Applications open today for the exciting Southern Africa Biodiversity Partners Program (BiPP), which is delivered by Campus Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency [AFD]) in partnership with the South African-based Sustainability Institute. The BiPP is an innovative seven-month learning programme that aims to support successful applicants in refining their pro-nature businesses or projects. Applications are open to entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (those working in existing organisations) in Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe that have existing businesses or projects focused on preserving and enhancing biodiversity in the region. AFD believes that with the right support, pro-nature projects can develop into sustainable businesses that improve the lives of people, while also protecting ecosystems.
The 25 successful applicants will participate in a phased-learning programme that enables a deeper understanding of biodiversity issues with modules related to deep ecology, complexity and systems thinking and indigenous knowledge systems – and to refining their business or project concept through brand storytelling, proposal writing and finding strategic partnerships modules. Most of the BiPP is delivered online by experienced practitioners in these fields and classes are held in the evenings to accommodate working professionals. The group is also brought together in South Africa during one week for an in-nature immersion, leadership training and a design sprint that takes participants through a development process for their idea. It is delivered in partnership with South Africa’s Sustainability Institute. It was piloted in 2021 and 2022 as a way to support biodiversity practitioners with new tools and solutions.
BiPP 2022 participants noted that beyond learning how to refine their pro-nature businesses and projects, they had also formed a strong network among themselves.
“The design sprint helped me design my business model, analyse my market and get to grips with the financials.”
Djamila de Sousa, a fashion and textile designer from Mozambique, notes that the BiPP helped her in “finding out more about biodiversity and how to connect that with the work that I do and meeting people from so many different backgrounds and businesses and being able to create synergies between them.“
Halumba Munchonga from Ndola Nutrition Organisation in Zambia said that the BiPP has taught him how to connect with people and with nature, and how to consider nature in his programme.
Kanangwa Newlove, owner of Octaguna Organics in Zambia that aims to make organic food accessible to all, said that “I had the privilege of learning about deep ecology and complexity to brand building, storytelling, business planning.”
More information about the application process can be found here. The application deadline is 19 March 2023. Successful applicants to the BiPP pay a nominal R1 000 fee to show their commitment to the programme. AFD covers all costs related to the in-person session in Cape Town, South Africa, including flights, accommodation and meals. More information about the BiPP and its innovative teaching pedagogy can be found at Edition 2023 (biodiversitypartnersprogram.com) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.