Building a Sustainable Community in Africa - Mpala Wildlife Conservancy (2011)

Client Organization: 
Mpala Wildlife Foundation
Project Location : 
Nanyuki, KENYA
Summary of Project Idea: 

The Mpala Wildlife Foundation Master's Project group from the University of Michigan, supervised by Don Scavia, Andrew Hoffman, and Abigail Mechtenberg, created a sustainability plan for Mpala that can help the research center and ranch move toward self-sufficiency. They evaluated alternative energy sources to power the research centre, giving special consideration to cost-effective methods and reducing or eliminating the need for further reliance on fossil fuels while increasing overall energy capabilities.  They also researched and recommended strategies for water conservation and water efficiency. Finally, they evaluated potential environmental impacts of expanded housing and made recommendations, including energy and water resource use.   The goal of this group was to develop a self-sustainability plan sensitive to local culture, help prepare the organization for a range of climate challenges, and establish a plan that can be replicated in other parts of Kenya and Africa.

Skills/Expertise Needed: 

Sustainable design, conservation biology, sustainable enterprise, engineering systems, environmental planning, landscape architecture

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Sustainable Systems
Professional Career Development Benefits: 

Systems thinking, green building and rural/urban infrastructure, energy and water system design, social dynamics and acceptance of new technologies and processes, developing world experience, adoption of technology, economic and environmental analysis.

Funding Sources: 

Funding is likely available through the Mpala Foundation and/or the Graham Institute.

Identify expected products/deliverables: 

An analysis of short-, medium-, and long-term sustainability options for this African community and the surrounding areas.

SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Andy Hoffman
Contact e-mail: 
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Melissa Antokal, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Caitlin Ryan, MS Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Pooja Seeba, MSE Civil Engineering/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Ajay Varadharajan, MSE Mechanical Engineering/MS Sustainable Systems
or Andy Hoffman,
Project Status: 
Past Project