In April 2016, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) 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 Conservation and Environmental bridging course. The bridging course, entitled: “Youth Access Conservation and Environmental Education” exposes school-leavers to theory and practical application of environmental education and the life of a field ranger in a conservation area. Learners attend the SAWC for four months, following which they are work-placed with host conservation organisations in nature reserves for two months, for post-training experiential learning. This provides them with first-hand experience and a real understanding of a career in nature conservation. CITW learners from across our Regions have attended the course over the last two years, with 16 learners attending the course in 2016 and 20 learners in 2017.
This is a particularly exciting initiative, as scholarships, internships and ultimately job creation form a huge part of Children in the Wilderness’ programme structure. Now, not only are we able to reach children throughout their school career through Eco-Clubs and annual camps, but we can continue the conservation journey of those that show a keen interest in environmental issues by providing them with the opportunity to expand on their knowledge and gain an accredited qualification at the one of the region’s leading conservation training institutions.
SAWC provides these 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 are covered by CITW.