We are dedicating the whole month of March to celebrating the incredible women on the frontlines of conservation through this three part series of interviews. Up next is Rebecca, a Community Scout based with our team in Rufunsa Conservancy. As one of the people on the ground, Rebecca monitors and protects the forest and wildlife in and around our Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project and the Lower Zambezi National Park. This interview has been edited for length and clarity
How long have you been working for the USAID funded Community Forests Program implemented by BCP?
Almost 3 years.
What is the best part of your role at BCP?
I enjoy conserving nature and I like protecting the wildlife from poachers.
What excites you about working for BCP and being a woman working in conservation?
I grew up in Luangwa and saw how the Department of National Parks and Wildlife look out after animals which helped develop my interest. I like being part of the conservation team with the Community Scouts. It makes me feel good knowing that I can do what a man can do. Most of the women don’t want a job like this, they think it’s just for men. One day I would like to become a Wildlife Police Officer.
What is the greatest challenge you face in your work in conservation?
It’s challenging to be the only female on the team sometimes. I worry about my safety with poachers and animals. With poachers I worry that they would make me their target. Where the bush is thick it can be challenging, poachers see you’re a women and will target you first. I’ve also been chased by elephants and ended up twisting my leg.
As a woman – what challenges have you faced in pursuing your career goals? How do you overcome these challenges?
My family didn’t approve of me becoming a scout. They thought it was a job for men. I just told them that I just had to do this and wanted to be independent.
What barriers do you think woman face in getting involved in conservation?
Not many women get involved in conservation because its hard work. They fear training. You undergo a lot of physical training, learn theory and practical’s like detecting a poacher’s camp.
What advice would you give young girls who want to get involved in conservation?
It’s good to conserve nature and protect animals. Spread your knowledge about conservation to your community and study it.
This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Photo Credits: BCP