Senior guide Orlando Haraseb – conservationist in actionJuly 6, 2012
The rare and endangered species trust: Vulture watching from spaceJuly 6, 2012
Dynamite comes in small packages, and Patricia Skyer is no exception. Patricia’s contribution to environmental development and her pioneering role as a woman in what was previously regarded as a man’s world, has been internationally recognised.
In 2002, Patricia’s dedication and contribution to Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) and conservancy development in Namibia was acknowledged when she was presented with the Women and Conservation Award by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This award acknowledges exceptional achievement by a woman who has contributed to conservation.
“Patricia has made important and lasting contributions to conservation. Not only is she an effective steward of our natural world, she is also a wonderful role model for other women seeking to make a difference,” said Kathryn Fuller, President of World Wildlife Fund.
Later that year, Patricia received an environmental award from the New York-based Condé Nast Traveler magazine. This award is presented to an individual who, judged by a panel of experts, has made an extraordinary contribution to protecting the environment.
As comfortable around a campfire as she is at an international round-table meeting, Patricia was born in Mariental and matriculated from David Bezuidenhoudt High School, Windhoek, in 1986. She then completed a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Namibia and went on to obtain a Masters Degree in Environmental Management and Development at the Australian National University in 1995.
Her passion for community development led her to take up a series of posts where she conducted extensive field work and hands-on training in remote areas of Namibia for the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN), the WWF Living in a Finite Environment (WWF-LIFE) programme and Rössing Foundation.
Since 2001, Patricia has worked as Secretariat Co-ordinator for the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO). Major responsibilities included national CBNRM co-ordination, promoting networking, communication and information dissemination within the NACSO membership and maintaining and further developing good working relationships with government and development partners. She helped forge strategic partnerships at national, regional and international levels.
The Secretariat has succeeded in meeting its objectives, largely because of the overwhelming support and collaboration from the broader membership of NACSO, its thematic working groups and the Management Committee.
Patricia has also contributed to the development of training tools and manuals for use in Namibia and the SADC Region, and has written several papers and made presentations at international meetings concerning CBNRM in Namibia. She is also a board and steering committee member of several foundations and organisations within Namibia.
Patricia recently joined the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) as a Senior Technical Advisor for CBNRM. She believes that investing time and energy in building positive and functional relationships with everybody you work or interact with during your work is most rewarding in ensuring the achievement of shared ideals and objectives with minimal effort.
This article appeared in the 2005/6 edition of Conservation and the Environment in Namibia.