By Kerryn Morrison, ICF/EWT Senior Manager: Africa
When team members are scattered across several countries in Africa, it’s easy for a sense of cohesion to be lost. Yet in order to implement the ambitious strategy of the African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP), a partnership between the Endangered Wildlife Trust and International Crane Foundation, a cohesive and committed team is exactly what’s needed. The obvious solution was to bring everyone together, but could that be achieved across geographical barriers?
The team is currently spread across several countries in Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia – with a lot of our interactions happening virtually. Although a reality for an African wide programme, a foundation was required for the establishment of a real sense of team work and collaboration within the ACCP. This is imperative to ensure that the vision of securing Africa’s four resident crane species in the wild, including the Blue, Black Crowned, Grey Crowned and Wattled Cranes, is realised. We therefore brought together 16 of our ACCP team for a two-week workshop of team building, lesson sharing, development of project impact monitoring and training. Although our Rwandan team of four were unable to join us due to South African policies which currently do not allow Rwandans into the country, our Rwanda Country Coordinator joined us via VoIP for some of our key sessions. During our first week, we were joined by Dr. Harriet Davies-Mostert (EWT’s Head of Conservation) and Dr. Tim Jackson (EWT’s Senior Technical Editor), and by Cobus Theron (EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme Manager) and Nicky McLeod (Environmental Rural Solutions, one of our partners).
The first week was held at St Bernard’s Peak in the Southern Drakensberg where we spent time exploring project development and the theory of change to ensure that our projects had the conservation impact we desired. We then delved deeper into our monitoring systems, developing the foundation for a standardised monitoring framework for our crane, ecosystem goods and services and socio-economic monitoring processes. With time spent in the field, in small group discussions and in discussions with the whole group, we co-created monitoring frameworks, shared lessons, and obtained an improved understanding of the project sites we have across Africa.
For the second week, the team headed up to the EWT headquarters in Johannesburg for their annual Development Week. Here, the team were exposed to key threats to cranes, such as powerlines, poisoning and mining, and to a host of other topics relevant to our work, as well as to training that could contribute to our effectiveness, such as GIS training and basic photography skills.
The two weeks together were invaluable and have forged friendships and the foundation we required to move forward as a dedicated, passionate and inspired team. Everyone committed to at least one personal goal that arose out of the workshop and to a goal that would help develop the team.
This work is made possible by the support of the Dohmen Family Foundation, Whitley Fund for Nature, Dennis Geiler, Joe Branch, EU, Nedbank Green Trust and Rand Merchant Bank.
Crane conservation in action!
The International Crane Foundation, the EWT’s partners on the African Crane Conservation Programme, recently created a virtual showcase of their exhibits. Please click on the link below to view the Blue Crane exhibit in 360 Virtual Reality! Use your cursor to move the image up down and all around. There will be more images coming soon!