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San Tracking School

Introduction:

The San Tracking School will be established to train young San in their old historic art of tracking in order to give them a chance to earn an income in modern times while doing a job they love, namely beeing in the wild. The art of tracking was a very important part of their culture, which is on the fringe to be lost. The San Tracking School provides a way to maintain the knowledge and culture of tracking by opening new ways into modern life.

Werner Pfeifer, a tracker him self and two skilled San tracking teachers will rund the San Tracking School, based on an international high standard evaluation system established by Louis Liebenberg in South Africa.

The school will be a private non profit organisation with extremely low bureacracy and costs but highly effective outcome, as all finaces are directly invested in the project, without any intensive side costs.

Visitors interested in learning tracking with San are welcome to take part.

So Bushcraft- and hunting schools, as well as professionals and students connected to the fields of biology, ecology, nature conservation or similar may apply. Your donation will support the tracking school.

 

Background:                                                                                                                                                                                               

There are about 35 000 San living in Namibia and about 100 000 in the whole of Southern Africa.

A few centuries ago they roamed Southern Africa as free hunter and gatherers developing a culture which perfectly suited their needs. Today most of the San are without land. Modern laws prohibit them to hunt and to gather depriving them of their traditional way of income. As a result most communities are faced with severe poverty and depend on dominant land lords, employers and the government. Additionally most San have extreme difficulties to adapt to the modern way of life, as it differs fundamentally from their own. Consequently self-esteem and the will to take live into own hands is highly reduced. This often results in social problems like alcoholism, violence and marginalisation.

Low educational levels are one of the main contributing factors to the on-going poverty and marginalisation experienced by the San.

By improving educational accessibility a long term reduction on poverty can be achieved for the San and would empower them to become productive and effective members of society. Thus the efforts of the San Tracking School will remain one of the few significant sources of development in the international approach to improve the livelihood of the San throughout the region.

Most San love work related to their old culture. Thus tracking is a top priority in their quest for making a living. Werner did a brief private research among some San communities and among potential employers. Both sides welcome the idea of recognized trackers for Namibia very much.

 

Aims and Objectives:

San traditional knowledge and skills are to be taught to young San and integrated into modern Namibia‘s economy.

Courses on tracking are to be offered. There is a high demand for these skills and San are known to be good trackers. They could fill this niche with the help of well managed marketing.

Further training could relate to professions in trophy hunting, tourism, endangered game species protection, wilderness gardening, game farming , business skills and others.

 

Content of training in short:

Theoretical and practical training in interpreting track & sign and doing systematic and speculative trailing, based on the books „Practical Tracking“ by Louis Liebenberg, Adriaan Louw, Mark Elbroch, as well as „The Art of Tracking“ by Louis Liebenberg. Evaluation and certification according the international recognized Cybertracker system for trackers by Louis Liebenberg.

Intense animal behaviour incl. names based on several good guide books on behavieour (e.g. „The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals“ by R. Estes) own observations during training and film documentations by Werner Pfeifer

Observation and documenting skills

Training on the Cybertracker documentation computer system

Relevant plant knowledge

Relevant ecology and geology

General and special San related history and prehistory

Study skills e.g. keeping records, collecting samples etc

Basic teaching skills

Communication via old and modern technology

Relevant laws

Basic photography

Basic book keeping and management skills

First aid

Farm guard training in cooperation with a private security company

Skills like wilderness gardening, game keeping, honey production, drying fruits and other plant and meat productions etc. could also be part of future courses.

 

Administration:

It is suggested that the San Tracking School operates privately and according to the international quality standarts set by Louis Liebenberg and his Cybertracker evaluation system. Certificates are issued by the Cybertracker organisation.

Werner Pfeifer will be the principal and trainer/teacher. Two additional San teachers will be employed for the courses. We strive to become certified by the Cybertracker system in order to may evaluate and reach out Cybertracker tracker certificates as soon as possible.

 

Recruitment:

Students will be selected via a brief pre selection evaluation in order to ensure that only suitable students engage on our courses.

Two San teachers will have to be selected and trained.

We aim for up to 12 students per course.

 

Infra-structure:

We aim to do the first 6 – 8 weeks of studies in the areas where the students are home. This will reduce costs and increase the ability to study their area intensively.

After this phase we shall move to two other areas in Namibia. This enables the students to study under different conditions in different environments as they will need to work later anywhere in Namibia.

The San Tracking School will thus be a mobile one.

 

Proposed time frame:

In December 2012 Werner and two San trackers had been evaluated by Louis Liebenberg in the Bwabwata National Park according to his internationally recognised „Cybertracker evaluation system“. One San (//Oma Daqm) and Werner have passed it and received certificates. Now we need to identify more possible San teachers and train them according our needs. These are special tracking related teaching skills, based on traditional San teaching methods and modern accumulation of scientific knowledge in animal behaviour and the natural environment.

In 2016 //Oma and !Ui had been evaluated by Louis Liebenberg agin and they are very close to reach their Senior tracker Certificat, probably after a new evaluation soon.

The San Tracking School aims to do intensive teaching for 2 -3 months per year. The Students then will study on their own for the next 9 months. After that they will be evaluated and certified.

Students who have reached Tracker Level 1 or higher will certify to join the San Tracker Marketing Organisation. This will help the trackers finding jobs under fair and sustainable conditions. The San Tracker Marketing Organisation will be a non profit organisation aiming in providing a marketing platform for San trackers and possible employees, seeing that the San get jobs under good conditions and maintain high quality working standards.

 

Finances and Fund raising:

We hope to find long term sponsors who could finance the costs for the training. Our concept is based on a very low budget. Main costs are wages for the teachers and their expenses while on duty, plus a bit of maintenance and running costs like food, fuel and school equipment.

 

 

 

 

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