The Southern African Wildlife College trains all manner of people involved in conservation: from field rangers to conservation managers, researchers to field guides. Founded in 1997 to upskill protected area managers, these days the remit is to accelerate the journey of their students towards professional conservation management that has global reach.
With a holistic approach at the core of what they teach, even the location speaks of conservation. The College’s eco-friendly campus is situated within a large area bordering South Africa’s world-famous Kruger National Park, known as the Greater Kruger National Park. It gives students direct access to the natural environment emulating their workplaces in parks and reserves, while its design minimises the use of resources such as water and electricity.
The free-roaming wildlife and protected landscapes on their doorstep inspire students to conserve biologically diverse areas. Moreover, being surrounded by other land-use types, such as community-owned agricultural land and community trust areas, also brings more diversity to their training.
Supported by Peace Parks Foundation, the Southern African Wildlife College’s vision is to build the capacity of staff in wildlife areas, with partnerships vital to their success. By teaming up with conservation agencies, local communities, governments and others, over 18 000 people from 56 countries have so far been through their doors, with graduates working in 127 protected areas across Africa.
As CEO Theresa Sowry explains, the Southern African Wildlife College looks at the whole of the conservation landscape – not just tourism and park management – so that the complete conservation footprint in any landscape is elevated. Its programmes work towards a sustainable environment that is people-centred, with an awareness of agro- and wildlife economies.
By also adopting a rights-based approach, the College provides a way to make direct connections between human well-being and the environment. It does this by linking biodiversity conservation and human rights to secure livelihoods, create healthy and productive environments and ensure people live with dignity.
Courses range from 6-week programmes, such as basic field ranging, to year-long programmes in Nature Conservation. Read more here: https://wildlifecollege.org.za/