Southern African Wildlife College

Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT)

Trust no: 2499/2000 - PBO 930 014 089
The future of our continent depends on the future of our natural heritage. It is only with the help of its donors that the Trust, in support of the College, can equip a new generation of managers with the skills needed to address the formidable challenges facing conservation today.

©Peter Chadwick

©Peter Chadwick


Equipping Nature Conservationists with Vital Skills to Tackle Formidable Challenges

Southern Africa is blessed with a uniquely rich natural heritage. Community development, climate change, poverty and the growing demand for protected commodities like rhino horn, all impact Africa’s valuable resources. It’s a daunting task to address these environmental challenges - and therefore vital to equip the custodians of our natural resources with the skills to tackle them.  

Training plays a pivotal role in rehabilitating and sustaining wildlife areas. The courses presented at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) cover a host of conservation related topics including wildlife management, nature-based tourism, human and cultural resources, community-based natural resource management, financial management, human wildlife conflict, as well as wildlife guardianship including anti-poaching and ground to air patrols. Transfrontier conservation is one of the key themes.

Limited Funding for Conservation Training in Southern Africa

The College does not receive a government subsidy, leaving it dependent on external funds. At the suggestion of Dr Anton Rupert, WWF South Africa established an independent trust in support of education in nature conservation, with assistance from founder trustees and long standing donors both local and international. The Southern African Conservation Education Trust (SACET) deed was registered in 2000. 

In 2011 the name of the Trust was changed to the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) to better align the Trust with the College.


Supporting Education in Nature Conservation

The aim of the Trust is to support education in nature conservation at the College. Each year the Trust funds five highly sought-after scholarships and bursaries for top students in the accredited Higher Education and Training Courses. It also funds priority projects in conservation management. It does this via an annual disbursement to the College.

Funding and Administration

SAWCT is administered by WWF South Africa. A dedicated part-time Fundraiser works in conjunction with the Executive Manager of Marketing and Fundraising at the College and bi-annual meetings take place with the Chair. An annual meeting of the Trustees ensures good governance and the success of the Trust.

List of Trustees

Ms Lesley Richardson (Chair) - Founder Trustee 
Mr Stephen Abrahams - WWF-SA 
Countess Sylvia Labia - Founder Trustee 
Mr Werner Myburgh - Peace Parks Foundation 
Mrs Kathy Bergs - Peace Parks Foundation 
Mr Charles de Villiers - Private Capacity 
Vacant- IUCN Regional Office for Eastern & Southern Africa 
Vacant - WWF Regional Office for Africa 
Mr Leonard Sefu - Private Capacity (Previously with the  Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife &  Culture – Malawi)

In terms of the Deed of Trust, the following entities are entitled to be represented by nominated trustees: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA), Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and IUCN (Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office) and the WWF Regional Office for Africa.


Over R30 million Raised Thanks to Donor Support

The income from donations and investments allows the Trustees to disburse a substantial sum to the College annually for scholarships, bursaries and priority projects in conservation management.

Performance of the Investments is Key

SAWCT has historically followed the investment strategy of WWF as advised by its Investment Committee. This diversified strategy across the various asset classes and geographies has proven beneficial in terms of inflation beating financial returns over the years. 

In March 2015 the Trustees agreed with WWF plans to restructure its investments into its own Prescient Living Planet Fund. The primary objective is the delivery of long-term capital growth within a framework that reflects a high level of sustainability and environmental integrity, without compromising investment performance.

Results and Sustainability

Over the past 16 years, SAWCT has awarded over 60 scholarships and bursaries to the College’s top students. 

A total amount of over R10 million has been dispersed to the College since inception, with the recent milestone achievement of R1 million disbursed in one year in 2016, followed by R1.2 million in 2017.

Financial support from donors plays a critical role given that conservation education and training is not well funded in southern Africa.

The Performance of the Investments is Key to Meeting the Aims of the Trust

  • The SAWCT Fund of over R30 million is managed through the Prescient Living Planet Fund  
  • The Fund is FSB (Financial Services Board) registered, regulated under the CISCA (Collect Investment Schemes Control) Act and complies with Regulation 28 requirements 
  • The Fund is prudently managed and integrates environmentally sustainable investment principles in the investment portfolio
The Trust takes regular steps to review its investment, fundraising and communication plans, to ensure its growing and continued support to education in nature conservation at the College.  

