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The women protecting Kenya's wildlife

August 20, 2019

The first female Maasai community ranger unit in Kenya is teaming up with male colleagues to protect wildlife on their traditional land. The women are also receiving a sustainable income for the first time.

Global Ideas - Kenia
Image: DW/B. Thoma

Maasai women work as rangers in Kenya

Project goal: Protecting wildlife in one of Kenya's richest areas of biodiversity 

Project implementation: Team Lioness, the first female Maasai community ranger unit in Kenya, has joined forces with a group of 68 male colleagues to protect wildlife on traditional Maasai land within the Greater Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro region 

Project area: Olulugului-Olareshi Group Ranch in Kenya, an expansive area of traditional Maasai community lands

Project size: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is providing salaries, rations, housing and equipment to 76 community rangers in OOGR, eight of whom form Team Lioness 

Budget: $20,000-30,000 (€17,874-26,811) annually for Team Lioness

The eight young women that make up Team Lioness are bringing a new perspective and skill set to the ranger unit. While Maasai men at a certain age have to kill a lion to prove their masculinity, women have always been committed to conservation. Although it was hard for them to get support from the Council of Elders, the women are now on their way to preventing poaching and protecting local wildlife. Their days are now filled with reading tracks, recognizing animal movements and collecting data. 

Through providing sustainable income and professional opportunities for women who have never been employed before, the project also aims to increase general community development.

A film by Bettina Thoma-Schade