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A rural-skills development project funded by the Amarula Trust has seen eight Namibians completing a Level 1 Field Guide training course aimed at creating jobs in the eco-tourism industry. This is the second group to be sponsored by the not-for-profit Amarula Trust, to complete the course at Erindi Private Game Reserve, and Wilderness Safari’s Damaraland Adventure Camp.
The Amarula Field Guide Scholarship Programme, accredited by the Field Guide Association of South Africa, is a one month intensive course which assists people, already in the tourism industry to further their careers and on successful completion graduate as field guides for tourists.
The Level 1 Field Guide training course is presented by Eco Training and includes an introduction to botany, ecology, zoology, reptiles, birds, geology, as well as tracking, conservation and habitat management, intended to advance eco-sustainability and provide critical employment skills.
The students were chosen from the Na’ankuse Lodge, Wilderness Safari-Tora, Sesfontein Conservancy and Erindi Private Game Reserve, who demonstrated not only a desire to improve themselves through education, but who also have an interest in tourism, wildlife and nature conservation.
The group includes rural community members, as well as those who were employed as waiters, workshop assistants, security, and bartenders at these establishments. After successful completion of the course, they will be integrated back into their respective environments with a view to operate as qualified field guides.
Adéle Ankiewicz, Amarula global marketing manager and spokesperson for the Amarula Trust, says the programme aims to preserve nature and wildlife, while creating employment.“The tourism industry plays an important role in the Namibian economy, and we need to be equipped to provide visitors with a top level service, which includes qualified people sharing the best of Namibia in order to sustain our tourism industry. Through the Amarula Field Guide Scholarship Programme we aim to equip locals with the skills to create memorable experiences for tourists.”
Jermain Ketji, community liaison manager for Wilderness Safari-Tora Conservancy and one of the establishments that put community members forward for the course, says the Amarula Field Guide Scholarship Programme initiative is an invaluable tool in empowering the community.
“We try to up-skill members within our community so that we have a pool of resources to draw from when employment opportunities arise at one of our five partner lodges.”
Published September 2015