“i didn’t think i would manage, but i decided to try and i am glad i did. now my children, especially my daughters, can look up to me and see that when challenges come, we should not shy away from them.” – clementina (left). in 2015, clementina’s husband, a kalama conservancy ranger, tragically lost his life during a stock theft recovery operation. he was the sole breadwinner for their family of five, and his loss left clementina trying to manage grief alongside the daunting prospect of providing for her children. keen to try and help, the kalama management called a community meeting. they wanted to offer the widow a sustainable solution – one that could put food on the table every night and see her kids through school. they decided to offer clementina a job: the position of a community ranger.
bravely, clementina took the job, having never been formally employed in her life. she now works alongside five other female rangers, including josephine (right), who are her support network as well as her colleagues. josephine is a radio operator; as much a ‘first response’ position as the rangers on the ground. “i am at the heart of what is happening in our community” she says, “if anything happens, i am the first to know and record it.” she says that like clementina, her job has also pushed her out of her comfort zone. “there are certain things i can do now that i could not do when i first came. i can operate a radio, relay information and interact freely with people from different places.” josephine commends her friend’s courage, stating “our work can be very hard sometimes and it especially hurts when we lose one of our fellow rangers in the field. but we know that it is worth doing, because we can take care of our families and contribute to a better life for our community.” 4th instalment of our #10women series. #womenrangers#conservation#womeninconservation#rangers#whyilovekenya#kalamaconservancy
“our society is now changing and starting to see the value of women’s leadership. at first they would ask - how can a woman lead us? by my second term, i was elected unopposed because my work spoke for itself.” pauline longojine, former sera conservancy board chairlady and current nrt peace ambassador.
whether she’s bringing her community together to spearhead east africa’s first community-run black rhino sanctuary, or empowering women to take the lead in building peace, pauline is unquestionably a force to be reckoned with.
elected to the sera community conservancy board in 2011, pauline served for the maximum two terms. she ran an unopposed chair of the board in her second term, becoming one of the first women in an nrt member conservancy to take that role. it was under her leadership that sera became the first community-run black rhino sanctuary in east africa, setting new standards and best practices for endangered species conservation in kenya. “the introduction of rhino in sera is something that i will always be proud of,” she says. “our children are employed by the rhino sanctuary and the community as a whole will continue to grow from tourism revenue.” pauline is now a peace ambassador, and has played an instrumental role in launching nrt’s multi-ethnic women’s peace forum - which aims to equip women with skills for building peace and detecting and preventing conflict. “in the beginning, women were afraid to speak to their sons and husbands,” says pauline, “but we challenged them to think of the future they wanted for their community. now they come back and tell us that their sons are listening to them and thinking twice before going out to raid.” driving her work now is a firm belief that women can and should play a leading role in mitigating ethnic conflict, and this starts by creating safe spaces for dialogue and starting conversations. “there are certain things that the morans (young men) will open up and tell me, that they would not tell the men - when they are with me, they know that they are with a mother, and will not be judged.” #10women#sdg10#peace#womeninconservation#serarhinosanctuary
These days, we rarely ask the men for anything, they say: these women are now supporting themselves!”- josephine aliyaro, star beader, salamis women's group, melako conservancy.
josephine has been beading with her friends for 10 years. “our financial problems brought us together in 2008,” she recalls, “at that time, we had to ask our husbands for an amount as small as ksh. 5 to buy pencils for our children. we decided to each contribute an amount of money to the group, which we would then lend each other when there was an urgent need - this became our bank.” this entrepreneurial spirit has served the group well. they were one of the first women’s groups to partner with the nrt trading @beadworkskenya business, which has enabled them to sell beaded jewellery and accessories to international markets. in 2017, melako conservancy emerged top in the beadworks revenue chart, thanks in no small part to josephine and her team.
at a practical level, their income has enabled the women to pay school fees and hospital bills, put food on the table, and reduce reliance on livestock. but it has also had a far greater impact on their entire community. salamis donates 40% of their annual revenue to melako conservancy’s operational budget, in recognition of the institutional support offered to their business by the conservancy. this has hugely increased their engagement in conservancy affairs, and the women now contribute actively in conservancy meetings and have a say in conservancy decisions. "when money gets into the conservancy, we know it has gotten into the community and we are happy to see the work of our hands benefiting our community,” says josephine. 📷sophie harrison #beadworks#laisamis#melako#beads#womeninbusiness#10women#sdg10
This tenth month of 2018, we’re all about the tenth un sustainable development goal - reduced inequalities. throughout october, we’ll be featuring 10 stories from 10 inspirational women in community conservancies, working to promote social and economic inclusion for everyone in this changing landscape.
