Southern African Wildlife College Trust

Supporting Education in Nature Conservation

Nurturing and strengthening conservation leadership for today and tomorrow

The future of our continent depends on the future of our natural heritage.

It is only with the help of its donors that the Trust, in support of the work of the College, can equip new generations of conservationists with the skills needed to address the challenges facing conservation across southern Africa.

Our purpose

Supporting education in nature and wildlife conservation

The aim of the Trust is to support education in nature conservation at the College. The Trust works to grow its fund, to provide an increased disbursement to the College annually and ensure the sustainability of its vital work.

Each year the Trust funds highly sought-after natural area resource management scholarships and bursaries for top students in the accredited year-long Higher Education and Training courses. It also helps to fund priority projects in support of conservation management training such as:

  • Bridging courses for school leavers
  • Marketing and fundraising
  • The development of the Applied Learning Strategy and unit at the College
  • The development of the Foundation Learning Certificate (a new requirement by the Department of Education)

All of this to impact nature and wildlife conservation across southern Africa, now and into the future.

Lesley Richardson, Chair and Founder Trustee, with the Countess Sylvia Labia, Principal Founder Trustee, and the recipients of the Trust’s three scholarships for 2018, awarded at the College’s HET graduation in November 2017

View our short video.

Funding and administration

The Trust is administered by WWF South Africa.  An annual meeting of the trustees ensures good governance and the success of the Trust.

Read our latest Annual Report.


Ms Lesley Richardson (Chair) –  Founder Trustee
Mr Stephen Abrahams (Vice Chair) – WWF-SA
Countess Sylvia Labia – Principle Founder Trustee
Mr Werner Myburgh – Peace Parks Foundation
Mrs Kathy Bergs – Peace Parks Foundation
Mr Charles de Villiers – Private Capacity
Vacant – IUCN Regional Office for Eastern & Southern Africa
Vacant – WWF Regional Office for Africa
Mr Leonard Sefu  – Private Capacity (Previously with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife  & Culture – Malawi)

The following entities are entitled to be represented by nominated trustees: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA), Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and IUCN (Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office) and the WWF Regional Office for Africa.


The need to protect our rich natural heritage

Southern Africa is blessed with a uniquely rich natural heritage. Community development, climate change, poverty and the growing demand for protected commodities like rhino horn, all impact Africa’s valuable resources. It’s vital to equip the custodians of our natural resources with the skills to tackle these challenges.

Limited funding for conservation training in southern Africa

The College does not receive a government subsidy, leaving it dependent on external funds. At the suggestion of the Late Dr Anton Rupert, WWF South Africa established an independent trust in support of education in nature conservation at the College, with assistance from founder trustees and long standing donors both locally and internationally. The Southern African Conservation Education Trust (SACET) deed was registered in 2000.

In 2011 the name of the Trust was changed to the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) to better align the Trust with the College.

Our achievements

Over R13 million has been disbursed to the College for scholarships, bursaries and priority projects in conservation management, with these recent milestone achievements:

  • R1.3 million in 2018
  • R1.2 million in 2017
  • R850,000 in 2016
  • R750,000 in 2015

Performance of the investments is key

SAWCT has historically followed the investment strategy of WWF as advised by its Investment Committee. This diversified strategy across the various asset classes and geographies has proven beneficial in terms of inflation beating financial returns over the years.

In March 2015 the trustees agreed with WWF plans to restructure its investments into the Prescient Living Planet Fund. The primary objective is the delivery of long-term capital growth within a framework that reflects a high level of sustainability and environmental integrity, without compromising investment performance.

  • The SAWCT Fund  is managed through the Prescient Living Planet Fund
  • The Fund is FSB (Financial Services Board) registered, regulated under the CISCA (Collect Investment Schemes Control) Act and complies with Regulation 28 requirements
  • The Fund is prudently managed and integrates environmentally sustainable investment principles in the investment portfolio with the aim to improve the relative environmental footprint of the Fund. Some specific examples include: City of Cape Town Green Bond Investment; Global Clean Energy and Global Clean Water investments; Carbon and Fossil Fuel reduction; Environmental Footprint Measurements

Results and sustainability

Over the past 18 years, SAWCT has awarded over 60 scholarships and bursaries to the College’s top students.

