My conservation story as a woman in Kenya
My passion for environment started when I was a kid. I could run from home, go to a nearby forest and watch birds and insects play. My favorites being doves and playing mantis. I enjoyed how one dove could sing and another one could respond. For the playing mantis, I admired their hard work digging a hole just to burry a worm. I wished I could film the scene and revisit it several times from home. I loved making tiara from wild flowers. Those days my daddy was a drunkard and would beat me up for not finishing my homework. He values education and for that reason he quit alcohol to educate us.
In year 2011 I joined secondary school. I love being active so I joined a club called International Climate Challenge (ICC) where we could plant trees in our school and in the neighboring community during tree planting and environmental days. I was excited to learn different things. We learnt that Climate change runs across several factors which include water, food, waste management, energy and community well- being. All these factors affect human day-to-day activities. Human being being the main contributor of climate change and environmental degradation.
The ICC club enabled me to participate in the Golden Climate Change Olympics 2014.I won a bronze medal at national level and proceeded to the international level where I won another bronze medal. I was in the waste management sector. I used to make beautiful polythene paper baskets, table mats and skipping ropes. We also made fire balls from waste materials, we planted vegetables in used buckets and polythene sacks. This way, pollution was minimized, food security achieved and improvement of community well-being was achieved. I was proud that many girls in our local school got inspired by my success and wanted to follow my steps.
I finished my high school and joined Karatina University year 2015. At first I was confused by the new environment having come from a local school. The only classic place I had ever visited was Light Academy schools in Mombasa, Kenya and Nairobi during the competitions. The great mix-up that caught me in the university was course selection. I was at first admitted with aquaculture and fisheries management course. This was in line with my passion for environmental conservation. Before joining the university, we had done university selection and I wanted anything to do with wildlife, natural resources or environmental conservation.
I got discouraged my highschool teachers that I took a bad course and it's not even marketable. My father supported me and told me that the course is rare and rare is gold. My fellow college colleagues asked of the course I was undertaking and I was ashamed to say because they could not comprehend the kind of study I was taking. They would laugh at me and asked me whether I was to become a fisherwoman. I decided to change the course and registered a new course. Biochemistry was my new course but I was scared that chemistry was hard for me. A day later I went back to the office and the people laughed at me. I wanted to take back what I loved-aquaculture.
I graduated in year 2019 with a 2nd class upper with honors in aquaculture. I was among the 11 students who managed to finish the course. Among us were 10 girls and one gentleman. The number was small in comparison to admission student number. We were over 40 but some dropped on the way, others went for different courses and others changed the university. I was motivated my friends in natural resources studies. We would carry some activities together and went for birding with them. There I learned how to hold a binoculars. Back then, the only bird I could I identify was specked mouse- bird.
Today I get research work from different fields including the Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Program, IFAD Kenya and Kenya Bureau of Statistics. I can happily say that I serve them purpose of my existence. Am a member of Friends of Kinañgop Plateau organization. We deal with biodiversity conservation mainly the aves. Our favorite bird is the Sharpe's longclaw which is endemic to the grasslands.
Being a lady in conservation is challenging as it is in different from other fields. Am mostly surrounded my men and they all seem to be after you. For that reason, I never managed to escape forever. I have my first born son from my conservation fellows. He is now six months old. Hoping he will be the future conservationist. The reason behind deciding to get the baby is that I was tired of running from men and having to explain myself why I wanted to be in conservation regardless of gender. I wanted the people to take me seriously and view me as group up woman who knows what she is doing. Furthermore, I had hoped to get my first born from the age of 25 years since I was young.
I now work temporarily as a research assistant as I raise him hoping one day I will secure my niche. Thank you for reading.