Climate Change Adaptation Trainings for SADC TFCAs

A regional training on Climate Change Adaptation for SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) was developed and implemented by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and Rhodes University between August 2013 and June 2014. The Government of Germany provided funds in excess of Euro 260,000 to strengthen the capacity of 53 TFCA staff and stakeholders from across the SADC region (18 SADC TFCAs) to deal with climate change, integrate climate change adaptation into the TFCA management plans and engage with communities about climate change. 

The course followed a change-oriented learning approach that sought to link the knowledge gained through the course with the practical application thereof in the TFCAs.

Prior to the training a dialogue workshop was conducted with the TFCA focal persons, in which training needs were discussed and participant profiles defined. The main course then took place in the form of two one-week long modules and targeted the technical staff (view for course curriculum and readings).

Participants participated in the trainings as “TFCA teams” that included park staff/leaders from the member states that made up a certain TFCA. These “teams” were then, in the course as well as in between the modules whilst back in their TFCAs, assisted with the support of the trainers and mentors to conceptualise, plan and implement a cross-border climate change adaptation “change project” together.

This process was then concluded with a so-called “process moderator training” that targeted lead personnel in the TFCAs (so-called ‘process moderators’) who could support the continued implementation of the change projects and also facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation measures into the TFCAs management plans. 

Results are so far: 

  • Through the training a good foundation for ongoing crossborder collaboration was built.
  • All trained TFCA practitioners demonstrate an improved understanding of the actual and foreseen impact climate change on their TFCAs and the challenges related thereto.
  • Participants have learned to interrogate their TFCA through a ‘climate lens’, and plan for adaptation measures.
  • In 16 (89%) TFCAs climate change adaptation activities are implemented. In at least 12 out of these, activities were initiated as a result of the conducted training.
  • In 8 TFCAs (44%) the trained participants have embarked on efforts to integrate climate change adaptation into TFCA management plans.

Before the course we hardly ever talked about climate change, or planned to address it in our plans, but now we do. It is part of our plans. (…) We are at a point where we understand the implications, don’t feel it’s necessary to have lengthy discussions without any tangible benefits, we are ready to implement.

(Joyce Loza, Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA)

  •  In 13 (72%) of TFCAs the participants have engaged with the communities about climate change.  
  • 3 TFCAs (17%) have managed to mobilise external funding for the implementation of the climate change adapation activities they have started to engage in since the course.

“I believe there is no greater investment which exceeds changing the mind-set of people in conservation areas and building capacity of the local people on climate change adaptation issues …” (Patience Gandiwa - International Coordinator, Greater Mapungubwe TFCA)

  Lessons Learnt include

  • Cross-border capacity development has an immense contribution to realising the SADC common vision of regional integration as it catalyses purposive engagement of stakeholders who are expected to work together but seem to have few opportunities to do so.  
  • Whilst cross-border collaboration on climate change is taking place in 9 (50%) of the TFCAs, it continues to still be a challenge in the other 9 TFCAs. Reasons for this range from logistical challenges (geographical distance, different language, lack of communication infrastructure) to it simply being less of an effort to remain working within one country.
  • SADC TFCAs are faced with a tremedous range of structural, financial and political challenges. Against this backdrop climate chnage doe snot walys receive priority.

Looking into the future:

A piloted and reviewed course curriculum exists and is ready to be rolled out to an extended target group. It is planned to run this course as an accredited Rhodes/SADC short course on climate change adaptation in TFCAs at Rhodes University in 2015. Efforts to mobilise funds for this are currently underway. 

Project Status: 
Project Progress: 
Start Date: 
Monday, 15 July, 2013
Estimated End Date: 
Saturday, 15 November, 2014
Actual End Date: 
Saturday, 15 November, 2014
Project Personnel: 

Programme manager

Tichaona Pesanayi

E-mail: tich[at][dot]za 
Cc tichpesanayi[at]yahoo[dot]comsadc-reec[at][dot]za

Tel: +27 (0)33 330 3931 ext 2127
Mobile: +27-824 122 129
Fax: +27 (0)33 330 4576
Fax2email: +27 (0)86 513 2403


Post: PO Box 394, Howick, 3290, KZN, South Africa   


Please see for details of the course.