Words from past student, George Kamuzhu

My name is George Kamuzhu Phiri also known as Geepak. I was born in a wildlife-rich area in South Luangwa National Park in Eastern Zambia. In 2012 I began my conservation journey and started volunteering as a trainee guide at Thorncroft Lodge. Two years later I was one of the first 35 people selected by a government agency, called TEVETA, to undergo Safari Guides training on government sponsorship. In 2016, I applied to the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), and was accepted for a higher certificate in Nature Conservation. This was made possible through the Zambian Carnivore Programme who sponsored me. 

The main challenges I have faced in my career are financial challenges. I married early and I had a family of my own at a young age so it was very difficult for me to raise money to take myself to college or university but luckily TEVETA and the Zambian Carnivore Programme changed all of that for me.

In 2018, I proceeded to pursue the Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation and Trans-frontier Conservation Management at the SAWC. I was selected as the Student Representative Council (SRC) president and I graduated with distinction as the top student in financial management. In early 2019, I started working as a research assistant for the Zambian Carnivore Programme and later that year I went back to the SAWC to undergo flight training to become a bush pilot. Thereafter, I was enrolled at the African Airborne Aviation flight training school under the SAWC. 

Upon completion of my studies at the SAWC, so many doors have opened for me. The type of training I received has placed me on a level whereby I am highly employable because of the skills I acquired. Becoming a pilot, which has been my childhood dream, has been my greatest achievement thus far.

I would like to thank SAWC for their endless efforts in providing education beyond boundaries for nations to protect their natural resources and help local people take charge in how to best manage them. I will apply the skills I learnt at the College to better the lives of my fellow community members through education and fighting for community rights to take charge of their own natural resources.

To my sponsors, the Zambia Carnivore Programme, Thornicroft Lodge and Countess Sylvia Labia, I say a huge thank you for providing me with the opportunity to get the best education from this incredible institution.

My future career objective is to see a situation whereby the local people are able to manage and utilise their natural resources in a manner which is sustainable so they can uplift their own lives.

Our sincere thanks is also extended to Friends of African Wildlife who sponsored George’s studies in 2017 when he completed the Higher Certificate in Nature Conservation: Implementation and Leadership. He subsequently received a scholarship from the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) in 2018 to complete the Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation: Transfrontier Conservation Management.