Training and development

Over the years, our mandate has evolved from one that focussed on conservation science into
one that combines practical conservation, research and community development.
 This reflects
our fundamental belief that the only way to create a mutually beneficial relationship between man and the environment is to address the needs of both. Most of the world’s biodiversity occurs in regions that are economically deprived, thus the poorest communities are often the guardians of the most significant
biodiversity. Rural communities in developing countries usually rely directly on the resources provided by 
their environment, for example, timber from forests and wildlife as a source of food. Thus the overuse of 
natural resources puts these livelihoods at risk and conservation is as important for local communities as it 
is for species and habitats. The juxtaposition of poor social development and ecosystems that are in need 
of protection means that long-term change will only be possible if local people are able to carry it forwards. 
They must be given the tools and training to enable them to monitor their environments and to manage the 
way they use natural resources. Developing alternative sources of income that rely less heavily on 
destructive consumption of natural resources is also essential in reducing the rate of biodiversity loss. 
This too requires an input of expertise and training. 

Our work with local communities includes provision of training in biodiversity monitoring, natural resource
management, and the development of enterprises that are conservation-compatible. 
Some specific examples are:

 we have hosted hundreds of environmental education and awareness-raising workshops for both adults 
   and children, involving representatives from communities, host-country universities, fisheries and forestry
   officers and local and national governments;
we have trained teachers to teach environmental awareness and have produced education manuals 
   and curricula in various languages;
 we have trained and qualified over 800 volunteers and host-country counterparts in the BTEC Advanced
   Diploma in Tropical Habitat Conservation and BTEC Advanced Certificate in Expedition Management;
 we have established many community-based organisations, including TUMI in Tanzania's Kilombero Valley;
in Tanzania we have given a voice to local subsistence farmers and ensured they play a central role in a
   government-lead land-planning initiative, meaning that their priorities have been taken into account and 
   they have agreed to set aside key areas for conservation;
we implemented a training programme awarding a tailor made BTEC in Conservation Management for 
   local environmental organisations and in-country partners in Nicaragua;
in Sa Pa, Vietnam, we increased income ten-fold for participating farmers via a medicinal plant 
   income-generating project;
we built a biodiversity interpretation centre in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam and a primate camp and 
   visitor centre in Kibale Forest, Uganda.