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” - David Attenborough



Financial support provides students with the opportunity to further their studies and impact positively on nature conservation according to best practice. Recognised qualifications equip the graduates to excel in their work, grow in their careers and influence conservation at policy making level. Their income and quality of life improves, and much-needed benefits flow to their families and communities.


Please help us grow the Trust to support education in nature conservation at the College in perpetuity! Indeed a living legacy. This will also assist us to increase our annual disbursement to the College in the future. Donations are invited directly into the Southern African Wildlife College Trust bank account via EFT or debit order:

Bank: ABSA 
Account Name: SAWCT 
Account Number: 405 416 4000 
Account Type: Business Cheque 
Account Branch: Commercial Business Winelands 
Branch Number: 632005 
Swift Code: ABSA ZA JJ

Bequests from the deceased estates of South African taxpayers are exempt from donations tax and estate duty. Bona fide donations from South African taxpayers are exempt from donations tax, and may be claimed as deductions against taxable income, subject to the limitations of the Income Tax Act.

Thank you for your support – Please Contact Us!

We would like to acknowledge your much appreciated support with a letter of thanks, receipt and 18A tax certificate where required. 

Janet Wakelin, SAWCT Fundraiser 
P.O. Box 22786, Scarborough, 7975 
M: 082 924 3749

Donor Recognition

Donations are publicised in the SAWCT Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements. Donations are also tracked over time and donor statuses recognized accordingly in the Annual Report. Your name will also be added to the SAWCT donor plinth at the College. Donors can view the plinth on visiting the College or while attending the annual graduation at the College. 

SAWCT donor giving levels: 
  • Bateleur Eagle - R1m and above 
  • Martial Eagle - R500,000 and above 
  • Black Eagle - R250,000 and above 
  • Crowned Eagle - R100,000 and above 
  • Fish Eagle - R50,000 and above 
  • Tawny Eagle - R25,000 and above 
  • African Hawk Eagle - R10,000 and above 
  • Booted Eagle - under R10,000
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” - Ancient proverb


We are pleased to share this recent feedback from alumni who attended the College a few years ago, and attribute their success to these studies. 

Willem Ponahazo, Namibia, SAWCT Scholar of 2012
Wildlife management is a very broad discipline that requires an interdisciplinary approach due to the diverse ecological components that need attention. A number of these components can be managed through traditional knowledge, whereas other components require modern, advanced and scientific research application in order to understand the dynamics involved in conserving biological diversity. 

Having studied at the SAWC for two years (2011 and 2012), I acquired the necessary skills to manage a National Park with its different components, (human resources, game, finances, and different land-use practices). Upon completion of my higher certificate in 2011, I was awarded a scholarship from the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) to continue with the Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation. The Advanced Certificate focuses on transfrontier conservation where national parks and other land uses overlap. Namibia is well known for its success in the Community Based Natural Resource Management sector (CBNRM), where National Parks are not managed as islands, but are holistically managed with communal forestry and conservancies. 

Through the skills I acquired from the SAWC, I am able to implement an integrated management plan where different land-use activities are being practiced on the same piece of land (wildlife management, settlement and agriculture). National parks and communal conservancies are linked through biological wildlife corridors and these are also holistically managed. 

All the knowledge I acquired in my final year at SAWC was made possible through the financial support provided by SAWCT. I am currently a Nature Conservation student at the University of Science and Technology in Windhoek, Namibia. I can enthusiastically plough back the skills I got and ensure that wildlife does co-exist with other land uses. I strongly urge other organizations to consider supporting ambitious and enthusiastic students who have a passion for nature and want to sustainably manage Africa’s biological diversity for future generations.


Dzoro Kwashirai, Zimbabwe, SAWCT Scholar of 2007 
After completing my studies at SAWC at the end of 2007, I returned home to Zimbabwe to my work in Matobo National Park. I was full of ideas and was given an opportunity to show off my skills on a campsite around a dam, a facility that looked like it wasn’t in use. 

I worked on it together with others and in less than a week, it was turned into a place where visitors would now want to spend time. In early 2008, I was promoted to a supervisory role. It entails planning and executing anti-poaching and law enforcement activities of the park, planning and grading roads and fireguards, planning and executing early and late burning programs, as well as game water supply. 

I have executed these tasks to the satisfaction of my superiors. I can only say thanks to the SAWC for equipping me with relevant and key skills. Poaching has been reduced to insignificant levels, areas lost to wild fires have not gone beyond 11% of the total area annually, and natural deaths related to lack of surface water is negligible. I have a very healthy and happy family, with three kids all going to school. Thanks to SAWCT I have been given a life line!
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