Closing date: 31 July 2024

1. The African World Heritage Fund

The African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) is an intergovernmental organization created in 2006 to support the effective conservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value in Africa. The main objective of the AWHF is to address the challenges faced by African State Parties in the implementation of the UNESCO Convention of Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) adopted in 1972, specifically, the underrepresentation of African sites on the World Heritage List and the insufficient conservation and management of these sites. The AWHF is a category Centre under the auspices of UNESCO.

2. The Moses Mapesa Research Grant

The AWHF is pleased to announce the Moses Mapesa 1Research Grant to support African Doctoral and Masters Students in the field of natural and cultural heritage. This research grant seeks to further research (particularly supporting fieldwork) on World Heritage and tentative listed sites in Africa.

3. Eligibility

The call is open to students who are:
a) Currently or will be registered in 2025 in a Doctoral or Masters programme (Masters 2 for Francophone countries) at an African university and conducting dissertation research in the field of either natural or cultural heritage at an African World Heritage Site,
b) Fluent in English, French or Portuguese,
c) Citizens of an African Union Member State which is party to the World Heritage Convention.

4. Grant Support

Grant amounts will vary depending on research proposals, with a maximum award of USD Five Thousand (5,000.00). The fieldwork research needs to be conducted in no longer than 9 months from the signature of the contract (May 2025 to February 2026). The award will support research projects focused on the following topics related to a World Heritage or a tentative listed site in Africa:

a) Traditional Management Systems,
b) Risk management and preparedness,
c) Heritage in Conflict and Post-conflict situations,
d) Heritage management and conservation,
e) Heritage and Climate Change,
f) Heritage and Economics/Entrepreneurship,
g) Heritage and Sustainable Development,
h) Heritage Promotion and Awareness,
i) Heritage and Digital Technologies,
j) Heritage and Law.

Please note that the topic has to be connected to World Heritage ( or tentative listed ( sites in Africa. Please view the links above for a list of sites per country.

5. Grant Requirements

If a student is awarded a grant, they are required to submit a longer research description at the beginning of the grant (along with proof of registration for the degree) and, at the end, a final report with the research results or dissertation/thesis at the final stage as well as a financial report. All documents must be presented in either French, English or Portuguese. The projects MUST be implemented between May 2025 and February 2026 (within 9 months). Please note that students who do not complete the research within the contractual timeframe will be required to reimburse the grant to the AWHF.

6. Application Package

All applicants should submit the following application package:
a) The completed application form (co-signed by the supervisor),
b) A letter of motivation by the applicant (1 page maximum),
c) Applicant’s updated curriculum vitae (2 pages maximum),
d) Applicant’s current university transcript,
e) Research proposal (2 pages maximum) including the following:

i. Full name, affiliated university, country, degree level, title of research and related World Heritage or tentative listed site,
ii. Description of research (Goal/objectives, research question/s, relevance, significance, justification and scope),
iii. Research methodology (approach, timeframe, analysis),
iv. Bibliography,
v. Budget (indicate funds from all sources, stating specifically the field work items the grant would be for with justifications as to the need).

Incomplete applications and applications that do not fulfill all requirements stated above will not be considered.

7. Application Procedures

a) The application form (English, French and Portuguese versions) can be requested by sending an email to
b) Completed applications should be submitted via email (as attachment) to (with copy to before the deadline. Hard copies and supporting documents can be submitted to the following address: The African World Heritage Fund, 1258 Lever Road, Headway Hill, Midrand 1685, South Africa.

8. Deadline for Submission

The deadline for submission is 17.00 (GMT) on 31 July 2024. However, applicants are highly encouraged to submit their proposals prior to the deadline. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

9. Evaluation and Selection Process

An inter-disciplinary and cross-regional selection committee will review the applications. The following items will be strongly considered during selection:

a) Eligibility of applicant,
b) Completed application package (application form, CV, motivation letter, transcript & complete research proposal),
c) Quality and relevance of the research proposed,
d) Gender, language and geographic balance,
10. Final decision and notification.

10. Final Decision and Notification

All applicants shall be notified of the outcome by 31 January 2025.

For any queries regarding the application process, please contact African World Heritage Fund, 1258 Lever Road, Headway Hill, Midrand 1685 South Africa, Tel: +27 11 313 3500, Email: (with copy to

 1 The late Moses Wafula Mapesa (1965-2016) dedicated his career to wildlife conservation contributing immeasurably to the field of natural resource management in Africa. He served as the IUCN WCPA Regional Vice Chair for East and Southern Africa and was the former Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority