This year, the ladies showed the way at the Southern African Wildlife College graduation with Esther Sibanda from Zimbabwe the proud recipient of the best Certificate student prize and Belinda Haaketa from Zambia the best student in the Diploma class. This year 40 students received their certificates and diplomas in natural resource management.
The annual graduation ceremony, sponsored by Absa, was held on October 26, 2006 and attended by delegates in the conservation field from Swaziland, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Theresa Sowry, executive manager of the College, says that the students are all potential decision makers within conservation organisations across the SADC region.
"The training offered at the College trains these future decision makers to work competently in a manner sensitive to community and conservation ethics." She thanked all the sponsors and strategic partners - especially the Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund SA (WWF-SA) for their continued support to conservation. "This was a watershed year for the Peace Parks Foundation and the WWF-SA. The two organisations had an intensive year studying various models of operation for the college.
Privatisation was investigated in detail, however in the end a decision was taken to continue with the current model of operation whereby it is accepted that training is not a financially profitable activity and that sponsorship would form an important and crucial component in the functioning of the organisation. Peace Parks Foundation is therefore committed to supporting and funding the college until the year 2010."
Other individual awards handed out were:
- Best protected areas management student: Fyson Suwedi from Malawi
- WWF-SA award for the best South African Student: Amos Thembe who is based at the Thembe Futhi Transfrontier Park
- The Rosie Sturgis award for the most improved student: David Dlamini from Swaziland
- The best financial management student: Esther Sibanda from Zimbabwe. Scholarships, from the Southern African Conservation Trust, to study the diploma course in 2007 were awarded to Ben Ejadu (Uganda), Moses Kaoma (Zambia), Dzoro Kwashirai (Zimbabwe), Esther Sibanda (Zimbabwe), Bongani Hlabisa (South Africa) and Amos Thembe (South Africa)