U.S. Forest Service Seminar Participants: Meet Brice MOWAWA

The U.S. Forest Service International Programs hosts an annual international seminar series on natural resource management including seminars on topics such as climate change, watershed management, and urban forestry. The seminars take place in the United States with participants coming from the 90+ programmatic countries of the U.S Forest Service International Programs. The seminars aim to enhance participants technical experience, expand their professional networks, and upon return home, implement change in their home countries. Every year, the U.S. Forest Service Central Africa Program sponsors partners from government ministries and non-governmental organizations to attend the seminars. Selected participants have been recognized as existing or upcoming leaders in their fields.

Previously, we met Patrick OKITAYELA SHOLONGO from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who attended the Climate Change and Natural Resources Seminar in 2018. This week we introduce Brice MOWAWA from the neighboring Republic of the Congo, who attended the 2018 International Seminar on Protected Area Management. 

Brice Mowawa

Name: Brice MOWAWA

Seminar Attended: 2018 International Seminar on Protected Area Management

Current Job: Civil Servant in the Ministry of Protected Areas in the Republic of the Congo and national expert in the regional project “Sustainable Financing of Protected Areas in the Congo Basin” implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

What do you do for fun?: Swimming—in the pool and in the Congo River!

What is one thing about you that others might be surprised to learn?: For about 5 years I worked in monitoring and individual identification of forest elephants.

If you could give one piece of advice to young professionals in your field, what would it be?: My advice to young professionals is to love what you do because success depends on your passion for your work.

Brice Mowawa wears many hats to work and has been involved in many different dimensions of protected area management throughout his career. From organizing data collection to studying elephant migrations, to fighting poaching, to advocating for the financial support of protected areas, Brice has experienced many facets of forest and wildlife conservation.

For Brice, it was the scale of the national parks that fascinated him most during the protected areas seminar he attended in the United States. He and fellow participants had the opportunity to visit Yellowstone National Park; the extensive number of visitors impressed him. Learning about concession, and waste management, marketing, and protected area management in a changing and complex environment showed him the potential of protected areas in his home country. Congo, with its unique wildlife and forests, could also become a world-renowned tourist destination with revenue from tourism becoming a source of regular income for communities in and around reserves. Since attending the seminar, Brice is currently in the process of setting up a pilot site to test out tourism management systems for the country’s protected areas.

The National Protected Area Agency in the Republic of the Congo is a relatively new office, but they are committed to finding ways to protect their natural resources. Photo courtesy of Eva McNamara, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

Looking ahead, Brice will continue his role working with national and regional stakeholders to establish a sustainable financing mechanism for protected areas in the Republic of the Congo. He hopes that he and his colleagues will be able to operationalize a national protected area fund in the coming years, ensuring that the unique flora and fauna of the country will be protected for generations to come.

The U.S. Forest Service International Programs has been sponsoring professionals in Central Africa to attend seminars since 2006. Supporting the capacity and professional development of natural resource management leaders is an essential step in helping countries improve natural resource management and mitigate the effects of climate change. The U.S. Forest Service is committed to working with partners to offer specialized programs, tools, and opportunities to help them succeed in protecting and preserving their forests and natural resources.

To learn more about U.S. Forest Service Seminars, please click here.

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