There is no doubt that the conservation industry and Africa’s threatened species are reliant on having good people who are skilled, educated and motivated and who can make a significant difference at all levels. As such, every effort should be made, whether formally or informally, to develop skills and abilities and to provide opportunities for people to maximise their contribution. The future of the Southern African Wildlife College and the future of Africa depends on it.
Since opening its doors to students in 1997, the SAWC has held fast to an unwavering course to empower and inspire protected area managers and others involved in environmental practices to embrace the challenges of conservation in Africa. We however need help in growing and developing the conservation and tourism sector’s human capital, which will in turn help to ensure the growth, development and sustainability of parks and other natural areas.
At the outset, the aim of the College was to meet SADC training needs within the sphere of natural resource management, and from its inception, the College has offered full time qualification course programmes which run for a full year. The curriculum covers a broad range of conservation management skills including a wide spectrum of wildlife management, nature-based tourism, community-based natural resource management and other environmentally-related topics. The courses trained at the College are all accredited with the necessary education bodies and are designed with input from conservation organisations across SADC and remain relevant to training needs identified across the region.
Unfortunately, conservation education and training is not well funded across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and most of the students are reliant on donor funding to enable them to further and continue their studies. The College also receives no government subsidies. As such, the College needs help to support the development of students by way of scholarships and bursaries.
The College currently offers two fully-accredited year-long qualification courses: The Higher Certificate in Conservation Implementation and Leadership and the Advanced Certificate in Trans-Frontier Conservation Management.
Each student's organisation makes a contribution towards their studies to show their commitment but the bulk of the funding has to be raised. We thus appeal to organisations, donor organisations, trusts and individuals to consider funding these our flagship students many of whom will go on to senior positions. Here, with the support of a broad array of stakeholders, they will achieve long lasting conservation results that address the economic and ecological needs of the region.