Table Mountain Fund Awards First Grants to Create Conservation Role Models

In Focus, December 2002

Eleven people will soon be on the path to conservation leadership positions in South Africa as the first to benefit from the Table Mountain Fund (TMF) Capacity Building Program in the Cape Floristic Region hotspot.

The new $900,000, four-year program, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, aims to enable previously disadvantaged persons, such as women and particularly black South Africans, to become conservation project managers and leaders.

"This is the first significant intervention into building black conservation managers since independence in 1994," says TMF Manager Brett Myrdal.

"Up until now, the training of black conservation managers has been left to individual conservation agencies and it has been largely neglected," he says. "This program will create competent, confident role models for conservation and that is really the key to conservation in South Africa."

The TMF Approval Group chose the 11 winners out of 30 candidates in late November.

The 11 people will receive small grants, ranging from $500 to $10,000, to fund training in one to three year diplomas and degrees in conservation management as well as short courses in management run by the Graduate School of Business.

The TMF has been in operation since 1998 and has expertise in the efficient management of small grant funds and project development. The Global Environment Facility and the World Bank both support the TMF as well.