest resources between the Zambian government and the local communities. 

Both ALERT and CBU are eager to continue our cooperation to help ensure that Zambia’s people are able to enjoy and benefit from the nation’s natural resources into the future.

Copperbelt University was established in 1987 and is located in Kitwe in the north of Zambia.  The university is organised into eight schools; engineering, mathematics and natural sciences, business, built environment, graduate studies, medicine, mines and mineral sciences, and the school of natural resources.  http://www.cbu.edu.zm/

ALERT – The African Lion & Environmental Research Trust is a charity registered in the UK, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe that is dedicated to a multi-disciplinary approach for the facilitation and promotion of sound conservation and management plans for the African lion (Panthera leo) and the ecosystems on which the species relies.  Through responsible development we aim to realize the species’ potential to provide substantial social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits, that are distributed equitably amongst stakeholders to promote sustainable motivation in them for the protection of Africa’s natural heritage. http://lionalert.org/

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