Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu




Nnaemeka joined us in June 2018 as a Biodiversity fellow. He works for The Smallholders Foundation in Nigeria. http://www.smallholdersfoundation.org.ng

I grew up from an agricultural family where I learnt practical crops cultivation and livestock keeping first hand as a kid. However I was fascinated by wildlife and as a child, kept pets like guinea pigs, rabbits, tortoise, pigeons, weaver birds and tilapia fishes at home. I practically transformed my parent’s home to a wildlife sanctuary. Aside my mini wildlife sanctuary at home, I spent a lot of time in my state Botanical Gardens studying wildlife and tree of nature. My childhood brought me in contact with nature at an early stage for which I have not left till date.

Today, I am a farmer, still a wildlife enthusiast, an agricultural and biodiversity conservation community radio broadcaster.

My work is to use radio educational programs, to communicate latest agricultural science and biodiversity conservation trends, to enrich the knowledge of smallholder farmers in Nigeria. As Executive Director of The Smallholders Foundation, a rural development organization based in Imo State, South Eastern Region of Nigeria, I use our community radio station, the Smallholder Farmers Rural Radio (Farm 98.0 FM), to develop and broadcast 10 hours daily agriculture, environmental and market information radio programs, in the local Igbo Language. This is to inform, educate and improve the economic and environmental management capacity of smallholder farmers living in 3 local catchment areas of the state.

Over the past 15 years I have informed, educated and improved the agricultural development capacity of small farmers by broadcasting content in crop production techniques, livestock management, accessing seeds, soil management practices, erosion and flood control techniques, farm management, food safety, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and agriculture, combating malaria, farm safety, crops pest and livestock diseases control, rainwater harvesting, treadle pumps making, small scale irrigation management among others.

I have also informed, educated and improved the environmental management capacity of small farmers by broadcasting content in alternatives to slash and burn agriculture, sustainable water management, enacting and enforcing laws to protect community streams and rivers, using drought-resistant plants, techniques to restore degraded rainforests, wetlands and mangrove ecosystem, sustainable fish harvesting technologies , planting multi-use trees, coping with extreme weather events, agro forestry, wildlife management, ecotourism, using renewable energies among others.

I broadcast daily commodity prices from 38 major markets within the region, give farmers information on how to access national and international markets, educate farmers on steps for exportation and on accessing micro-credit facilities.


I am interested in communication for biodiversity conservation.

Communication, Education and Public Awareness is fundamental to persuade decision makers and the public to take action on conservation.

In our period of great biodiversity loss, timely, relevant and well adapted key messages changes hearts, minds and even behaviors.

Biodiversity science rarely succeeds in inspiring public action on its own. This is because it is a complex topic, and is simply hard to understand for many people. It also comes down to human nature. Most people don’t make their daily decisions based on logical scientific analysis. In reality people make their decisions based on a mixture of emotion, habit and social norms. It is how biodiversity makes them feel, not think, that leads them to act. Biodiversity is the world’s most elaborate scientific concept, but also, potentially, its greatest story.

From my experience, love of nature for most people is about awe, wonder and joy; not habitats, ecosystem services or extinction. In line with the above, I am always in search of effective communication methods to engage and inspire people to value and protect nature – from policy makers to natural resource managers on the ground and to the local people; the ultimate custodians of nature.



01/2009 Masters in Cooperation and Development,

Institute for Advanced Studies, the University of Pavia, Italy

An international master’s program which trains practitioners in international development through an interdisciplinary approach.

Research Focus: Challenges and opportunities in linking poverty reduction and sustainable environmental management in Nigeria.


08/202 Bachelor of Arts; History and International Studies,

Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria




* 2012 Global Environments Summer Academy, Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich, Germany.

* 2009 Certificate in Conflict Transformation, Initiatives for Change International.

* 2009 Better Science Reporting, Wren Media UK.

* 2008 Certificate in Population Education, Population Connection USA.

* 2008 Certificate in Environmental/Wildlife Education, Ohio Dept. for Natural Resources and Wildlife.

* 2008 Certificate in Sustainability, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich.

* 2008 Certificate in Project Cycle Management for EU; PC Magura Consultancy, Netherlands.

* 2007 Certificate in Poverty and Human Rights, Bergen University College, Norway.

* 2007 Certificate in Integrated Water Resources and Land Management, ALTERRA- ILRI Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands.

* 2006 Certificate in Sustainable Livelihood Assessment; Forward Africa Nigeria.


09/2003 – Till Date

The Smallholders Foundation, Imo State, Nigeria

Executive Director,

Designing and broadcasting agricultural development and environmental conservation radio programs.


05/2003 – 09/2003

Youth Alive Foundation, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Programs Manager – Youth Leadership Programs

Designing, creating budgets, conducting baseline surveys, implementing, measuring impact and compiling reports of youth leadership programs beneficial urban and rural youths.



2008 Global Fellow YouthActionNet; International Youth Foundation.

2008 Fellow, Ashoka – Innovators for the Public.

2009 Winner World Bank Development Marketplace on Climate Change Adaptation.

2010 Laureate; Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

2010 Winner, UNDP Equator Prize.

2011 Nigeria’s Young Person of the Year; The Future Awards Nigeria.

2011 Winner Green Talents Award, German Ministry of Education and Research.

2012 Fellow Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA), Germany.

2012 Laureate, 21st Century Hope Prize, The Niigata International Food Prize, Japan.

2013 Laureate, The Yara Prize for Green Revolution in Africa (Africa Food Prize)

2017 German Energy Agency (dena)