Annual Review 2014
The year under review was a successful, exciting and challenging one for the College. Successful in that student occupancy rates reached an all time high and challenging given the pressure that this has put on current facilities. This will ease now that PHASE II of the College’s infrastructure development is under way.
The Year Under Review
Strategic Planning & Relationships
In 2014, the College took strategic steps to operate effectively in its quest for financial sustainability, whilst staying true to its vision & and mission. The concept of “business units” rather than training departments was implemented which has led to the College being more business driven in meeting its financial targets. Its 2015 2020 business plan will follow on from the strategy to consolidate some and diversify others of its training products. This is in line with the national development strategy and with the needs of the conservation sector.
During the year under review, the focus was on community-based natural resource management to help develop the region’s wildlife economy and on field ranger training to help counter the rhino poaching scourge. Furthermore, the College established and renewed strategic long-term relationships within the sector. MoUs with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the Kruger National Park (KNP) resulted. This presented business opportunities in the skills development field that resulted in improved efficiencies for the College.
Training aimed at long-lasting Conservation Impact
Training includes the protection of the rights of ordinary people in buffer zones, who are the ultimate stewards of land and natural resources. The new business plan will contribute to the goals and objectives of the National Biodiversity Economy Development Strategy and targets of DEA’s Vision 2024. Projects developed in partnership with and funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund are indicative thereof.
The College’s flagship Protected Area Management programmes, designed to achieve long-lasting conservation results across the region, are now in their 17th year: The Higher Certificate in Nature Conservation – Implementation and Leadership; and the Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation – Transfrontier Conservation Management. Fifty full-time and two part-time students enrolled for these programmes in 2014. The students hailed from seven different African countries (including Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia,Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho) and eight different national, provincial, private and community organisations in South Africa.
Apart from the Higher Education and Training students, over 1 500 students were trained in 2014. This brings to over 12 000 the number of students trained at this SADC-recognised centre of specialization in conservation education, training and skills development.
Liaison – SADC Institutions & Organisations
Two successful student and alumni workplace visits were completed. The workplace visits determine the strengths and weaknesses of the training provided and its relevance in the current SADC conservation milieu. It is important to know what challenges alumni face on returning to their jobs to establish any emerging patterns. The feedback was addressed within the relevant modules.
Articulation opportunities for our HET students into other academic institutions’ programmes were also ensured during a visit to theNamibia Polytechnic, and with Mangosutho University of Technology.
The College hosted another successful rhino crime prevention workshop. Attendees met with identified technology partners to discuss the development of the Rhino Crime Scene Simulator, and the Manyeleti Game Reserve fence, early-detection crime prevention project. An extended workshop and rhino marking operation followed this. The draft proposal was submitted at a meeting with the Department of Environmental Affairs.
Apart from the year-long certificate programmes, the College’s business units focus on Protected Area Integrity including wildlife guardianship field ranger training and aerial patrols, Youth Access and Community Development as well as Sustainable Use and Field Guiding.
Focal points, which link into all the College’s training programmes, include Academic Compliancy and Quality Management as well as Innovation, Development and Environmental Best Practice, together with Community-based Natural Resource Management and the development of the Wildlife Economy.
In addition, the College has been awarded various projects by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the National Treasury’s JobsFund, which include a two-year Enterprise Development Project and a three-year Community Ranger’s project.
The College has also now partially paid back the loan to the Southern African Wildlife College Trust, which enabled the acquisition of African Field Ranger Training Services (AFRTS), thereby bolstering its field ranger training capacity.
In June 2014, the College won the prestigious Mail & Guardian ‘Greening the Future’ award in the newly established category ‘Skills for Sustainability’. The College was also a runner-up for the 2014 Rhino Conservation Awards in the category ‘Best Awareness, Education and Fundraising’ for rhino protection and conservation.
Our sincere thanks go to all the donors and stakeholders who support the work of the College. The College’s success depends on the support and collaboration of conservation groups and organisations, government agencies, as well as stakeholders and partners such as WWF South Africa, Peace Parks Foundation, SAWCT and the donor community.
See the Southern African Wildlife College’s comprehensive 2014 Annual Review by clicking here.