We like getting to know the people behind the non-profit organisations that we partner with. Today, Mark Gerrard, the Threatened Species Coordinator at Wildlands Conservation Trust, tells us more about working for a non-profit organisation.
In 10 words or fewer, what is the idea behind Wildlands?
A sustainable future for all.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received (in the context of a Non-Profit Organisation)?
Surround yourself with people who are passionate and skilled in what they do and together you can achieve anything.
What advice would you give those wanting to work for, or start, a Non-Profit Organisation?
Make sure that there is a good business concept behind the organisation and that your goals and vision are clearly constructed in a plan. NGO’s need sustainability to have a significant impact.
What, in your mind, has been Wildlands’ biggest success?
Having only been with Wildlands for a part of the overall journey, I have missed out on many of the successes. In my opinion, however, the successes can be attributed to the ability of Wildlands to create a tangible link for rural communities to the environment. This creates that personal incentive to conserve, protect and appreciate nature.
What have you/ your organisation learnt from mistakes that may have been made?
We need to engage directly with people for whom wildlife is relevant rather than imposing our ideas of conservation on them. Full participation leads to long-term success.
In what way would you like the Wildlands to impact South Africa?
To be able to assist in the development of this beautiful country in a way that is sustainable and takes the values of the environment into account when planning this development.
Have you met any people or heard any stories that have inspired you to do the work that you do? If so, please tell us a little more.
I have, but I will leave you to get into rural communities, game reserves and wilderness areas to talk to the people involved on the ground and hear these stories firsthand.
Why did you decide to do the work that you do?
I can’t talk about conservation all the time without actively getting involved. I am in the perfect position to really have an impact with the work that I do and can’t waste such an opportunity.