We’re committed to developing and building capacity in communities living adjacent to the Kruger National Park. In our work we aim to enable people and institutions to participate effectively in community conservation, communal land reform, the wildlife economy and livelihood resilience processes, in support of their livelihoods as well as towards equitable benefit sharing.
The establishment of the Rural Initiatives for a Sustainable Environment has strengthened our approach towards a sustainable environment, which is people – centred focusing on the social dimensions of conservation and governance in collaboration with communities.
This is also supported by our adoption of a rights-based approach which provides a way of making direct connections between human well-being and the environment by linking biodiversity conservation and human rights in order to secure livelihoods, create healthy and productive environments, and ensure people live with dignity.
Closer to home, our neighbouring communities include 15 villages represented within the Mnisi traditional Authority, this is where many of our staff live. We liaise closely with various community structures and community based organisations in building sustainable relationships to enable us to focus on areas of strategic importance, both for the communities and the College. These collaborations include areas where we can achieve maximum sustainable community development impacts.
Where possible, the College continues to facilitate the establishment and growth of sustainable and commercially viable small and medium enterprises in these communities. In our approach, we facilitate projects, training, and linkages between businesses; and offer procurement, entrepreneurial and technical support in line with our own vision, mission and corporate governance.
Our long term goal is always to form strategic, sound, transparent and meaningful partnerships with the communities, civil society and government as we deal with community needs in an integrated and sustainable way.
Tourism is the largest employer in the communities that border the Greater Kruger National Park area as well as the Southern African Wildlife College. Without income, direct and indirect beneficiaries of the wildlife tourism economy are now suffering.
With the arrival of COVID-19, we partnered with local NPO Nourish to raise funds to help families survive these trying times, where many have lost their livelihoods.
In the first two months this initiative fed 368 families with parcels to sustain them each for about one month.
All the dry ingredients such as rice, maize meal, flour, sugar, tea, canned foods and soaps were supplied through Spar Hoedspruit and the fruit and vegetable packs were bought through Benedict Mhlongo, a farmer in Acornhoek community.
The overall value of each food parcel is R520 and we hope that these supplies will each family of 4-8 people three weeks to one month.
This will be an on-going initiative for the rest of 2020 since many lodges in our surrounding area have announced that they will only be reopening around November 2020.
We have a list of quite a few families that we hope to keep on supporting, so for anyone looking to help us with this cause please make a donation of any size to Nourish through Paypal link below.
“The real joy of our work is that we have the opportunity to engage all sectors of society, because not a living soul fails to comprehend that we all depend on the environment. With this understanding many things become possible.” ~ Sboniso Phakathi