This International Women’s Day and throughout March, WildAid is shining a spotlight on some of the incredible women in conservation who are working tirelessly to protect wildlife.
Every day, women across Africa quietly do their part to protect wildlife and promote conservation. In the “Heroes in the Spotlight”video series, WildAid highlights some of their stories and explores how the responsible wildlife tourism industry creates jobs, both directly and indirectly.
“Listen to these people talk about their connection with wildlife and you will begin to understand why investing in national parks and wildlife conservation are so important,” said WildAid Chief Program Officer John Baker. “When managed properly, tourism can have powerful benefits for communities, wildlife, and national economies.”
The video series follows five inspirational Ugandans. Among the five, viewers meet Marriam, a primary school teacher who made wildlife education a priority and Winnie, a wildlife crime prosecutor who takes pride in protecting her nation’s wildlife.
Heroes in the Spotlight celebrates Africa’s wildlife heroes, tells their stories on why they care about wildlife in their own words and urges viewers to report wildlife crime using the hashtag #PoachingStealsFromUsAll. All but one of the videos were created with an iPhone and free video editing software, setting a powerful example of how these stories can be told at an affordable cost.
Marriam, the headteacher at Paraa Primary School, was saddened to learn her students were involved in poaching incidents: “So we thought it’s right to sensitize the children, who would, in turn, sensitize their parents about how tourists and the park support their education. Little by little the rate of poaching amongst the children and communities is now being reduced.”
Winnie, a wildlife prosecutor in Uganda, takes pride in telling her daughter she made a difference for her nation’s wildlife.
“I want to tell [my daughter] when she is older that I was part of the solution,” Winnie says. “I was one of the good guys, who fought to keep our wildlife alive for her generation. ”
Under its “Poaching Steals From Us All” campaign, WildAid works with government agencies and celebrities to encourage tourism at wildlife parks in Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Gabon. The campaign seeks to build public support for wildlife conservation and a matter of pride and aspiration for everyone in Africa.
By 2030, consumer spending on tourism, hospitality, and recreation in Africa is projected to reach about $261.77 billion, $137.87 billion more than in 2015, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institute. Tourism in Uganda, most of which is generated from the wildlife sector, supports more than 1,173,000 jobs throughout the country and earns more than US$1.3 billion in foreign exchange.
Help raise support for women in conservation. Join the “Let’s all choose to challenge” movement on social media. Strike the #ChooseToChallenge pose with your one hand high to show your commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes and help forge an inclusive world. Then tag other women supporting/working in conservation in your post.
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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