Update from the RISE Department – June ’24

Pan African Conservation Education

The Rural Initiatives for a Sustainable Environment (RISE) Unit and Pan African Conservation Education (PACE) partnership is dedicated to expanding access to PACE materials through our learning hub and enhancing environmental learning in the communities and schools we engage with. The SAWC PACE hub aids in distributing materials in South Africa and Mozambique and devising new activities, content, and approaches to increase the breadth and depth of usage. 

In the PACE network

To foster more connections and enhance collaboration among partners in the PACE network, Penny Fraser from PACE and Sboniso Phakathi from the SAWC organised a three-part PACE Conservation Educators Learning Circle for conservation organisations in Southern and Central Africa. The learning sessions focused on stakeholder engagement, indemnity policies and child protection, and facilitating environmental learning. Sboniso led this 3-day interactive learning series for representatives from conservation organisations in Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and South Africa. The pilot initiative in the PACE – SAWC partnership was successful, and participants requested a continuation and expansion of this programme to support and strengthen organisations’ environmental learning and programme management efforts further.

Engaging in the PACE network has also led to developing an additional partnership between the SAWC and VulPro. The latter is a Hartebeesport-based Vulture conservation and rehabilitation non-governmental organisation whose mission is to protect African vultures through collaboration and innovation. They do vulture research and education, rehabilitation and captive breeding. The partnership, supported by PACE, seeks to establish a community and schools project in Limpopo to support vulture conservation efforts in Moletji and Blouberg reserves. This partnership kicked off with the SAWC & PACE distributing 2000 educational booklets to VulPro in Port Elizabeth, a positive step in our joint education efforts.


The SAWC also distributed various Portuguese-translated PACE materials to three (3) national parks in Mozambique. These are widely used; some are shared with community governance resource boards and schools. Zinave National Park took it further by beginning to air the PACE short films in evening community cinemas during sporting days.

The new PACE materials continue to create new avenues for lower-barrier relationship building and provide accessible knowledge products for diverse audiences.

Makuleke Landscape Restoration

This project addresses land degradation in the Makuleke communal areas by enabling the affected communities to lead the restoration process and take ownership of landscape management. 

Towards the end of 2023, CommonLand Foundation, which focuses on landscape restoration through an approach and methodology subscribed to by the SAWC in the Diploma—4 Returns Framework, expressed interest in potentially becoming a partner in the project. Through this, some funding has been secured for the project’s initiation phase.  

To build on the Makuleke Contractual National Park’s successful land restitution process, we aim to collaborate with the beneficiary community to enable community-led landscape management. Our focus will be on applying the 4 Returns Framework, with an emphasis on ecosystem restoration over a generational period spanning 20 years or more. 

This process aligns with the intent of the Great Kruger Spatial Development Framework (GKSDF) and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Areas (GLTFCA) Corridor Development land use planning. 

The SAWC and the Makuleke Community signed a collaboration agreement in 2022. The project works collaboratively with four (4) key leadership structures: the Royal leadership, the contractual National park, the Communal Property Association, and the Traditional Council as land custodians. 

The Makuleke Community accepted the project concept in January 2024, and a grant agreement was secured with the SAWC and Commonland in February 2024. This agreement focuses on capacity development and a short learning programme linked to land restoration in Makuleke. It provides one year’s support for capacity development. 

The collaboration with Commonland and 1000 Landscapes for capacity & material development has been secured. The capacity development process in the Makuleke Community began in January 2024 and is currently in its third training process cycle. An accredited bespoke training programme for the Makuleke Community, titled “Community-lead practice in landscape-oriented resource use,” was concluded in June 2024. Bi-monthly project sessions have been set up, and a pilot of the short learning programme is planned for the fourth quarter of 2024. 

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