first up, meet helen halake, vice chair of jaldesa community conservancy in marsabit. she devotes countless hours to promoting peace between jaldesa and the surrounding communities, who historically haven’t always seen eye to eye. she says that this harmony with their neighbours is the biggest impact her community have felt from conservancies. “there’s nothing you can do without having peace first,” she says "including empowering women. women cannot come together to start business groups in conservancies if there is no peace. they are an important group in the peace process, they have a lot of influence over the men that fight!” her commitment to promoting peace started back in 2006, when helen gathered together a few friends, some water and food and started to walk. "i walked for two weeks through rendille, gabbra and borana territory,” she says. “we had tea with them, we sang peace songs with them, we danced together. the government heard what we were doing and supported us with food and water. since then i can say we’ve worked really hard to keep peace, and people are feeling this benefit.” #sdg10#reducedinequalities#inspiringwomen#marsabit#nrt#peace@unwomen
"we're the only ones who can help ourselves and safeguard the future of pate. we can work with organisations and government, but the solutions must come from the people of pate. i am proud of the work i have done to conserve our natural resources for my grandchildren to benefit from in future." - mzee bakari bunu bakari, founding member of pate marine community conservancy (pmcc). pmcc is the first coastal community conservancy in kenya to design and implement locally managed marine areas, which protect critical breeding sites for the fish, crustacean and coral that sustain the pate community. mzee bakari, born and raised on pate island, has been a lobster fisherman all his life, and has seen first-hand the impact of over-fishing on pate's waters.
as a previous board member, and currently, a key adviser to the board, mzee bakari dedicates much of his time to increasing local awareness on sustainable fishing methods and acting as a community spokesperson to the board. he has also worked tirelessly to spearhead campaigns against sea turtle-poaching and illegal mangrove logging, which he sees as two of pate's biggest environmental challenges. all this work is made possible with help from @nature_africa, @usaid and other partners. #northernrangelandstrust#conservation#oceans#marine#communityconservation#marinelife 📷 @jeffwaweru
📷 @saruni.lodges happy #worldrhinoday!
in 2015, sera became the first community conservancy in east africa (likely the whole of africa) to establish a black rhino breeding sanctuary. a collaboration between the @kenyawildlifeservice, @lewa_wildlife, the sera community and nrt saw the critically endangered animal reintroduced to samburu ranges 25 years since the last individual was poached in the area.
rhinos were translocated to the 107 square kilometre sanctuary from nakuru national park and lewa wildlife conservancy. not only did the move help to reduce capacity pressures in those areas (a growing problem for rhino sanctuaries in kenya) but it also represented a shift in kenya's endangered species conservation model - to one were local communities are at the forefront for the first time.
since it was established, there have been three births in the sanctuary, bringing the current population to 13. a partnership between sera conservancy and saruni rhino has seen significant income generated for local people from tourism and jobs. “my proudest moment as chairlady of sera is the introduction of black rhino,” says pauline longojine, former chairlady of sera who now operates as a peace ambassador. “i’ve seen the immediate benefits through jobs and tourism, but i also see the benefits for future generations.” #rhino#blackrhino#conservationstories#kenya#safari#rhinotracking
Meet 8-month-old kikwar, the most recent arrival at @r.e.s.c.u.e - in namunyak community conservancy.
she was airlifted to the sanctuary at the end of july, 2018, after rangers found her stuck in a well near the seasonal river kikwar. they suspected that she had been trying to drink, and, unable to reach the water with her short trunk, she had fallen in and got stuck. in these cases, rangers will pull the calf out and stay by her side for a day or so, waiting to see if the herd will return. in kikwa’s case, it became evident that the herd had moved on, and the decision was made to rescue her. now settled in to the sanctuary, she is a strong, determined girl who enjoys her milk. kikwar will be handraised alongside the 13 other orphans at reteti, until the age of 3, when the re-wildling process will begin.
in rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orphaned and abandoned elephants, reteti epitomises the spirit of the community conservation movement sweeping across northern kenya.
📸: jeff waweru #elephants#rescueelephants#babyelephants#retetielephants
“when i take rangers to the field or when i drive my colleagues to peace meetings, i am very happy. because of our work, morans (young men) are now speaking to other morans about peace and stealing each other’s cattle has now reduced greatly.” jackie cherono, ruko conservancy driver.
for the past two years, 30-year-old jackie has worked as a driver at ruko community conservancy in baringo county in kenya’s north-rift valley region. for her, conservation and peace go hand in hand, and she plays a key role in getting rangers and community liaisons to where they need to be.
in a patriarchal society, female drivers are few and far between. but jackie has been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction to her role. “everyone, including my family, is very happy and they all like to see me driving my land cruiser. many young girls around ruko are now saying they want to be drivers like jackie.” “i don’t believe there are jobs for men or for women,” she says, “and when i speak to young girls, i tell
them to follow what is in their hearts and minds.” #womeninconservation#baringo
Welcome to the world ntibikwa! we’re delighted to celebrate the fourth calf to be born at sera rhino sanctuary.
on the 16th of august 2018, black rhino naitamany had her second calf, a female who has been named ntibikwa by sera rhino rangers.
her name roughly translates as ‘long-awaited’ in samburu, and was inspired by the long period of time that naitamany hid her calf - a total of 4 days. the teams on the ground gave mother and calf adequate time to bond, and were recently able to snap these lovely images when the two emerged for a short while.