Principals at SAWC; Sboniso Phakathi and Ashwell Glasson

In April 2019 the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) entered into a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership with CC, aimed at helping both organizations scale up children’s education for sustainable development across Southern Africa. The first objective was to collectively design, develop and institutionally accredit a train-the-trainer program.

By training new coaches, we will build local capacity, support a SAWC outreach program, provide new employment opportunities in vulnerable communities across the region, and help CC to grow from its current delivery of approximately 4000 kids per year.

In April 2019, Director Lesley McNutt and Program Coordinator Dr Hugh Webster from CC took part in a week long strategy workshop with the academic team at SAWC.

A short course template was designed to include all aspects of the CC delivery: theoretical background, core ecology, ethology, and educational principles as well as an opportunity to provide practical teaching experience. Successful students will be accredited with a SAWC short course credit and graduate as competent CC coaches with the knowledge and enthusiasm required to deliver fun, informative lessons of the sort CC and SAWC pride ourselves on.

This process was completed on time and on budget. Institutional accreditation was received in December of 2019.  Our first training program of a new Botswana team was scheduled for April 2020, enabling an additional 1000 children in Botswana in year 1, but has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In partnership with Investec Rhino Lifeline

Principals at CC: Lesley McNutt and Dr Hugh Webster
Principals at SAWC: Sboniso Phakathi and Professor Mtungwa

In August 2019 CC and SAWC entered into a second formal agreement to deliver a CC after-school program in the villages adjacent to SAWC, acting as an outreach program for the college while also providing an important practical training opportunity for future trainees.

This project forms the pilot phase of our longer term collaboration and is underpinned by the financial and resource support provided by Investec Rhino Lifeline.

Under this agreement SAWC has been able to deliver a three phased CC program. The first was a 6 week children’s program to all 280 grade 5 learners at four primary schools within the Welverdiend – Hlavekisa region. This included a bush day overnight held on campus. Secondly, 273 Bush Rapid Awareness Programmes (RAPs) were delivered to Lumukisa, Sesete and Khokhovela primary schools. The third phase was the delivery of 122 Bush RAPs to grade 5 students from Beretta Primary. In all, 652 local kids were reached by these programs in 2019.

Due to the enthusiastic response from all stakeholders, Investec Rhino Lifeline has agreed to fund a further program year. All kids, coaches and teachers are excited for 2020’s expanded delivery.


One of the questions on the post participation survey asks the Children – What would you do if someone you know was poaching rhino?

“My first opinion, I will call the Wildlife College to teach and coach the people about rhino, and then they can know the importance of animals. But I must also call the police because what the poacher is doing is wrong.”

In speaking to the educator assigned to working with the program (from Muchuchi Primary) about the impact he’s noted on the children:

“The first thing is that the children sing the 3R’s song in their own time. This is good because it makes them remember to respect themselves, each other and environment. They have also taken an interest in wild animals and want to experience being with wildlife… The school is also benefitting, because the (CC) children are now picking up litter and setting an example for others.”

The coaches were asked to send in reports of their experience as coaches and mentors (keeping in mind this was a pilot programme for all involved). The most notable response was:

“CC has been a blessing because as coaches we can give back to the children in our villages. They’re playing and learning at the same time. We have the chance to coach in soccer, but also to be like the elephant and mentor children as they develop.”


652 Grade 5 6-week after-school participants
280 Grade 5 BUSH night participants
273 Grade 5 Bush Day only participants
82% of these participants visited wildlife areas for the first time
122 Grade 5 Rhino RAP program participants
2194 Total programs delivered 

8 schools reached
14 classes involved

Capacity Building
8 school principles informed
6 teachers mentored, educated and participatory in CC lessons
12 coaches and facilitators trained, mentored, and upskilled to teach CC

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