What is the GENTE Consortium?
Led by Drexel University and the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE), the GENTE Consortium is a network of universities and research institutes that advances interconnected solutions in education, environmental conservation, and public health for the people of Equatorial Guinea.
Where is it headquartered?
The consortium has headquarters at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA under the leadership of Dr. Mary Katherine Gonder, professor of biology at Drexel University and director of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program.
Why is Drexel well positioned to advance GENTE's mission?
Drexel has a long history of engagement on Bioko Island, including a partnership with the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) that spans over 25 years. Under the auspices of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP), Drexel has championed environmental stewardship and efforts to build educational capacity. With its deep regional and technical expertise in addition to its strong network of partner institutions, the University is uniquely placed to to enhance capacity across the educational, environmental, and health sectors in Equatorial Guinea.
How is the consortium governed?
To ensure the highest level of accountability and effectiveness, three external bodies are charged with governing GENTE's programmatic activities:
External Advisory Board
The External Advisory Board is composed of individuals with regional and technical expertise who share the vision of a better future in Equatorial Guinea. The board is instrumental in finalizing the program structure, dispersing funds to GENTE partners, and monitoring progress throughout the Consortium’s existence.
Education Management Council
The Education Management Council is expected to consist, in whole or in part, of individuals from the GENTE Consortium partner and member organizations. The initial responsibilities of this council will be to develop programmatic components of the Scholars Program and the Environmental Stewardship Jobs Program.
Environmental Stewardship Jobs Council
The Environmental Stewardship Jobs Council is expected to consist of individuals from the GENTE Consortium partner and member organizations, external experts in protected areas management, nature-based tourism and sustainable livelihoods, along with key stakeholders from local NGO’s and civil society in Equatorial Guinea. The main responsibilities of the Council will be to provide oversight and contribute expertise to strengthen management of protected areas, guide the development of sustainable livelihoods projects, and broaden the programmatic reach of environmental stewardship.
Who can apply for membership?
GENTE encourages universities, research institutions, and organizations with aligned interests to explore membership in the consortium. The consortium also welcomes individual researchers and practitioners.
Which organizations have joined?
GENTE is composed of a network of higher education institutions, conservation organizations, and research institutes that have deep and broad expertise in areas such as international education, professional development, public health, biodiversity research, and ecological conservation in Equatorial Guinea and neighboring countries.
Drexel is pleased to collaborate with the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE), Arizona State University (ASU), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of New Orleans (UNO). These partners bring invaluable expertise and share GENTE’s mission to foster the next generation of leaders and environmental stewards in Equatorial Guinea.
What are the expectations for members?
Member institutions will share and actively promote a commitment to increasing national human capacity and protecting national biodiversity in Equatorial Guinea. Members may contribute through various channels, such as by providing technical expertise, assuming a position on the Councils, serving on the GENTE Innovation Grant Panel, serving as mentors to GENTE Scholars, or offering graduate degree opportunities for GENTE Scholars.
What are the membership benefits?
Members will join a network of universities and organizations with a shared commitment to providing educational, environmental conservation, and health solutions in Central Africa. Benefits may include, among others, membership on the Councils or project-specific working groups, access to a community of academics and practitioners with aligned interests for developing new collaborative projects, and funding for conservation work or other environmental stewardship initiatives in Equatorial Guinea.
How do I become a member?
Please reach out to Jenn Cohen, Associate Director of the GENTE Scholars Program, at email@example.com with an initial statement of interest detailing how you or your organization aligns with GENTE's mission and could provide technical expertise or regional knowledge to maximize impact in Equatorial Guinea.
How does GENTE respond to current conditions in Equatorial Guinea?
GENTE and its partners are committed to building a brighter future for the people of Equatorial Guinea. Its keystone programs in education, environmental conservation, and public health are designed to address critical challenges facing the country today, including:
Limited opportunities to pursue accredited degrees
The higher education gap between Equatorial Guinea and the rest of the world, even with its closest African neighbors (Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon), continues to widen. Chronic underfunding by the government has led to a shortage of qualified faculty and facilities that are required to educate students to international standards. Only the wealthiest students can go abroad to learn English and complete an accredited university education.
Challenges to natural resources management and biodiversity conservation
Equatorial Guinea is a biodiversity treasure that will, absent more robust protection for national parks and endangered species, face irrecoverable loss to its unique ecological landscape. Many of the country’s beloved primate and nesting turtle species now teeter on the brink of endangerment or, worse, extinction. Despite considerable enthusiasm for biodiversity conservation with in the government and civil society, sparse funding and pervasive socioeconomic challenges, including a lack of job opportunities for people living adjacent to this natural wealth, are inhibiting successful conservation efforts.
A health system under strain
Equatorial Guinea continues to face a shortage of skilled healthcare workers, medical resources and equipment, and trauma care facilities. The evolving COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the strain on healthcare provision in the country and neighboring areas. These challenges are further amplified in rural areas.
What are the consortium's primary activities?
Leveraging the expertise of member institutions, the GENTE Consortium is scaling up three complementary programs that, together, will drive sustainable growth in Equatorial Guinea:
GENTE Scholars Program
The Scholars Program is an educational program for Equatoguinean citizens that provides scholarships for recent graduates to complete accredited coursework and training in English as a second language at US-based universities, with opportunities for leadership mentoring, teaching fellowships, grants, and graduate degrees; establishes an online STEM program for university students; and issues awards to train skilled craftspeople in Equatorial Guinea.
GENTE Environmental Stewardship Jobs Program
The Environmental Stewardship Jobs Program is an environmental program designed to strengthen conservation strategies, research partnerships, training and job opportunities at two key protected areas in Equatorial Guinea: Gran Caldera Scientific Reserve and Monte Alén National Park.
GENTE Grant Program
The Grant Program is a competitive initiative administered by Drexel University that awards funding to academic or non-profit institutions, organizations, or other entities to implement and scale capacity building projects in EG’s health sector.