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Protected Areas Management in Africa


About This Course

Protected Areas Management is a course about areas dedicated to nature conservation, "protected areas", in Africa. It focuses on how they work and why they are so important in maintaining the health of the environment in a fast developing world, and in particular, in Africa. It will help you understand the challenges of conservation in Africa and how protected areas can help to deal with it, from the local to the international level.

This course is composed of 7 thematic modules (key concepts, planning, governance, management effectiveness, specificities of management, financing, and topical issues) that inculde videos (introduction, 5 themes, one video on a convention related to PA and a conclusion), readings, training quizzes (optional) and exams (one per week - compulsory for the certificates).

The entire course and access to exams, lectures, and exercises is completely free.

In order to follow the course properly, you should expect to invest about 5 hours per week/module.

A forum will be set up from the beginning of the course to collect questions, comments, criticisms and suggestions. The MOOC also a Facebook group in which all participants can exchange:


Whether you are a novice or professional conservationist you can follow this MOOC and decide how deep (optional readings, etc) and fast (5h per week for 7 weeks is only indicative, you may take more or less time according to your experience) you want or need to go.

Course Staff

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Geoffroy Mauvais

Geoffroy Mauvais is a veterinarian specialized in the development and management of protected areas in Africa. He has been coordinating the Program on African Protected Areas & Conservation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Papaco) since 2006. After 6 years in Ouagadougou and 3 in Nairobi, he is now based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Papaco's objective is to improve the governance and management of the continent's protected areas, in order to contribute to better conservation of biodiversity. It is therefore aimed both at preserving species and at maintaining ecosystems and all their functions. It also focuses on the sustainable use of this biodiversity, when it strengthens conservation and is possible to achieve in a sustainable manner. Therefore, it seeks to promote a reasonable use of natural resources adressing the best balance between conservation and valorisation, and a fair distribution of benefits, whatever they may be, at the local level, national level or further. To achieve this, Papaco works primarily on sites and networks assessments, technical support and information for managers, and training of staff and partners in parks and reserves. He joined EPFL in the course of 2015 to develop MOOC programs and other scientific activities in this area.

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Paul NDiaye

Paul N Diaye - Senegalese, born in 1949. He is a geographer, teaching at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar since 1981 where he is head of the laboratory and head of the Department of Geography. He studied to become a geographer at Cheikh Anta Diop University where he achieved his Bachelor of Geography in 1974, Masters in 1976, and Postgraduate Diploma in Geography in 1981. He obtained his Diploma of Advanced Studies in Tropical Botany in Montpellier (USTL) in 1977. In parallel to his academic work at UCAD, from 1980 to 1989, he was a teacher/consultant at the CPU-FAPIS with a postgraduate course for training in Integrated Pastoral Management in the Sahel. In 1986, he worked on the green belt project in Nouakchott (Mauritania) producing maps and developing proposals. From 1988 to 1989, he worked as a consultant/editor for the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation (Senegal) on the prospective study "Senegal 2015". From 1991 to 1992, he worked for the Ministry of Woman, Child and Family on "Woman and Environment in Senegal, 1960-1990". He also realized the Senegal NGOs' Report to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development "(UNCED) for the Earth Summit in June 1992. From 1994-2001 he was Coordinator of the Research Program (Program "Senegal Oriental"), UCAD -ORSTOM - ISRA -DPNS - SODEFITEX SNGE. Since 2005, he has also been a team consultant for various environmental impact studies for the Tropical Environmental Consultants group. In the field of conservation, he has been engaged as a consultant for numerous studies on the Niokolo Koba Park, but also on the Popemguine Nature Reserve. He has a lot of experience in the field of evaluation: Mid-term evaluation of the "Parks Projects and the Upper Gambia Project" in Guinea for the European Development Fund (EDF) in 1996; External evaluation of the Program "Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of Guinea Bissau", 1997; Mid-Term Review of the Regional Program for Coastal and Marine Conservation in West Africa (PRCM) in 2006. Paul N Diaye is a member of the Group of Reflection and Scientific Support of Protected Areas of Senegal (GRAST), leader of the national park of Niokolo Koba.

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Sylvie Goyet

Sylvie Goyet is currently the Director of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change at SPC (Noumea, New Caledonia). From 2006 to the end of 2014, she held the position of Director General of FIBA - - International Foundation of Banc d'Arguin, a private Swiss foundation working for the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems in West Africa. Her previous professional experience led her to coordinate the UNOPS/UNDP MedWetCoast project and to work with WWF International, the UNDP Black Sea project, UNEP Caspian Sea, and UNDP Fiji. Sylvie is a graduate of the University of Texas in Finance (MBA), the Lyon School of Management, and the University of London (Msc in Environmental Management). In addition to her program and environmental management skills, Sylvie has gained particular expertise in the field of conservation funding, accompanying the establishment of trust funds for conservation, and being heavily involved in the Conservation Finance Alliance.

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Paul Ouédraogo

Burkinabe, Paul Ouédraogo has a broad knowledge of environmental issues and has good experience in protected area and forest management and wetland conservation. Field scientist, teacher, and practitioner he worked for several years at the National Center for Scientific and Technological Research (CNRST) in Burkina Faso, and at the University of Ouagadougou (ENSK). He was the Executive Director of Naturama, a national NGO in the late 1990s. Following this, he became the Principal Technical Adviser of the IUCN/PEGEI Project at the National Center for the Management of Wildlife Reserves (CENAGREF) in Benin. From 2005 to 2007, he served as IUCN Coordinating Consultant for the Wildlife Corridor Component between Burkina Faso and Ghana for the Wildlife Project entitled "Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project - GEF P067685-LEN-BBGEF" Division of Ghana. In 2007, Dr Ouédraogo became the Senior Technical Adviser of the Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems Project (IMCE GEF P070700) in Rwanda. With technical support, the Rwandan government has developed legal instruments, technical, and institutional tools for Rwandan wetland governance. Dr. Ouédraogo teaches at the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), the Senghor University of Alexandria (Egypt), and the Graduate Institute of Geneva (Switzerland). He is a member of the EAA Technical Advisory Committee, a member of the Tiger Initiative Steering Committee of the European Space Agency, and a member of the Steering Committee of the UNEP Global Wastewater Initiative. Paul Ouédraogo is currently the Principal Adviser for Africa at the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention in Switzerland.

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