A message from the Board of Directors
We have once again successfully finalized another year of our responsibility to ensure the delivery of education, training and skills development, whilst contributing to the natural resource management of the southern African region. Amidst the welcome and generous infrastructure development funded by the German Development Bank via KfW and with scarce resources, the Southern African Wildlife College has once again been able to ensure that the required training was conducted whilst carrying out its mandate and fulfilling its objectives.
Given the changing dynamics and context within which the college operates, we as conservationists are not surprised to be confronted by adverse working conditions. Rhino and elephant poaching continues across the continent, and those of us involved remain committed and on guard to help conserve and protect these two iconic species. The College as a recognized private Higher Education and Training institute continues to provide the necessary training, capacity building and support needed to fight against illegal exploitation and trade of these and other resources. In addition it is exploring various technologies to counter poaching, whilst also providing applied learning to ensure that people can successfully implement what they have learnt.
The Board is proud to share in the College’s successes. The canine Unit based at the College for example has contributed significantly to the fight against poaching in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Areas, further facilitating the work being done by conservation managers and field rangers in both state and privately owned protected areas.
As a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) centre of specialisation, the College continues to provide training for Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs), with a view to boosting collaboration in wildlife management, community development and improved protection of resources. it has also provided training and skills development in community development projects as well as in promoting research in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Areas. this is bolstered by continuing collaboration on various projects with universities across the SADC region, United States of America, Australia, China, New Zealand and India.
As a Board we extend our sincere gratitude to the donors of the College who have provided a strong pillar of support by way of channeling timely resources that benefit the students being trained and the projects being conducted by the SAWC. We also note with appreciation that additional donors are coming on board to support the College’s endeavours, with increasing support from those with whom the College is already associated. Whilst this generous support is necessary and our sincere wish is that it continues, the College has also launched various discussions on its sustainability to ensure that it can, by its own means, fund the basic requirements which will allow it to operate and deliver quality services.
In carrying out its mandate, during the year under review, the College extended the ties of cooperation with other educational institutions and in addition, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) of Mozambique, to train the candidates from Mozambique. The MoU is significant as it defines the determination of ANAC to help secure funding to contribute to the training of its students, as a way of also guaranteeing more ownership from the side of Mozambique.
We are aware that the Southern African Wildlife College must maintain relationships with surrounding communities, and we are continuing with our support in order to help empower the college to obtain maximum collaboration.
We recognise the challenges that are still faced by both parties. The College is however not measuring its efforts to purely ensure inclusivity, but on the success of real engagement with local communities, which will allow for the strengthening of the College as one of Africa’s premier conservation skills and training facilities, supported by modern policies, principles and practices whilst also securing livelihoods across the region.
It is very clear in our minds that the College would not exist without allies, partnerships, friends and products to deliver to the countries and stakeholders with which it engages. We as a board therefore once again reaffirm our commitment to help guide the College in shaping the future of conservation through innovation, education and skills development.
Dr. Bartolomeu Soto
Chair of the SAWC Board
See the Southern African Wildlife College’s comprehensive 2017 Annual Review by clicking here.