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Monday, June 17, 2024

Ranger training facility for SADC region

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

AN €11 million training facility and programme for wildlife rangers and Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) managers in the SADC region has been launched.

The facility was launched at the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) Heads of State Summit which is underway in Zambia.

The regional initiative is designed to provide needs-driven, workplace-related training for wildlife rangers and TFCA managers in specific conservation areas focusing on transboundary conservation management.

It begins with an inception phase from June to December this year.

The programme will then be implemented from 2025 to 2028, during which funding will be disbursed to support the training of rangers and TFCA managers in selected courses to enhance their capacities and competencies.

“Most of the protected areas in KAZA do not have adequate numbers in terms of wildlife rangers, and I know for a fact that many of us in our various portfolios or rather countries have had a challenge with seeing how many of our officers to deploy to manage our landscape resources, which is wildlife. I know for a fact that the recommended one ranger per 50 square meters in the protected area is not achieved. We are very delighted that today, we are launching a programme that will allow us to train several rangers who will be in charge of protecting this particular wildlife or resource that we have,” said Zambia’s Minister of Tourism, Honourable Rodney Sikumba.

SADC highlighted the importance of this facility and the desired outcomes.

“The project we are launching today is a culmination of a long process started 13 years ago through negotiation between the SADC Secretariat and the German government, which included the development of training infrastructure and training of park rangers and managers in wildlife and natural resources management in support of TFCAs. This project will address the training gaps for wildlife managers and rangers,” noted SADC TFCA Financing Facilities team leader, Kuda Chigodo.

Speaking on the same issue, SADC Secretariat Director of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Mr Domingos Gove highlighted, “The objectives of this training facility include well-trained wildlife managers and rangers, ensuring sufficient numbers of capable park management staff, government agencies, community-based organisations, and local administrations in the SADC region. The other objective is to have enhanced training venues and Equipment: Providing nearby access to in-field training venues and appropriate equipment for workplace and cost-efficient training.”

The government of Germany, through KfW Development Bank, has committed €11 million towards ranger capacities for protected and conserved areas in TFCAs.

The SADC Secretariat is working in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature for the implementation of the training facility.

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