Many people do not know how they can be involved in or how they could work in conservation. The PACE Careers in Conservation module tries to address this by showing a wide range of employment and career roles that exist. It shares the stories of people who have made successful careers in Conservation – the kind of jobs they have, what it involves and the impact they have had.
Successful conservation is as much about people as it is about wildlife. People, wildlife and the environment all depend on each other – they must all thrive. Many of the communities living in close proximity to wildlife are poorer. They often have had limited access to education, and traditionally depend on the same landscapes as the wildlife for their survival. Sociologists play an essential role in ensuring that the needs of these people are met at the same time as balancing the conservation needs of wildlife and habitats.
Dr Elizabeth Pantoren is a Kenyan sociologist who has made her career in Conservation. Elizabeth grew up and went to school in Marsabit in the north of Kenya, surrounded by a national park and a nature reserve. After high school she studied sociology at university. She joined the civil service where she worked in the Community Enterprise Development Department, working with community nature-based enterprises. She is a manager, she teaches and mentors, in her service and in the community. In her current post as Director of Programmes in the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) Elizabeth works with community conservancies. As an example, one of the Social Enterprises set up by the NRT is BeadWORKS, which has helped local women to earn a good, regular income from their traditional beading skills. Skills they used to make jewelry and decorative items for local use is now a successful international business. The women have improved their own and their families lives, hugely, and contribute money to their conservancies, all without resorting to activities that damage the environment or cause conflict with wildlife.
You can read more about Elizabeth and her work in the PACE Careers in Conservation booklet.