Children in the Wilderness (CITW) has partnered with the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) to provide opportunities for CITW participants to build on their environmental education by attending a six-month wildlife bridging course. The first group of 15 CITW students from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are scheduled to start the course in July.
“This is a particularly exciting initiative, as scholarships, internships and ultimately job creation form a huge part of CITW’s programme structure. Now, not only are we able to reach children throughout their school career through Eco-Clubs and CITW camps, but for those that show a keen interest in environmental issues, we can continue their conservation journey by providing them with the opportunity to expand on their knowledge and gain an accredited qualification at the one of the region’s leading environmental institutions”, says Dr Sue Snyman, CITW Regional Programme Director.
The bridging course, entitled: “Youth Access Programme: Introduction to Conservation and Environmental Education” will expose school leavers to theory and practical application of environmental education and the life of a field ranger in a conservation area. Learners will attend SAWC for four months, following which they will be work-placed with host conservation organisations in nature reserves for two months for post-training experiential learning. This will provide them with first-hand experience and a real understanding of a career in nature conservation.
SAWC will provide bursaries to the CITW students, made possible by a grant from United for Wildlife, supported by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry. Each bursary is worth R60 000, which covers tuition fees, accommodation, uniforms and study material. All other costs, such as passports, work permits and transportation will be covered by CITW.
“We are really excited to work together with CITW to extend this amazing programme to target youth in the wider SADC region”, says Sboniso Phakathi, SAWC’s Community Liaison Coordinator. “The funding made available by the Royal Foundation has been instrumental in allowing us to launch this pilot project, which will help us build capacity amongst our youth to further their careers in conservation and environmental action.”
CITW is a non-profit organisation supported by Africa’s leading sustainable ecotourism company, Wilderness Safaris. It is an environmental and life skills educational programme that focuses on sustainable conservation through leadership development. The programme currently operates in six countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. By the end of 2015, CITW had run camp programmes for over 5 600 children, with more than 2 500 children participating in 58 Eco-Clubs in 2015 and 302 children in its scholarship programme.
The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) was conceptualised in 1993 and established in 1996 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, South Africa (WWF-SA). Since its inception, and with the support of WWF-SA and Peace Parks Foundation, the College has trained over 14 000 people from 46 countries, mostly from the SADC region, in natural resource management and conservation practices. By expanding its reach and becoming involved in training ventures and projects off-site, the College has also capacity-built over 2 000 previously disadvantaged South Africans. Click here for more information.
Further to our partnership with the Southern African Wildlife College, we thought you’d like to see the students’ pledge of commitment.
“Pledge of Commitment: I ___________ (name of Pledger), in my capacity as a Nature Conservation and Environmental Education bridging course student enrolled at the Southern African Wildlife College and a beneficiary of the Children in the Wilderness programme, hereby wish to make the following personal commitments:
• I pledge to actively attend every class/session – taking good notes and participating actively in class/field activities and discussions.
• I pledge to perform at my highest level at all times. I want to succeed in my studies.
• I pledge to optimally use the academic resources that SAWC has to offer me and to seek assistance when I need it.
• I pledge to complete all assigned course work and assignments and to complete them on time.
• I pledge to submit a brief monthly report to CITW by the 7th of each month detailing my personal experience and progress with regards to my studies.
- I pledge, upon completion of my studies, and on my return to my home country, to share newly acquired skills and knowledge with my community and continue contributing to environmental conservation efforts.
• I pledge, to where possible, engage my community in environmental/conservation projects and to ensure sustainable practices in my community.”