Feb. 11, 2003
NOLS Closes East Africa
The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
will close its program in East Africa on June 30, 2003.
The decision, made by the NOLS Board of Trustees, comes
after many years of evaluating various aspects of the East
Africa program, which began in 1974.
Some factors that contributed to the program's
closure include a continual decrease in available
operating areas in East Africa due to social and political
and concerns about the school's long-term ability
to manage the risks associated with traveling in the region.
has altered its program in East Africa numerous
times over the years to manage these risks appropriately,
changing the location of the coastal section
on semesters. As the NOLS Board of Trustees looks toward
the future, however,
they feel risk management concerns will increase
and could take many more years to resolve. The school
has also seen
a significant drop in the last three years
in its enrollment on NOLS East Africa courses.
The Board's decision comes with an understanding
of the impacts the closure will have on members
of the NOLS community. John Gans, NOLS Executive
Director, says "many
staff dedicated years of their lives to our mission and program in Kenya. Our
educational outcomes have been important to individuals, and to the countries
of Kenya and Tanzania. We have built ties between our students and the amazing
wilderness areas and wildlife of East Africa. We have also built ties between
people, cultures, tribes and countries, and in the process have dramatically
enriched the NOLS community."
NOLS has trained many staff in the region and
has numerous graduates from East Africa. Over the coming
months the school will work with those who are interested
in starting their own local program in the region. It is the Board’s strong
desire that wilderness education continues in East Africa, despite NOLS’ departure.
Students currently on the final NOLS Semester
in East Africa will finish their course
in March, and students enrolled on upcoming
courses in East Africa
encouraged to apply for other NOLS offerings.