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Southern African Wildlife College Graduation Ceremony

3 December 2008

Southern African WIldlife College Graduation Ceremony

Nine months had passed since an enthusiastic group of park rangers converged at the Southern African Wildlife College from conservation areas stretching from Kenya to the Cape, ready to undertake a Certificate Course in Natural Resource Management.

The graduation ceremony for these full time students was held late November with representatives from prominent conservation areas in Southern Africa in attendance.

The College's unique training focus aims at equipping the field staff of parks in Africa with the necessary skills to manage their areas more effectively and to deal with the current challenges these conservation areas face. Most of the students attending the full time Certificate Course in Natural Resource Management offered by the College had been working as field rangers in their respective parks for several years and underwent training to strengthen both their field as well as management skills.

Peace Parks Foundation and WWF SA have been working closely with the College since it opened its doors in 1997 by way of management and fundraising support. Their efforts have resulted in several bursaries being provided to students to attend training at the College by organisations such as Afrisam, Anglo American, De Beers, Daimler, Tony & Lisette Lewis Foundation, McKenzie Foundation, KFW and several private individuals.

Theresa Sowry, the Executive Manager of Training at the College commented on the privilege of having students from six different African countries and 28 conservation areas represented in the class this year and the opportunity this presented to the students to exchange ideas and compare the different management approaches in each of their conservation areas and countries respectively.

This year's ceremony was again made possible through sponsorship from ABSA Bank. Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa's Manager: Corporate Social Responsibility re-enforced their commitment to capacity building our future natural resource managers by providing a bursary to the value of R70 000 for one of the top graduates to attend further training at the College in 2009.

A highlight of the ceremony was the keynote address by Dr John Hanks, a prominent conservationist and instrumental in the establishment of the College. His wealth of experience with management issues of parks in Africa was evident as he shared anecdotes, insights and above all, words of encouragement to the graduates and audience.

The graduates were robed by Dr David Mabunda, CEO of SANParks and also the new Chairman of the College Board of Directors.

Alstone Mwanza, a field ranger from South Luangwa in Zambia, took this year's award of Top Student of 2008 and shared the eagerness of his fellow students to implement their knowledge and skills as they return home.

3rd December 2008

Financial Gazette ZimbabweStaff Reporter 1/22/2004