August 2021

Women on the RISE in African conservation

in Community

Women on the RISE in African conservation

A large part of Singita’s commitment to a sustainable future is an ecotourism model built on conservation principles that seek to empower the communities in the regions where we operate . 

This takes many forms – from early childhood education, to small-business development – and in collaboration with our non-profit conservation partners, a number of programmes and initiatives across the continent continuously seek to create social and economic prosperity for the people who share Africa’s remaining wilderness areas. 

The Grumeti Fund’s RISE (Research and Innovation for the Serengeti Ecosystem) is an applied research centre that aims to create innovative solutions to solve current conservation challenges

Women & girls’ empowerment in Singita Grumeti

Our conservation partner in Tanzania, the Grumeti Fund’s RISE (Research and Innovation for the Serengeti Ecosystem) is an applied research centre in the western Serengeti, with a mission to create innovative tools and solutions to combat the most pressing conservation challenges of our time. Fundamental to the Grumeti Fund is the belief that conservation programmes that create opportunities for women and youth will lead the way to a future where conservation actions and policies are inclusive, and as a result, contribute to better outcomes for both people and wildlife. 

Built upon a platform of collaboration and education, RISE aims to develop and support research initiatives that provide tangible and resilient solutions to benefit the people and wildlife of the Serengeti ecosystem and beyond. Foundational to RISE is the commitment to support local talent and early-stage conservationists, and make space for women in conservation. 

Central to the Grumeti Fund's ethos is the belief that policies that create a more inclusive conservation landscape pave the way for a better future

Women in conservation

Offering practical training for women in the conservation sector who are looking to gain entry into the industry, or advance their careers, the Grumeti Fund has observed that the disproportionately low number of women in the sector is certainly not due to a lack of talent, but rather a lack of the right connections or access to opportunities. “Beyond training, we want to bring women into the fold, create and share opportunities, and actively seek to connect and recommend women affiliated with our programmes for opportunities throughout Tanzania,” says Bhoke Mtatiro, head of communications and fundraising at the Grumeti Fund. 

Through practical training and the sharing of resources and networks, RISE aims to facilitate real opportunities for women and youth in the conservation sector

Taking action

Women in the field – a skills-based training programme for Tanzanian women in the conservation sector – focuses on bringing in small groups for intensive instruction in research design, field data collection methods, and data analysis. “This programme is quadrupling this year, and we have also implemented an internship placement programme for unemployed participants – following which, participants will have the opportunity to be matched with a conservation organisation in Tanzania for an internship. This is only possible due to the gracious support of several conservation organisations around Tanzania, many of whom have sent staff to serve as instructors or join as participants in previous years of the programme,” says Mtatiro.

RISE has various programmes in place - from internship placement, to graduate funding - to support women in the field

Other avenues through which RISE supports women in the field are through graduate student research support (financial and supervisory support for Tanzanian women in graduate student programs in Tanzania and abroad) whereby students have access to organisational expertise, top tier facilities, and can make use of long-term monitoring and research data in their work. “Graduate student support is not restricted to women but we are consciously committed to maintaining gender balance,” notes Mtatiro. 

RISE is incidentally also run by an all-women team who keep the wheels turning – from the day-to-day operations to those running long-term research projects and training programmes. 

An all-women team on the ground at RISE is testament to the Grumeti Fund's commitment to achieving diversity in conservation

Mission & vision for the future

As far as long-term goals, the facility aims to develop and support research targeting tangible solutions to benefit the people and wildlife of the Serengeti ecosystem and beyond. 

“Conservation will only be effective when a diversity of perspectives that represent those who utilise natural resources, live alongside wildlife, and potentially benefit from conservation are actively involved in every facet of conservation – from research, to management, to policy development. We believe that one of the best ways to do that is to consciously support and include women in every facet of the work that we do,” says Mtatiro. 

Offer your support

Click here to contribute to the ongoing and important work the Grumeti Fund does to empower communities.

By Julia Freemantle

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