"I often remember the words of my wonder friend, companion and mentor, Magqubu Ntombela, as we toiled up the hills in the hot sun at Mfolozi Game Reserve. 'We are doing the work of God', he would say. 'And our reward will come when people realise how important our national parks and game reserves really are.'
"The truth of these word is nowhere more evident than at the Southern African Wildlife College where students from all over the continent come to learn about the 'noblest cause of all' returning to their regions and countries to strengthen this web of awareness across cultural boundaries and geographical borders."
"I salute the Southern African Wildlife College for the invaluable work it is doing and wish it every success for the future.'
Dr Ian Player, Internationally renowned conservationist
The financial needs of the College, which enables it to carry out its mandate, have grown substantially over the years. Fortunately so too has the reputation of the College which, in turn, has made the expansion of the scope of training offered possible. In diversifying its offerings to meet the needs of the industry, the College in 2010 and 2011 embarked on a number of different projects such as the Wildlife Guardian Programme, the Conservation and Environmental Education Programme, the Community Rangers Programme, the Enterprise Development Programme and the Sustainable Utilisation PH Training Programme all of which carry their own funding needs.
Funders such as the Liberty Wildlife Fund, the Jobs Fund, the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust (Managed by Nedbank Private Wealth), the Rand Merchant Bank Fund, the Flemish Government and the International Labour Organisation (ILO-Score) have supported the College and have made these projects possible. In doing so, they are helping to capacity build the conservation and tourism industry which according to Naughton-Treves et al. (2005) is an industry that "Cannot solve poverty, but can significantly help to prevent and reduce poverty by maintaining ecosystem services and supporting livelihoods."
Our Wildlife Guardian Programme
In response to the current rhino poaching crisis in South Africa, a joint proposal between the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) and the Game Ranger’s Association of Africa (GRAA) gave rise to the Wildlife Guardian Programme. This programme holds as its main aim the training of field rangers to compete with poachers so as to ensure the territorial integrity of Protected Areas and in so doing, protect its wildlife and our natural heritage.
Since 2007 more than 3873 rhinos have been killed for their horns in South Africa. Despite emergency summits and a public outcry the New Year has brought no respite and this massacre continues at an increasing rate. Currently, it is estimated that one rhino is being killed in South Africa every 8 hours.
Field rangers are the first and often last line of defence once poachers have entered a conservation area; literally the bullet proof shield for the rhino in some cases. In order to carry out this function they require dedication, physical fitness and stamina and a high level of skills in a broad range of fields. Your donation will help to ensure that they receive the training and equipment they need to help curb this rhino poaching scourge.
The Conservation and Environmental Education Bridging Programme
It is essential for future leaders in conservation to be identified within the school system at an early stage and to be exposed to appropriate training opportunities. This programme is aimed at historically disadvantaged school leavers who have shown an interest in pursuing a career in the conservation field. This course is designed to open up career and job opportunities for school leavers and it also enables them to gain the necessary credits to enrol for full time study in their chosen field. Donors who pledge their support for this programme will make a significant difference to the lives of youths wishing to increase their chances of employment or further study.
The New Venture Creation/Enterprise Development Programme
The future of South Africa's economy does not only lie in the formal sector, but also within the informal SMME sector. This is a growing part of South Africa's economy and requires substantial focus from a developmental perspective.
It is essential that communities benefit from the wildlife economy and from the sustainable use of natural resources as well as from tourism initiatives that include the rehabilitation and sustainability of these protected areas. The emphasis that the College places on this programme and on community based natural resource management is crucial to bringing about this change. By supporting this training programme, donors will assist with poverty alleviation, job creation and help to ensure that people living in and around are parks are able to benefit from the tourism chain.
The Community Rangers' Programme
Many of our wilderness areas are under the growing threat of increasing population growth, sprawling urbanisation, deepening poverty, encroaching land use, poaching and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. It for this reason that an understanding, sensitivity, appreciation, transfer of real benefit and relevant knowledge needs to be communicated through the training process. Unfortunately, the effect of poverty, unemployment, lack of funds to further their studies and boredom among young people has in many instances prompted them to resort to illicit activities such as poaching of both wild animals and plants for their survival. This poses a serious threat to both conservation of biodiversity and human life in general. These illicit activities have resulted in many of these young people being charged and convicted by both the park and/or the local and traditional authorities, with severe fines being a consequence.
It is in this context that the SAWC is seeking funding to train and expose young people with the potential, to conservation guardianship skills and aspects of the wildlife industry thereby giving them a much better chance for future employment by communities and / or conservation organizations as field rangers and to ensure the transfer of knowledge once they are trained.
The Sustainable Use and Field Guiding Programme – PH Course
The programme is designed to empower persons from historically disadvantage backgrounds to access an employment sector which, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs, is responsible for making an extremely valuable contribution to the economy of our country.This programme addresses the skills and competencies required to qualify, licence and register as a professional hunter which will enable access to employment opportunities in the hunting environment in South Africa.
The programme has also been put in place to help improve the current standard of training of professional hunters in South Africa and thereby ensure that conservation ethics are maintained and that these students become sought after in terms of available employment opportunities and job creation opportunities in and around Parks where hunting is permitted.
Special thanks must go to the following organisations, foundations, trusts and funds who have over the years supported various programmes and projects at the Southern African Wildllife College:
Flemish Government, Distell Ltd and the ILO - Enterprise Development Programme
Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust - Conservationa and Environemental Education Bridging Programme
Jobs Fund and Rand Merchant Bank - Community Rangers Project
KfW - Infrastructure/Phase 1 and Phase 2
Liberty Wildlife Fund - Wildlife Guardian Programme
National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund - Certificate Course Programme Students, Essential Equipment and Campus Maintenance
PHASA - African Wildllife Heritage Gala Dinner and Auction to fund Conservation Training
Rufford Foundation - Capital Expenditure (including items such as a game drive vehicle, student bus, borehole, 4 x 4 vehicle and trailer, light delivery vehicle and computer software)