The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
Peace parks are vital to the conservation of biodiversity in southern Africa. The preservation of our natural resources is crucial to the maintenance and growth of the region’s tourism industry and as a result of that, sustainable economic development. In order to ensure that peace parks would have the necessary trained personnel to cater to tourists, the Southern African Wildlife College opened its doors in 1997 with the express purpose of training people in the skills needed to manage peace parks.
Since inception, the college has trained more than 3000 STUDENTS from southern African countries, including Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, in everything from computer skills and communication strategies to overhauling a 4×4 and dissecting an impala.
The college trains existing natural resource managers from the region in conservation, eco-tourism, administration, community development and natural resource management skills. Every year 50 natural resource managers, of whom 80 percent are women between the ages of 18 and 45 years, are selected for training. The trained managers will be able to supervise operational activities in order to maximize efficiency; exercise leadership of people involved in these activities in order to enhance their performance and productivity; implement, supervise and evaluate management planning practices, e.g. integrated catchment management, plant and animal management, security and legal aspects and cultural heritage management, in order to monitor progress and performance against planned goals; understand ecosystem components and processes; use firearms competently and maintain area integrity; and promote conservation understanding through cooperation with local communities, environmental education and tourism facilitation.
The inhibiting factor is that most of these students receive little or no financial support from their governments and thus need to source their own funding to be able to develop their skills and knowledge.
Fiona Macleod from the weekly Mail & Guardian interviewed some of the students and wrote the following:
Miriam Namushi comes from a dirt-poor family in rural Zambia kept alive by women. She knows the meaning of relying on natural resources for survival. Miriam Namushi comes from a dirt-poor family in rural Zambia kept alive by women. She knows the meaning of relying on natural resources for survival.
“As a woman, I am fighting to keep the wild animals for future generations. People say environmental crimes are not like stealing or murdering, but I trying to show them the environment matters”. Namushi prosecutes between 12 and 15 cases a month in western Zambia.
The Zambia Wildlife Authority nominated Namushi for training at the college. Most of the students, like Namushi, were separated from their children for a year to study. However, like other women graduated with her, Namushi believes getting more women involved in environmental matters is imperative for the future of the planet.
Peace Parks Foundation has launched the Adopt-A-Student programme in 2005, to help students like Elizabeth Mbenya (please see PDF file) or Miriam Namushi to improve their qualifications, develop their skills, obtain the latest information on natural resource management and adapt new technologies to their work, especially in the use of Geographic Information Systems, through their studies at the Southern African Wildlife College. The interaction of the students from all over southern Africa also eases cross-border liaison once they have returned to the various wildlife authorities.
The first sponsor of this programme is Charly Graf, from Germany, who sponsored one student from Malawi, Henry Kadaume, during 2005. Charly attended Henry’s graduation ceremony in October 2005 and describes the experience as “the most exciting and unforgettable experience of my life”. As a result, he decided to renew his support for another student in 2006.
The gift will be a once-off donation for one year to the amount of SA Rand 55,000 or US $ 8,500 or EUR 7,000 or GBP 4,800. Donors could of course adopt more than one student. The donation will cover accommodation, training, books, transport, tuition, field-trips, meals and refreshments of the student.
The donations options are as follows:
Cheque or Postal Order payable to Peace Parks Foundation
Credit Card: Visa or Mastercard
Benefits of the Adopt-A-Student programme:
Tax-efficient donations in Germany, UK, USA and South Africa
A special certificate from the Adopt-A-Student programme, acknowledging the sponsor’s specific level of support.
Regular feedback about the progress made by the adopted student
Each donor will have the option to make a bequest to Peace Parks Foundation in her/his will.
Every corporation, foundation, trust, embassy or individual can Adopt-A-Student. They only need to fill in this electronic form and the payment option. Otherwise, you could call Guillermo de los Santos or Jacques Dommisse at +27 21 887 6188, or email email@example.com to obtain more information about this worthy programme.