African Raptor Leadership Grant

African Raptor Leadership Grant

Goal: To forward conservation of African raptors by increasing the number of raptor champions in Africa by 30% over the next 10 years by providing education and mentorship opportunities to residents of African countries.

Need: Africa’s raptor populations have been declining at alarming rates. Their major threats are all human-caused, most importantly habitat destruction, but also persecution, electrocution, poisoning, and overharvesting for belief-based use; all of which will strongly increase with a near doubling of the human population by 2050. Collectively, our decades of work to protect Africa’s raptors has shown us how profound the lack of knowledge about these birds and their threats is across the continent. Importantly, there is scarcely any local capacity to study, monitor or address threats to raptors throughout much of the continent.


1) Provide financial support to new MSc or Honours students to cover the costs associated with their research projects carried out to fulfill a degree at either: 1) A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), Nigeria, 2) University of Cape Town’s FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, or 3) Université Ibn Tofail, Morocco. The research component should be primarily focused on African raptors and/or one of their following threats: belief-based use, illegal trade, poisoning, persecution, habitat loss, and electrocution or collision with wind turbines. Research should be undertaken in the recipient’s home country. Costs covered may include tuition, university room & board, associated travel, and research expenses.

2) Building capacity of one in-country university or non-university student advisor by providing the opportunity to collaborate with an established mentor (as appropriate). In addition to a university advisor(s), each student awardee (Objective 1) will be required to have a local in-country mentor whenever possible, who can also be financially supported by the grant to allow training and networking for the mentor. Training activities may include holding multi-day skill-building workshops (e.g., statistics, project methodology, GIS) for university and/or local mentors, field-based visits to individual projects, or multi-day sessions to improve raptor identification or capture/tagging skills. Specific topics and training to be decided based on the capacity needs of the country(s) where the research will be conducted.

To summarize: grants would be awarded to local African students carrying out raptor research dissertations as part of their degrees and an appropriate local mentor, to allow more ambitious and relevant research projects by the student and to facilitate better and more reliable mentoring respectively.

Eligibility criteria

Prior university acceptance to an MSc or Honours programme at one of the three universities mentioned above. If full acceptance on the course is not possible at the time of application, then proof of application for the course, an indication that you meet the eligibility requirements, and a letter of support from a prospective supervisor and/or course convenor is required.

Note: Only students to apply. This grant does not provide direct support to mentors.

Selection criteria

1) Potential for applicant to become a champion for African raptors

2) Potential of the project to improve conservation outcomes for African raptors

3) Technical merit of the proposal

4) Potential of your proposed supervisors to act as good mentors and scientific advisors on your project

Desirable criteria:

1) Proposals to work in countries/regions with little previous raptor work

2) Proposals from individuals in under-represented groups

Grant recipient responsibilities:

1) Send photo for promotional use by RRF or any supporting organization

2) Submission of a 1-2 page mid-project report. To be sent 6 months after receiving the grant, or mid-way through the research project.

3) Submission of a 3-5 page report of grant activities, to be received within 3 months after the project’s end

4) Submit project-end financial reporting detailing all expenditures

To apply:

Send the following:

1) Applicant’s CV

2) Proof of acceptance to one of the three eligible universities listed above. Or proof of application for the course, and an indication that you meet the eligibility requirements.

3) Research Proposal of 3-5 pages that includes:

● Describe the conservation issue your project addresses

● Study objectives and methods

● Expected impacts (describe the potential conservation outcomes of your project and how those outcomes may come about)

● Literature cited (<1 page)

● Budget detailing how funds will be spent

4) Name, institution and contact information of your in-country and academic student advisor

5) Two letters of support from 1) your student advisor or prospective advisor, and 2) another professional familiar with your work and capabilities, particularly as it may relate to African raptors or other wildlife species

6) A list of other funding sources applied for or received

7) A statement responding to the following:

● Describe how your past experiences have primed you for African raptor leadership

● Describe the mentoring you wish to access alongside your project and how this will help empower your African raptor leadership

Application materials may be submitted in English or French

Award amount: up to $10,000 each

Number of awards per year: 2 (note, only one award may be given in 2023)

Deadline: 30 April

Application method: Apply online through April 30th. Please contact with questions about your application. The online application opens in January each year.

This grant is a collaboration among the following institutions:
Raptor Research Foundation

Past Winners

2023Joan Fadzai Banda