THE EWT AND THE CONSERVATION COACHES NETWORK HOST SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST CCNET COACH TRAINING

Claire Relton, Senior Science Officer, EWT Conservation Science Unit
ClaireR@ewt.org.za

Conservation organisations, like the EWT are tackling complex and urgent environmental issues across the globe. Funders, donors, and key stakeholders are counting on us to meet our conservation goals and have positive, effective and lasting impact. To this end, conservation teams need to plan, monitor, adapt and improve their strategies while providing accurate evidence for what works and what doesn’t work. Conservation Coaches are trained facilitators that train and assist teams and their stakeholders with developing adaptive conservation plans in order to achieve the desired success. Earlier this year, the EWT hosted South Africa’s first, and Africa’s third, CCNET Coach Training at Valverde Eco Hotel, near Lanseria, Gauteng. The Conservation Coaches Network (CCNET, established in 2009) is a dynamic community of conservation planners from around the world, whose mission is to lead conservation project teams through the Conservation Standards five-step process in order to develop and adapt effective strategies and measures of success.

Conservation coach graduation ceremony after the CCNET Coach Training

Three well-experienced coach trainers facilitated the course, namely John Morrison (WWF US), Genevieve Pence (CapeNature) and Erica Cochrane (International Crane Foundation). The training took place over the course of a week and included both theoretical, teambuilding and practical learning sessions, as well as an enlightening field trip to the Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind. Four EWT staff members participated in the course and are now certified CCNET Conservation Coaches, including Dr Lizanne Roxburgh and Claire Relton from the EWT’s Conservation Science Unit, and Kerryn Morrison and Dr Adalbert Aine-omucunguzi from the EWT/ICF African Crane Conservation Programme. Other participants included staff from CapeNature, SANCCOB, Wildlife Conservation Society, Panthera, Conservation South Africa and Peace Parks Foundation. The hugely successful event not only ignited long-term collaboration between the EWT and other African conservation organisations implementing the Conservation Standards, but also initiated participants into the larger global CCNET community. As part of the Conservation Standards movement, the EWT aims to work collaboratively towards measurable and impactful conservation for the benefit of nature and people.