Connecting with Communities
The Sabi Sand Wildtuin is neighbour to over 11 different villages. These communities are well supported by the Sabi Sand through various NGOs within its boundaries.
The Sabi Sand Wildtuin has established the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust which provides dedicated attention to local community upliftment. The trust works together with a number of NGOs within the reserve to support our neighbours. To read more, visit the SSPT website.
The Sabi Sand also gets involved in local communities from a conservation perspective. The Community Liaison Officer is the face of Sabi Sand in terms of dealing with community involvement and spends his time with local communities bringing community and conservation together.
Pfunanani Enterprise Development Project
The Pfunanani Enterprise Development Project is a two-year programme, beginning in September 2014 and ending in August 2016 aimed at creating 120 permanent jobs, 240 temporary jobs (360 jobs in total) and capacitating 60 small businesses.
The project is being implemented in 11 villages closest to the Sabi Sand Wildtuin border which are part of existing partner programmes.To find out more visit the PEDP website.
Columba Leadership Programme
Since early 2012, the Columba Leadership Academy has been a part of youth empowerment in villages bordering the Sabi Sand Wildtuin. The programme is currently running in 7 high schools in the region.
Working with Grade 10s to activate youth through the academy’s values-based leadership, has resulted in significant early impact.
Columba graduates serve as a positive influence on their peers, school and communities through constructive group action in their remaining two years at school. They are supported by educators and school leaders who also participate in the academy.
The rhino is both a national and international asset and the number being poached per year has risen exponentially over the past five years. This escalation has brought with it a huge risk of job loss for local community members employed in the tourism sector. It has also introduced dangerous crime in local areas as communities are used as conduits to protected areas that are home to the region’s rhino.
Although the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and conservation agencies as a whole, have done everything they can in terms of protecting the rhino, increased security needs to be coupled with an effort to win the hearts and minds of the local communities.
A conversation with communities was started to hear their ideas and perspectives on poaching issues. One tangible outcome was the creation of environmental and rhino ambassadors in the local communities. These positions were established through working together with a government job creation programme. These ambassador positions created 11 new jobs in the area, with one ambassador acting as a champion for the environment in each community directly neighbouring the reserve.
The ambassadors are trained in community engagement, awareness and campaigning. They also liaise with the reserve, the reserve security and protection forces in solving the rhino problem.