Reflecting on Five Years of Women in the Field  

On this International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to celebrate not only the incredible achievements of women worldwide but also the significant 5-year milestone of our Women in the Field Training program. When we launched the Women in the Field (WIF) program in 2019, we aimed to propel the careers of women in Tanzania’s conservation and research sectors. Five years later, we have had the privilege to cheer on and support a passionate, talented community of women who have embraced challenges and pursued incredible goals.

This program has cultivated a far-reaching and supportive network that spans the country, and beyond. Alumnae can be found researching critically endangered reptiles and vultures, monitoring elephants and lions, engaging in protected areas and natural resource management, and studying or lecturing at universities. Many of our alumni are interested in pursuing graduate degrees and have been particularly successful in securing the Karimjee Jivanjee Foundation scholarship to attend the University of Glasgow. This highly competitive scholarship provides full financial support for a one-year Conservation Management of African Ecosystems (CMAE) MSc and for a year of fieldwork to implement an independent research project. Out of hundreds of applications, only two or three scholarships are awarded each year, and since 2020, WIF alumnae have secured five.

Dr Thomas Morrison, lecturer and program director for the CMAE MSc, explained:

Since the Karimjee Foundation MSc Scholarship to the University of Glasgow began in 2017, the quality of applicants, interviewees and scholarship winners to our programme has gotten better every year. There is no doubt in my mind that this is driven in large part by the Women in the Field program. WIF candidates are always well-prepared for their independent fieldwork projects, and they bring skills and confidence to their projects. It’s going to be exciting to see the impacts of these women on conservation in Tanzania in coming years.”

As we mark this significant anniversary, we reflect on the journey of empowerment and transformation that has taken place within our program. From providing women with the practical conservation skills they need to succeed to fostering a supportive and inclusive community, our training program has been a catalyst for change and progress. After five years of WIF, we can look back today and celebrate the growth of the program from 4 to 12 participants trained each year – the program has hosted 34 aspiring female conservationists. And most obviously, WIF which was once hosted in various, unoccupied meeting spaces at Grumeti Fund, today, has a permanent home in our exceptional RISE facility.

WIF has also evolved into the strong program it is today because of its strong community of contributors. Many individuals have joined us as instructors and many organizations have consistently supported our mission by providing internship and job opportunities for our participants. We are grateful for the support of our partners and donors who have made this journey possible.

The stories of resilience, determination and success that have emerged from our program are a testament to the power of investing in women’s education and training. Looking ahead, we are committed to continuing to support and uplift women in their personal and professional growth.

Join us in celebrating the achievements, contributions, and potential of women thriving and making a lasting impact in conservation.

Happy International Women’s Day!

#IWD2024 #WomenInConservation #WomenEmpowerment