The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) and the Government of Zambia, acting through the Ministry of Tourism and Arts (MOTA), recently signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise their collaboration to provide world-class conservation education, training and skills development in southern Africa.
The MoU sets out a broad framework within which the parties seek to establish cooperation, collaboration and support skills development for MOTA staff and stakeholders in the wildlife management sector. The parties will establish a formal working relationship in respect of the areas of wildlife management that cover institutional capacity, including but not limited to applied learning research, community development and governance, ecological management, institutional capacity and more.
In a joint statement, the MoU’s signatories Theresa Sowry (CEO SAWC) and Rev. Dr. Howard Sikwela(Permanent Secretary MOTA) said: “We have entered an era of inclusive conservation. 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. Zambia and the SAWC share mutual objectives when it comes to building the skills, knowledge and capacity of the conservation leaders of the future. Working together, we believe that our students and conservation in the region will benefit from our collaboration.”
One of the most exciting aspects of this transnational collaboration is that the MoU establishes Chunga Ranger Training Base in Zambia’s Kafue National Park as a satellite training site for the SAWC. Chunga has hitherto been the primary facility for providing basic and specialist ranger training to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Zambia and will now offer training under the SAWC’s accreditation.
“We are very excited to have this opportunity to work with our Zambian colleagues to increase the College’s footprint and improve access to training for rangers and conservation professionals. As a SADC centre of specialisation, we believe that this satellite base will allow us to deliver on our mandate to train across boundaries even more effectively,” said Sowry.
Another critical area for collaboration is building capacity in the management of human wildlife conflict – an essential element of wildlife management – ecotourism and training to realise the economic benefits of conservation.
“MOTA is committed to supporting the sound management of conservation issues and is determined to use the wildlife management areas in Zambia as a key resource for sustainable development and to promote the equitable distribution of its benefits. We see our collaboration with the SAWC as enabling this,” said Rev. Dr. Howard Sikwela.
While the College’s primary base will remain adjacent to South Africa’s Kruger National Park, being able to undertake training and capacity development at Chunga (SAWC satellite) Ranger Training facility in Kafue, and at Nyamaluma Community Based Natural Resources Management College in Mfuwe, opens up exciting options for students and trainers. This further builds on two decades of experience working with Zambia’s wildlife authorities.
“Many rangers trained at Chunga have gone on to complete further training at our base in South Africa and no doubt there will be opportunities for students from there to train in Zambia. Our ties are deep and based on a mutual respect for people, wildlife, and our understanding of the challenges facing conservation in the region,” said Sowry.
Specific training needs assessments present another opportunity for collaboration, including for transfrontier conservation areas. Other points agreed on in the MoU include collaborating on the upgrade of the Chunga campus, assistance with developing training expertise and guidance with regards to curriculum development, quality management and certification of ranger programmes.
Issued by: The Southern African Wildlife College
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