Community Skills Development Program & Education
One of our main areas of focus in skills development and training is with our staff. We believe that on-going training in all sectors of the business not only improves skills, but also empowers people. In addition to gaining a better understanding of how the company works, Tanda Tula’s staff are able to better appreciate the importance of each team member’s role.
Tanda Tula employs 50 permanent staff members and 10 temporary staff. The average ratio of breadwinner to dependant is 1 to 8. Therefore, Tanda Tula has an impact on over 540 people whose livelihoods are dependent on our business.
In addition, we have a vision to impact on the local communities in our area by contributing to the training external students whenever possible.
African Safari Lodge Foundation and Southern African Wildlife College
Tanda Tula has partnered with the African Safari Lodge Foundation (ASLF) and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) and is participating in the pilot programme of “Best Practice Training” for Field Guides who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and specifically from the local communities surrounding the Greater Kruger National Park. The program involves sending one of our own staff for training along with a number of other students based at the SAWC.
After the first round of training, our staff member and an external student from the program are placed at Tanda Tula for a 9 month practical period, during which they are exposed to all aspects of safari camp operations, but also focus on Field Guide training and learning from our own Rangers who act as their mentors during this practical period. After the 9 months, the two students return to SAWC to complete their training and to obtain a FGASA Level 2 qualification. We believe that this training puts our own staff member and the new student into a position of being valuable employees at Field Guide level. This program is part of our vision to both up-skill our own staff and also to contribute to the broader community by participating in and contributing to the training of external students.
Tanda Tula Adult Literacy Programme
There is a huge need for adult literacy across Southern Africa and the same applies to our staff at Tanda Tula Safari Camp. We believe in investing in people and helping our staff so that they can help themselves. Last year, Nina (who owns Tanda Tula Safari Camp with her husband Don) initiated an adult literacy programme where all staff members were invited to join weekly classes.
Although the classes are completely voluntary, the response to this programme was so overwhelming that it wasn’t long before Nina had to appoint more teachers to assist with the classes, as they were soon filling up with eager staff members. Anne Watt and Jacquie Gauthier joined Nina, as teachers, and from originally holding three classes per week, Tanda Tula now has nine classes per week. Most of our staff eagerly await the next class and the growth and determination of the students has been nothing short of remarkable.
Within the programme there are three groups: ‘First time learners’, ‘developing learners’ and ‘advanced learners’.
Our first time learners group consists of staff who are mostly illiterate and as such the lessons are focused on learning the alphabet as well as reading and writing. Currently four of the eight illiterate learners are now reading and writing, and converse in basic English
In our developing learners classes, most learners have some form of schooling but have not necessarily completed their schooling career. Here we teach reading, writing and comprehension, all focused on improving overall language skills. Learners are taught a wide range of topics, from Geography to environmental knowledge and general etiquette.
Our advanced learners are taught a wide range of subjects, covering all the areas included in the two other classes, but here we also focus on creative and practical subjects such as international cultures and history. Our advanced students are also taught basic computer skills.
A very important part of all of these classes is that we integrate skills that are job related. For example, our laundry ladies learn items and colours so they can check laundry list themselves, and our guides are taught more advanced language skills so that they can communicate better with guests on game drives. Some of our staff members have embraced the classes to such an extent, that they too are driven to teach, and have begun sharing their bush knowledge and African languages with the teachers!
It is incredibly rewarding to watch our staff grow in each of these classes, and to see how quickly some have progressed from the first time learners class through to the advanced class.