Conservation organisations across the SADC region have a high demand for training in conservation and natural resource management at all levels, from field staff to management. This demand has been addressed to some extent by the Southern African Wildlife College and other training institutions across the SADC region who play a pivotal role in equipping a new generation of conservation managers with the necessary skills to deal with the key challenges facing conservation today.
Following the training received, alumni of the College and other training institutions are today managing some of the world's most biologically diverse areas and collaborating with a broad array of stakeholders including government, government agencies, conservation agencies, farmers, communities and businesses. The training received is essential to achieving lasting conservation results that address economic and ecological needs. This managerial level training takes place at a number of institutions, for example; at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC); Pretoria University; Tshwane University of Technology; College of African Wildlife Management (Mweka); Eastern and Southern Africa Institute (ESAMI); Mushandike College of Wildlife Management and Unisa.
A number of reports have been written which highlight the need for training to be conducted; not only at the number of sparsely distributed institutions across the region but also at country specific sites within protected areas. This allows capacity building to reach a greater number of staff in a cost-effective manner.
In 2010, The Southern African Wildlife College expanded its training focus by also providing on-site training and is in the process of establishing collaborative agreements with a number of training venues across the region where training can be offered in the country of need. Malawi (Liwonde National Park) and Mozambique (Maputo Special Reserve and Gorongoza) have signed such agreements, while Zambia (Conservation Lower Zambezi; Chunga; Nyamaluma) and Zimbabwe (Mushandike) have draft agreements in place with the SAWC. These agreements will allow training of short courses and field based training to take place on site on a sustainable and more financially viable basis.
These agreements open up the possibility of a regional approach, which will address conservation training needs at three different levels: •Training of Natural Resource Managers by the SAWC (50:50 College/Workplace split). •Training short courses at SAWC or at other SADC institutions (in-situ at institutions and via MoUs). •Training field staff in-situ (protected areas).