The formation of a Southern Africa WDA Student Chapter was approved by WDA Council in December 2017 and it is the first student chapter in the Africa and Middle East Section of the WDA. Student chapters in Europe and North America had shown to be very beneficial to students interested in wildlife health and disease. The idea of starting a WDA student chapter in Southern Africa started when a group of students, with different professional backgrounds, met at a wildlife congress in Southern Africa in 2017. We decided to establish a platform in which to engage, inspire and educate students interested in wildlife diseases and to encourage interdisciplinary networking between students, as well as between students and mentors – and the Southern Africa WDA Student Chapter (SA WDA SC) journey began. The SA WDA SC follows the objectives and aims of the WDA for student chapters, and provides topical and demand driven educational opportunities to Southern African students interested in wildlife diseases.
So far, 42 students have expressed interest in SA WDA SC, 39 of which are from Southern African countries, with 6 currently paid up WDA student members. Signing up for the SA WDA SC is free (https://wdaamesc.wixsite.com/southernafricaup/join-us). However, having more WDA paid up members would allow for a fully functioning body within the SA WDA SC (e.g. facilitate official elections etc.). If WDA members would like to help get the SA student chapter off to a big start and facilitate WDA student memberships from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, or Zimbabwe, they can contribute by contacting WDA Treasurer Mike Ziccardi at email@example.com. We would like to raise $400 by February 1, 2018 to subsidize the expansion of our student chapter to encompass all of Southern Africa.
Although we are still in the recruitment phase, we have already started holding online paper discussions in conjunction with the “Zoo and Wildlife Medicine Study Group” (https://wdaamesc.wixsite.com/southernafricaup/student-chapter-journal-club). Our next and very first formal event will be a workshop on wildlife pathology during the annual Wildlife group of the South African Veterinary Association Congress taking place from February 28th to March 3rd 2018. The Congress is allowing a student discount, and there will be a “mentor mixer” where students will have the opportunity to speak to wildlife professionals.
As we want to grow the interest and participation of students within the WDA and the WDA AME, we are hoping to implement more such events in the future and offer funds to students so that they can attend. Finally, the SA WDA SC would like to provide individuals the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by either becoming a part of the Board, or by becoming Country representative or University ambassador- a structure we would like to implement once we have more members from a broader array of countries in the AME region.
The SA WDA SC is a great platform where students can get into touch with leading veterinarians, epidemiologists, biologists, ecologists, research scientists, and individuals involved with wildlife health and related disciplines through the planned workshops, lectures, conferences and field trips. Please follow the links below for more information on how to join us. If you are interested in being a sponsor to the SA WDA SC please contact us through the SC email.
Chapter email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter Social media connections: