An article by George Kamuzhu Phiri, SAWC SRC President, on the Work Integrated Learning component of the Higher and Advanced Certificate programmes.                  

Going back home after being away for three months is always a happy moment for every student. However on our last day we were cordially reminded by our manager Dr. Yolanda Pretorius and our course coordinator Ms. Fortunate Mathonsi how important the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is as it will give us the opportunity to put in place what we learnt during the first semester at the SAWC. The WIL is an important component of our course as it helps us to implement our new-found knowledge back in the workplace, especially modules such as Conservation Research, Biodiversity Management, Catchment Management and Biology.

Working in a conservation area, particularly in Africa, has always been a challenge influenced by lack of manpower, lack of equipment and lack of funds. Completing a WIL assignment while catching up at work after being away for three months and regularly being sent on extended field patrols to make up for the extended absence adds pressure to the completion of the WIL assignment. Added to this, we naturally wished to spend time with our families too. Children grow in our absence and families have to learn to cope by themselves for months at a time. We are grateful for the availability of our coordinator and manager to every student who needed help or guidance during their WIL. Being able to call, message or email them made it easier for us to be successful in our assignments.   

Fortunately the determination of the students proved to be more powerful than the challenges as seen by the morale and the high spirits when the students returned and evidenced by the joyous welcome we received from Dr. Yolanda and Ms. Fortunate.  

We are very hopeful and expectant that we will gain more knowledge this second semester. We all look forward to graduating with good results as we continue to learn, supported by our dedicated lecturers.

Below are the pictures of the students during their WIL component:

Bertha Chipanda Nkoka of Kasungu-Lukusuzi TFCA doing miniSASS for catchment – Malawi
Elelwani Mulaudzi of Makuya Nature Reserve doing the fencing for Infrastructure – South Africa
George Kamuzhu Phiri of South Luangwa National Park putting up a camera trap doing the Conservation-Biodiversity WIL modules – Zambia