At an historic meeting on 2 May 2019, at the College of African Wildlife Management Mweka (CAWM) in Tanzania, CAWM and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), pledged to work together to find appropriate and scalable solutions to the conservation of African wildlife through capacity building and development.
Formalised by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two SADC recognised centres of specialisation in the training of wildlife conservation professionals, the collaboration between CAWM and the SAWC will help develop much needed capacity for the conservation of the continent’s natural resources and associated biodiversity, to the benefit of people and wildlife.
“In order to have the biggest impact on African conservation, training institutions need to speak the same language and stand together regionally. We are extremely excited to have our two colleges showing common purpose going forward,” said Prof Jafari Kideghesho, Rector of the CAWM, and Ms. Theresa Sowry, CEO of the SAWC, in a joint statement.
The two Colleges have a long-standing history but the main aim of their meeting was to establish mutual commitment between them and to map out how best they can work together going forward. Their focus is geared towards training on new and appropriate technologies for conservation (such as SMART), which need to be rolled out at scale to have an impact on the management of wildlife areas. Specific reference was made to the use of SMART as a tool to minimise illegal wildlife trade, a pressing issue facing conservation globally.
In addition to the standardisation of SMART programmes, the co-development and implementation of a ‘Responsible Resource Use’ module was identified as one of the first joint projects. The module will be included in the training programmes for all students pursuing the natural resource management courses at both institutions.
“Unless we all stand together and understand the importance of responsible use of natural resources, we will never be able to effectively work towards achieving the conservation goal. Tourism in all its facets, be it consumptive or non-consumptive, must be conducted in a responsible manner to ensure the long term sustainability of the resources and community benefits. We need to train our students to understand and appreciate this essential concept,” said Kideghesho and Sowry.
The meeting between CAWM and the SAWC was made possible by the generous and far-sighted support of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Its continued commitment to support regional training hubs in Africa is helping develop crucial capacity by ensuring that conservation professionals are empowered to perform their work efficiently and effectively through appropriate training and skills development.
“The Royal Foundation firmly believes in African institutions working together to find appropriate and scalable African solutions to capacity development issues and we’re excited about what this means for conservation and people,” said The Foundation’s Head of Conservation Programmes, Dr. Naomi Doak.
The meeting between CAWM and the SAWC follows the SAWC’s recent signing of a MoU with Zambia for their Chunga Ranger Training Institute to become a satellite facility under the SAWC’s accreditation. The College is also in talks with Mozambique and Angola to facilitate better training capacity in the region as part of its commitment to train beyond boundaries.
“Training beyond boundaries means training beyond the fences, across different countries, cultures, and religions, whilst also training and learning beyond our own boundaries, so that the benefits of protecting wildlife are widespread. We share mutual objectives when it comes to building the skills, knowledge and capacity of the conservation leaders of the future,” said Sowry.
The history of this College dates back to 1961, when the Commission for TechnicalCooperation in Africa (CCTA) and IUCN organised an International Symposium in Arusha with a theme “Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Modern African States” to deliberate on the future of wildlife conservation in the post-colonial era. Training of African youths in wildlife management was one of the main items on the agenda and gave rise to the founding of the College in 1963. The College offers degree and non-degree programmes in Wildlife Management and Wildlife-based Tourism. The College curricula is designed to address the needs of learners, professionals and other stakeholders of the wildlife and tourism sectors. Since its establishment in 1963, the College has trained about 8,500 students in long courses ranging from certificate, diploma, degree and postgraduate levels. The graduands come from 28 African countries and 26 non-African countries. The College also conducts a series of short and tailor-made courses based on client demands. The clients for short courses hail from within and outside Tanzania.
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