Financial support from donors plays a critical role given that conservation education and training is not well funded in southern Africa.

The Trust takes regular steps to review its investment, fundraising and communication plans, to ensure its growing and continued support to education in nature conservation at the College.

Our beneficiaries

Financial support provides students with the opportunity to further their studies and impact nature conservation across southern Africa according to best practice. Recognised qualifications equip graduates to excel in their work, grow in their careers and influence conservation at policy making level. Their income and quality of life improves, and much-needed benefits flow to their families and communities.

How you can help

Please help us grow the Trust to support education in nature conservation at the College in perpetuity!

Download our brochure here.

Donate to the SAWCT via direct deposit or debit order

Account name: SAWCT (Southern African Wildlife College Trust 2499/2000)
Account number: 4054164000
Branch: Commercial Business Winelands
Clearing code: 632005
Account type: business cheque account
Swift code: ABSA ZA JJ

  • Bequests from the deceased estates of South African taxpayers are exempt from donations tax and estate duty.
  • Donations from South African taxpayers are exempt from donations tax, and may be claimed as deductions against taxable income, subject to the limitations of the Income Tax Act.

We would like to acknowledge your valued support – please contact us!

We would like to send you a letter of thanks as proof of receipt and 18A tax certificate where required. Please contact:

Justin Smith, Head of Business Developement Unit,
E: jsmith@wwf.org.za
M: +27 21 657 6600

Donor recognition

Donations are acknowledged in the Trust’s Audited Financial Statements. Each donor’s contributions are also tracked cumulatively to show their overall “giving status” which is recognised in our Annual Report. It is also on the Trust’s donor plinth situated at the entrance of the College. The plinth (photo right) is crowned by a superb sculpture of a Bateleur Eagle created – and donated – in honour of all SAWCT donors by renowned bronze and wildlife sculptor, Rosie Sturgis. Join us on a visit to the College to experience its work first-hand and to meet the passionate people behind it all.

SAWCT donor giving status:

  • Bateleur Eagle – R1m and above
  • Martial Eagle – R500,000 and above
  • Black Eagle – R250,000 and above
  • Crowned Eagle – R100,000 and above
  • Fish Eagle – R50,000 and above
  • Tawny Eagle – R25,000 and above
  • African Hawk Eagle – R10,000 and above
  • Booted Eagle – under R10,000

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Alumni success stories

Southern African Wildlife College graduation 2017We are pleased to share this recent feedback from alumni who attended the College a few years ago, and attribute their success to their studies.

Willem Ponahazo, Namibia, SAWCT Scholar of 2012

Having studied at the SAWC for two years (2011 and 2012), I acquired the necessary skills to manage a National Park with its different components, (human resources, game, finances, and different land-use practices). Upon completion of my higher certificate in 2011, I was awarded a scholarship from the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) to continue with the Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation. I am now able to implement an integrated management plan, and enthusiastically plough back the skills I got to ensure that wildlife does co-exist with other land uses. I strongly urge other organizations to consider supporting ambitious and enthusiastic students who have a passion for nature and want to sustainably manage Africa’s biological diversity for future generations.

Dzoro Kwashirai, Zimbabwe, SAWCT Scholar of 2007

I returned home to my work in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, and was given the opportunity to show off my new skills and enhance a neglected campsite around a dam. Together with support from my colleagues, it was recreated into a place visitors would want to spend time.

In early 2008 I was promoted to a supervisory role, planning and executing anti-poaching and law enforcement activities of the park, planning and grading roads and fireguards, planning and executing early and late burning programs, as well as managing game water supply. I can only say thanks to the SAWC for equipping me with relevant and key skills. Poaching has been reduced, areas lost to wild fires have not gone beyond 11% annually, and deaths related to lack of surface water are negligible.

Progress in my career has helped me provide for my very healthy and happy family, with three kids all going to school. Thanks to SAWCT I have been given a life line!