200308 big life female rangersThe women of Big Life Foundation are critical to the success of our conservation programs - whether it’s working in administration, finance, education, serving on the Board of Directors, in the radio room, or within our ranger units.

Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate each of these leaders, and especially our female rangers.  Because when we talk about our community rangers, we don’t just mean men. Big Life currently employs 8 female rangers, with another two in training soon to join the ranks. It’s a small number, but a growing one, and especially significant within the Maasai culture, which is largely patriarchal. 

We’re extremely proud of these women. They have all overcome significant odds and today enjoy steady employment and financial freedom previously inaccessible to them. Due to their positions as rangers, Linet was able to help fund her brother’s education, Agnes has been able to purchase her own home and livestock, Veronica supports an aging mother, Joyce was able to keep her family together when her husband became unemployed, and Ann is able to put money aside for her daughter’s future.

When we say that conservation must support the people in order for people to support conservation, this is what we mean. The ripple effects and benefits of all of our programs start with employment and empowerment at the local level, and these women are powerful examples of that.

We are honored on International Women’s Day to celebrate the achievements of women the world over but especially our staff and rangers. We’re grateful, as always, for your support in making it happen, and especially grateful for our partners at The Thin Green Line and Intrepid Travel, who have supported the development of Big Life’s female ranger program.

Photo: Jeremy Goss