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Africa Practitioners Network

In West and Central Africa, agricultural and forest commodity production are rapidly expanding and there is growing interest in making production more environmentally and socially responsible.

Capacity development is essential in many countries to address a widespread lack of practical understanding and experience of interpreting, implementing and auditing sustainability measures and to deliver this transition to responsible production.

What does the programme do?

The Africa Practitioners Network aims to strengthen capacity in a way that will last. To do this it:

  • Delivers training courses with partners, building on existing good practice.
  • Provides opportunities for learning through practical experience, where participants engage in field work with expert mentors.
  • Works in partnership with organisations to build their capacity to provide training.
  • Prioritises support for institutions and individuals that demonstrate commitment to the natural resources sustainability sector.
  • Builds a network able to train and mentor practitioners to a high standard.

The Africa Practitioners Network focuses on strengthening participants’ capacity to understand, implement and monitor sustainability initiatives including certification (e.g. FSC, RSPO), regional principles (e.g. TFA) and legality agreements (e.g. FLEGT/VPA).

What has the programme achieved?

Highlights of the Africa Practitioners Network by 2016 include:

  • On-the-job mentoring of 76 practitioners, including 29 independent assessors (FSC, RSPO and HCV); and 47 NGO actors in FLEGT/VPA.
  • More than 200 practitioners trained from seven countries.
  • Twenty-two training courses delivered on RSPO, FSC, HCV and FLEGT/VPA.
  • Partnered with five training partners, three government agencies and nine producer companies and industry associations
  • Certification bodies now use Africa Practitioners Network alumni to conduct RSPO and FSC audits in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria.
  • Developed a practical guide for mentoring sustainability practitioners. This will support organisations that wish to make mentoring part of their capacity development strategy, as well as key actors in the mentoring process.

Implementation and funding partners

Our major implementation partners include: Rainforest Alliance, Cameroon Forest Certification Initiative, WWF-Cameroon; plus nine host producer companies in three countries that provide mentoring opportunities.

Core activities and coordination are supported by the UK Department for International Development. In-kind support or co-finance are provided by host companies and Rainforest Alliance.

Contact programme manager

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