By Shivani Bhalla, Ewaso Lions Founder
The heart of Ewaso Lions’ conservation work involves working with local communities. However, over the years we have found it difficult to include women in our work. We struggled to find how best we can involve women in lion work for security reasons, etc.
This year, we’ve slowly made progress in this. We’ve started a Saturday school for the women in one location where we work. They approached us asking to be taught basic education, just as the warriors do every Sunday. We employed a teacher in May and he teaches warriors in two conservancies and has now started working with the women every Saturday as well.
We are also working with a group of women to help with boma (livestock enclosure) reinforcement and monitoring of predators at the villages. We’re hoping that over time, after they have learned how to read and write a little, they will be able to record the conflict incidences at bomas themselves – currently our staff member Jeneria is visiting the women daily to record these incidences with them.
Finally, I joined the local Westgate Community Conservancy women’s committee in February this year. Each women’s group receives loans from Northern Rangelands Trust and we are working with them on how best to use these loans. Some ideas are vegetable gardens at the schools, beadwork, beekeeping, and much more. We’ve also organized a huge plastic clean up campaign with the women – for every twenty plastic bags they retrieve and hand over to us for recycling, they receive a cloth tote bag for their shopping.