MENTOR-HAWLT (Holistically Addressing WildLife Trafficking) - Notice of Funding Opportunity

The MENTOR-HALWT (Holistically Addressing WildLife Trafficking) conservation fellowship program focuses on holistically addressing wildlife trafficking, with an emphasis on integrating robust social science to understand and address the human dimensions of the issue. This inaugural MENTOR-HAWLT program will take place in Kenya, a land rich in biodiversity and characterized by varied landscapes and thousands of wild plant and animal species, most living outside protected areas and many classified as vulnerable or endangered.

Globally, thousands of wildlife species are threatened by wildlife trafficking, which, in turn, negatively impacts biodiversity and human well-being. Wildlife trafficking occurs in varied social-ecological contexts and includes numerous and diverse actors along the source-transit-destination trade chain. The illicit and often covert human behaviors at the center of this issue are driven by interacting social, economic, cultural, and political factors. Given this complexity, holistic approaches based on understanding of the complex systems in which trafficking occurs are needed. Such approaches require cross-disciplinary collaboration that integrates expertise from relevant fields.

The goal of MENTOR-HAWLT is to develop capacity to plan, implement, and evaluate holistic approaches to reduce wildlife trafficking that include evidence-based interventions designed to address the complex human dimensions of the issue.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service co-designs the MENTOR programs with the lead recipient organization and establishes transdisciplinary teams of early-career conservation leaders who collaborate on addressing threats to wildlife. Through rigorous academic and field-based training, long-term mentoring, experiential learning, and project design and implementation, MENTOR-HAWLT aims to develop a team of 9-12 Fellows.

MENTOR-HAWLT is supported with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

Proposal Requirements

The proposed MENTOR-HAWLT program should address poaching and trafficking of species receiving less international and national attention in Kenya and take a holistic approach to understanding and addressing these issues within complex socio-ecological systems. Projects should include two or more of the following interrelated focal areas:

  1. Demand for wildlife
  2. Behavior change
  3. Governance structures
  4. Community-led resource management and conservancies
  5. Collaborative conservation
  6. Wildlife population monitoring
  7. Poaching levels and drivers

The anticipated funding available is $1,000,000 USD. This funding opportunity will solicit a single award with an expected period of performance of two to three years and a range of $300,000 to $500,000 USD/per year.

For additional information, please see the MENTOR-HAWLT Notice of Funding Opportunity.


Priority will be given to projects that show a systematic understanding of the social-ecological context of wildlife trafficking in Kenya; are based on sound, realistic, and evidence-based designs; and are highly collaborative and inclusive.

Applicants should express an openness to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to further co-design MENTOR-HAWLT and apply lessons learned from the MENTOR Model.

Applicants can be individuals; multi-national secretariats; foreign national and local government agencies; non-profit non-governmental organizations; for-profit organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; and U.S. territorial governments.


See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for full details on the application requirements and process for applying. This should be read carefully to ensure an application meets all eligibility requirements and is complete upon submission.

Electronically submitted applications may be submitted until 11:59 PM EDT, March 4, 2024, preferably through (search for funding opportunity #F24AS00181). You may also apply and find more information at Synopsis and Related Documents

Applicants who are unable to submit applications through those channels may seek a waiver.