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          All-Women Anti-Poaching Ranger Academy

          Kenya (September 21, 2019) – Together with support of the Julius Baer Foundation and private donors, the ZEITZ foundation’s first season of All-Women Anti-Poaching Rangers graduates at Segera conservancy in Kenya.

          The All-Women Anti-Poaching Ranger Academy began in March 2019 with recruitment of the first season of female rangers from Segera’s local communities, focussed on providing opportunity to those who have been marginalized. As part of this initiative, education and sustainable employment are two key development factors created through conservation and it has become a platform for female empowerment in a male dominated industry.

          In April 2019, the first group of 12 female rangers started a holistic training programme, designed to achieve the highest standards of anti-poaching and security, at the ZEITZ foundation’s new training academy. These women were provided with all the elite training, equipment and support required on the front lines of conservation, then officially certified at a Passing Out Ceremony held on Segera conservancy on 21st September 2019.

          Following their graduation ceremony, attended by Honorable CS Najib Balala, Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, the first season of female rangers are now employed by Segera but continue to engage with their communities, ensuring dialogue as the primary driver for peace, intercultural understanding and preservation. 

          The ZEITZ foundation’s future goal will now be to expand the initiative. Damien Mander, Founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), pioneered the Akashinga model in 2017 - being the first nature reserve in the world to be managed and protected by women. The Akashinga team and Mander have worked alongside the ZEITZ foundation to develop a template that can be made available not just in Zimbabwe and Kenya, but throughout Africa as a whole, bringing a progressive new approach to conservation and female empowerment in rural communities. It is believed this exciting concept and ground-breaking approach could change conservation forever. 

          This year’s International Women’s Day has been themed ‘Balance for Better’, which has been best captured by formation of this all-female anti-poaching unit. These women will not only get to set a new standard in their profession, but also get an opportunity to improve the livelihoods of their families. Women are nurturers and that instinct transfers easily to protecting the environment in which their families can thrive. I am very delighted that Kenya takes the lead in East Africa in empowering women in wildlife conservation.”  Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife

          It is been a long standing mission of the ZEITZ foundation to create initiatives that enhance the livelihoods of local communities, empower women, and conserve nature. We are proud to be supporting this ground-breaking venture that will improve women’s lives and support conservation in Kenya.” Jochen Zeitz, Founder, ZEITZ foundation

          “Rather than recruit women to be rangers, we wanted to know what their dreams were. Who did they want to be? Being a ranger then became a vehicle to fulfill their own destiny. Putting women at the center of the program’s focus gave us the greatest traction in community development and relationships, and conservation simply became the bi-product. In many ways, women are the bridge conservation has been longing to build into neighboring communities.”  Damien Mander, IAPF

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