The old Western Cape Conservation Stewardship Association (WCCSA) has recently launched a new website that allows one to access fact sheets, conservation guidelines and documents relating to natural resource management, relevant legislation, sustainable farming and conservation best practice. The association recently underwent a process of rebranding which led to the renaming of the association to Conservation at Work.
Conservation at Work is a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) that promotes and supports the conservation of biodiversity in private land in the Western Cape. This is primarily achieved by sharing information with landowners, formalising partnerships with stakeholders and mobilising resources for conservation initiatives. A further core function is the representation of all conservancies in the Western Cape at the National Association of Conservancies/Stewardship South Africa (NACSA).
After the formation of NACCSA in 2003, the need for a branch in Western Cape was identified, and the WCCSA was constituted in 2004. Since this association was driven by volunteer landowners it lacked sustainable impetus.
“In 2011 the association received funding from Table Mountain Fund to employ an external contractor, NCC Environmental Services (Pty) Ltd (NCC), to compile a business plan and implementation model in order to create sustainable foundation, where it provides value-adding services and support to its members.”
This association will ultimately become a one-stop-shop for members, stakeholders and funders in terms of: conservation management best practice, expanding the protected area footprint on privately owned land and the mobilisation of resources for conservation projects on private land. Members consist of conservancies and conservation minded landowners of the Western Cape. Currently there are 70 functional and registered conservancies in the Western Cape. Conservancies are a vital link in the conservation chain connecting natural areas.
The website and Facebook page also aim to support landowners by providing an online platform for members to share news and articles of interest and stimulate discussion and further promote the importance and impact of private sector conservation.
The organisation engages with key stakeholders and formalises partnerships that will create an enabling environment for private conservation and deliver on the needs of members and stakeholders. Conservation at Work also aims to provide a single point of contact for stakeholders to engage with conservation minded landowners.
Supported by the organisations formal partnerships, Conservation at Work submits funding proposals to mobilise resources for conservation initiatives on member’s properties. The primary objectives of such proposals focus on natural resource management activities (alien vegetation clearing, fire management, soil conservation, etc.) as well as the training and capacity building of farm labourers in conservation related skills and enterprise development projects that empower local contractors to deliver natural resource management services to landowners and funded projects.