March 2022

Empowering women to rise

in Community

Empowering women to rise

As a company built on the foundations of sustainability and with a 100-year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations, Singita aims to champion programmes and initiatives that drive equality and upliftment. 

Of the many strategic conservation projects our non-profit partners run across each region, a large emphasis is placed on strengthening the sustainability of the communities where we operate. A crucial element of this focus is the empowerment of women to drive a future of self-sufficiency, built on the foundations of education, health, and employment. 

Across regions, our non-profit partners run programmes designed to empower women through support across education, healthcare and career development

Breaking the bias

It all forms part of a much larger, global movement to start levelling the playing field. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day – which is observed today – is #BreakTheBias. People all over the globe are encouraged to not only envision, but also create a world of gender equality – a ‘world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive’. 

At Singita, various initiatives work toward achieving these goals and breaking down barriers for women at a grass-roots level. An example of this is the annual Serengeti Girls Run – now in its fifth year – a joint initiative with the Grumeti Fund, our non-profit partner in Tanzania. Aimed at elevating and empowering women and girls in the country (the proceeds raised from participants of the four-day event go towards crucial education, healthcare and career programmes, all designed to engender sustainable employment down the line), it’s also a powerful platform for connection.   

The Serengeti Girls Run, which takes place annually in Tanzania, is underpinned by the spirit of community and connection

The ethos of the Serengeti Girls Run itself is one of solidarity and community – bringing women from different backgrounds and countries together through a common physical goal, which forms lifelong bonds and friendships through the mental and emotional journey this run takes them on. Connecting over the four days, the women find common ground and shared values – indicative of the power of the collective. This collective is reflected too in the growing ranks of women across industries who are rising in their respective fields. 

“One of the most inspiring ways to connect is to share and celebrate the journeys of women who are turning their dreams into success stories. We see a growing and influential network of remarkable women in our industry - from talented chefs, conservationists and guides, educators, pilots, wellness therapists, managers, finance and back of house legends and so many others,” says Inge Kotze, Singita’s General Manager of Conservation. 

Donah Kabaganwa, who heads up the Akarabo Nursery, and conservation officer Claudine Tuyishime are two of the many accomplished women based at Singita Volcanoes National Park

Rallying powerful women 

One place you’ll find this is in the warm heart of Rwanda’s mountainous landscape. Here Singita Kwitonda Lodge simultaneously exudes the softness and strength of a nurturing feminine energy. With a staff complement comprised of many inspiring women who manage key aspects of the lodge’s guest experience, the profound sense of wellbeing and calm at this award-winning sanctuary on the edge of Volcanoes National Park has been resonating profoundly with guests since it opened. 

From a bold but sympathetic design by Sally Tsiliyiannis of GAPP Architects and warm but striking interiors by Geordi de Sousa Costa (of our longtime design partners Cecile & Boyd), to conservation and community officer Claudine Tuyishime (in charge of the reforestation efforts, as well as various other facets), Angelique Iraguha in the kitchen and Donah Kabaganwa, who runs our beautiful Arakabo Nursery, women are represented across the board alongside many others. Heading up the team with her gentle and insightful guidance is Lydia Nzayo, the General Manager. 

The bold but nurturing atmosphere of Singita Kwitonda Lodge served as an ideal base for the recent ROAR AFRICA Women's Empowerment Retreat

With such a powerful feminine presence, it was the perfect location for ROAR AFRICA’s recent Women’s Empowerment Retreat, which has just culminated here, with the lodge serving as a base for women from around the world to gather and learn from one another, and share in the insight of a remarkable lineup of speakers. 

From RwandAir’s CEO, Yvonne Manzi Makolo (the only African woman currently in charge of a national carrier) to Ariella Kageruka, the head of tourism and conservation at Rwanda’s Development Board and Claire Bradbury, a chartered environmentalist, lawyer and wellbeing specialist, the attendees also included Corie Knights, the chief fundraiser for WildAid.

ROAR AFRICA's Women's Empowerment Retreat brought together an impressive lineup of women speakers across industries and global guests to share in a unique and inspiring experience. Photos: Courtesy of ROAR AFRICA

This incredible show of success, passion and wisdom not only bodes well for a global future that champions the unique attributes of women, but it was also a beautiful affirmation and acknowledgment of their equality.

Be a part of the ongoing efforts to empower women and girls by supporting one of the various initiatives carried out by our partner Funds & Trusts > 

Julia Freemantle
By Julia Freemantle

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