ALERT's faculty led service-learning programmes offer your students the opportunity to combine academic theory with practical experience at our conservation and community projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills in real-life situations that will benefit their academic studies, professional profile, and personal growth.
ALERT’s responsible development approach to conservation means that we are multi-disciplinary in our work. The fields of natural, social and human sciences, education and the humanities, are all relevant in tackling conservation issues effectively. ALERT is well placed therefore to facilitate faculty led programmes that engage with any or all of these elements. Our tailor-made programmes provide your students with opportunities to work alongside our experienced professionals, and community members, transferring knowledge and skills gained in the classroom into real-world settings.
You will be fully supported by our team during your programme where challenging conditions and unpredictable situations offer unique applied experience that cannot be achieved within a classroom setting. By putting theory into practice, your students will gain a deeper understanding of their field of study, and increase their social awareness and civic commitment, while also enhancing their CV and ‘road-testing’ their future career.
For your university, integrating ALERT’s service-learning provision into the curriculum will foster a positive relationship between your faculty and our organisation, whilst providing a new outlet for research and publication.
Opportunities range from half-day visits, to longer-term residential courses that will allow your students to become fully immersed in our work.
As your service-learning experience will be aligned with your academic curriculum, each programme will be tailored according to your specific learning goals. However, here is a flavour of what your students could be involved in:
Research - Collecting field data, and applying fundamental research principles such as establishing reliability and validity of data, scientific question-asking of a body of data (hypothesis generation), hypothesis-testing, data coding, preparing data for analysis, descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, and scientific report writing. Students can be given the chance to practically use basic software analysis packages, such as QGIS, UCINET and SPSS/R, and apply statistical analyses to the field, facilitating understanding and importance of data in conservation.
Lion research can include behavioural ecology including pride dynamics, the development of hunting skills, mane assessment, playback studies, territorial defence, and social behaviour. Research also includes assessment of the welfare of the lions.
Opportunities also exist for other wildlife species research such as entomological and vegetation surveys and mapping (using GIS), hyena and elephant monitoring (including creation of ID kits, population distribution and behaviour), and lion/elephant conflict mitigation.
Our work also involves the assessment of community attitudes to lions, predators and conservation. Students can be given the opportunity to develop and use survey , interviewing and questionnaire techniques, qualitative methods of analysis, and assess the effectiveness of community programs developed as part of our responsible development approach to lion conservation.
Lion Husbandry – we can provide an opportunity to learn appropriate and high standards of care for captive lions; including feed preparation, creation and delivery of behaviour enrichment, health monitoring, basic veterinary assistance, and enclosure cleaning and maintenance.
Community Outreach - Our outreach programmes support those communities affected by conservation and offer incentives and benefits to protecting natural habitats. As part of this mission, students can help our team with designing and delivering educational programmes in local schools to provide teaching in English literacy and conservation education. This includes training in how to assess and address poor literacy levels in rural communities. We also deliver a basic life skills course to rural children through the provision of ‘Kids Club’. Kids Club focuses on key transferable skills for use in the home, education and workplace. The aim of this course is to empower rural children to improve their ability to participate fully in society. and to have improved access to education and employment opportunities. These courses also provide children with much needed respite from the harsh realities of living in deprived circumstances. Students can help in the delivering of this course and assessment of its impact on the communities it serves.
ALERT has facilitated faculty led service-learning programmes for a number of university and high school groups from around the world.
‘This program is the best of its kind. It gives people the opportunity to feel like they have made a positive impact on an overall worthwhile goal. I have gained experience in the area of animal husbandry and am keen to finish my veterinary degree, so that I can sink my teeth into wildlife health on a global scale.’ Holly Godden
‘This has been such a positive experience and it has been so valuable to be given the opportunity to see the life of the Zambian culture. Living in Africa has been the best experience of my life so far and it has changed how I perceive work ethic, daily life, education and other things that I take for granted back home. I have received a lot of insight into how research is undertaken and the difficulties that are faced every day. Also, I learned a lot about working as a team and also a lot about animal behaviour, which will be really valuable in my future.’ Kasey Sherwood
‘I feel this program is unique in the approach to conservation and research and I feel very lucky and proud to have been a part of it. The total hands-on experience I have gained is one I will carry with me for a lifetime. I have learned so much more about conservation and the bigger picture of conservation and this now will be influencing me in future studies.’ Sherri Davis
To discuss your faculty led service learning programme in Africa, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org