Given the legacy and evolution of the long-standing relationship between South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), the two entities recently entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to formalise their collaboration and cooperation moving forward.
The primary areas of collaboration include corporate governance, training, communication, fundraising opportunities, community engagement, and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), where the Kruger National Park is located.
The Memorandum in turn speaks to collective efforts to protect and conserve biodiversity. This via the facilitation of a landscape approach to integrated and inclusive conservation that is beneficial to nature and people, whilst also supporting and promoting research and monitoring of priority collaborative projects.
Both parties will seek opportunities for collaboration using a holistic approach to applied and inclusive conservation management. The formalisation of this partnership and the recognition of the SAWC as a strategic partner to SANParks underpins the important role that the SAWC plays within the conservation sector, and in particular to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The College’s association with SANParks dates back to 1993 when the SAWC’s feasibility studies were underway. Discussions took place with interested and affected parties across the region, including SANParks (then the National Parks Board), which subsequently led to establishment of the College in 1996 by the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA).
“SANParks is the management authority of the Kempiana Contractual Park (Farm SpringValley) on which the College is situated. The SAWC in turn leases the area from WWF-SA for the purposes of running a conservation-based training college,” said the SAWC’s CEO Theresa Sowry.
“SANParks has over the years provided strategic operational and corporate governance support to the SAWC. As an accredited private, independent higher education and training institution that specialises in applied conservation education, training and skills development, the College has been a long standing service provider to SANParks. We are excited to continue this relationship whilst also striving to determine best practice across a number of mutual projects,” Mrs Sowry added.
A steering committee for the proper functioning of the agreement is being set up to facilitate, coordinate and drive the activities under the agreement.
In furthering the continuum, the SAWC has, as part of its strategic planning, again cemented relationships with its four founder partners who are invested in the SAWC’s sustainability moving forward. These include WWF-SA as the land and building owner, Peace Parks Foundation as a long term partner and funding supporter, SANParks responsible for the land management and contractual national park, and SADC who recognises the College as a centre of specialization for capacity development.