Coaching Conservation 

Coaching Conservation and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) have established a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership aimed at expanding Children’s Education for Sustainable Development throughout Southern Africa. 

In 2023, Coaching Conservation achieved significant milestones. The Bush Rapid Awareness Programme, employing the Learning from Wildlife model, engaged 114 children from local communities. This immersive experience focused on fostering emotional connections, empathy, and care for wildlife, with Black and White Rhinos, Vultures, and African Elephants serving as animal coaches. The program included applied conservation learning, games, and afternoon game drives. Evenings were filled with activities such as animal charades, educational cinema, and spending nights in protected areas. The support from Friends of African Wildlife was instrumental in making this learning experience possible. 

Another area of impactful collaboration involves the training of coaches. This allows organizations to provide employment opportunities in vulnerable communities across the region. Ultimately, this enables an increase in our reach of programme delivery.  

In 2023, the jointly designed, developed, and the SAWC institutionally accredited train-the-trainer program reached its highest number to date, with three training groups and 33 trainees. The year commenced with a Coaching Conservation train-the-trainer course, welcoming 13 prospective coaches from diverse contexts. Participants included four coaches from Wild Entrust in Botswana, three from South Africa (SAWC), and six from Amakhala in the Eastern Cape. 

The second group comprised 11 prospective coaches, including six new SAWC trainers and five trainers from the Good Work Foundation, participating from 19 – 23 April. The third and final team included nine new trainers from Wild Entrust in Botswana. 

These coach training sessions aim to build local capacity, covering all aspects of programme delivery, from theoretical knowledge to practical teaching experience. Upon completion, successful students receive an accredited SAWC short course certificate, equipping them as competent coaches with the required knowledge, safety orientation, technical competence, and enthusiasm to deliver engaging and informative lessons. This collaborative effort underscores the commitment to conservation education and community empowerment across the region. 

The Groen Sebenza Programme: 

In February, our team welcomed nine (9) graduates who joined the Groen Sebenza programme, bringing with them a shared aspiration to grow professionally and contribute to the objectives of the College. 

Over two years, these interns have been strategically placed in different departments within the College. Two interns are actively engaged in the Community and Youth Development Department, another two contribute to the Applied Learning Research and Development Department, four are dedicated to the RISE Unit, and three are stationed at Manyeleti Game Reserve. Since their integration, the team has been actively participating in a myriad of activities and initiatives with their respective host organizations. This includes community education, support for children’s digital learning, environmental education, involvement in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), contribution to entomological research, reserve maintenance, participation in conferences and short course training, and some have continued pursuing postgraduate studies in their respective fields. 

As we reflect on their contributions and achievements, we eagerly anticipate another year of collaboration and growth alongside this dynamic group of young professionals. 

Leave a Reply