GreenMatter, a public-private initiative championing the development of biodiversity skills in South Africa, and its partners, celebrated the launch of the GreenMatter Fellowship at a gala dinner held on 19 March 2013.
The GreenMatter Fellowship connects a community of outstanding biodiversity champions and leaders, enabling them to achieve their potential and serve as true ambassadors of South Africa’s natural wealth. Supporting thirty two emerging and established biodiversity leaders in 2013, the Fellowship is distinctive in various respects. It goes beyond financial support (i.e. bursaries and awards), to provide Fellows with holistic professional and personal skills development opportunities, and it is targeted on the priority skills needed in the country.
The Fellowship is open to leaders from across sectors impacting on biodiversity in South Africa. It promotes the view that leadership for biodiversity can and should be evident across occupations, qualifications and positions.
"South Africa is the third most biodiverse country in the world which gives us a tremendous competitive advantage. We should continue to be active in supporting the development of leaders who understand the importance of biodiversity as the foundation of life," stated Dr. Eureta Rosenberg, Interim Programme Director AT GreenMatter.
Our wildlife and natural resources are a precious source of wealth. In addition to its intrinsic value, the country’s biodiversity supports income generation and job creation for communities. It is also fundamental to the ecological infrastructure needed to sustain and enhance human well-being and development.
We need a steady flow of the best minds to help sustainably manage our natural resources for the benefit of all South Africans, both present and future generations. However, studies undertaken during the development of the national Human Capital Development Strategy for the Biodiversity Sector (BHCDS), which is implemented under the GreenMatter brand, revealed critical skills shortages in the biodiversity sector.
The GreenMatter Fellowship is part of a systemic programme of aligned initiatives to address the critical skills shortages in the biodiversity sector, within the context of broad-based, socio-economic transformation.
The three founding partners of the Fellowship are the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, the Lewis Foundation and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). Other supporters of the Fellowship include the Harry Crossley Foundation, in partnership with the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, and the CATHS SETA, in partnership with Rhodes University. The Fellowship funds are administered by Nedbank Private Wealth.
"The Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust (HHCT) is delighted to be supporting the GreenMatter Fellowship. Affording outstanding students and professionals the opportunity to fully engage, through a dynamic community of practice, in tackling biodiversity issues alongside peers who share in that commitment, speaks directly to furthering HHCT's mission of supporting environmental conservation in South Africa," said Anthony Nicklin, Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust sole trustee, managed by Nedbank Private Wealth.
The GreenMatter Fellowship is an ambitious project. Our aim over the next ten years is to create a generation of motivated leaders and change agents, able and willing to take on the many natural resource challenges facing our country.