Role models for our Next Generation of conservationists
The PACE Careers in Conservation module shares the stories of people who have made successful careers in wildlife and nature conservation. Some started by chance, others planned carefully, some have university degrees, others are technicians who learned on the job – everyone has their own journey.
Conservation provides an extraordinary and increasing range of job and career opportunities, all across Africa. We hope that by sharing success stories, we can inform and inspire our Next Generation of Conservationists.
Hasabwamariya Enathe from Rwanda was drawn in to the conservation world by a love of the wild life around her home. Her target was to become a university professor, but her path took a different turn. Currently she is based in Paris advising global leaders on conservation issues.
“After secondary school, I lived near Nyungwe Forest National Park. I could hear and see primates, birds, and other wildlife at the edge of the park and fell in love with them. Local people were forbidden to enter the forest when it became a protected area, which created a lot of negative stories about wild animals, and conflicts developed between the communities and park management. I wanted to help my people, my country, to live in harmony with its natural heritage. That’s what has inspired and motivated me.
I chose to study Zoology and Conservation at university, because of my own curiosity interest in animal behaviours, but also wanting to learn how to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. It concerned me that so many people didn’t know about or were not interested in conservation, even though it is a main source of Rwanda’s big tourism income. Also, as a woman, I wanted to change the view on how men in Africa see us. I graduated from university planning to be a professor of primatology. I volunteered a lot and got study placements, and that helped me get work on chimpanzee and gorilla conservation projects. I joined a youth environmental group that got environmental issues into the media. This allowed me to travel and participate in several important international conferences. Then I did a masters degree.
I am evidence that people can make a career in conservation if they want to because I didn’t have parents around to help me, I progressed by determination, connecting with people and seeking out opportunities. I didn’t become a professor, maybe I still will, but for now I love the job I have. I work for UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), as a natural heritage expert,
and focal point for East and Southern Africa. My main job is to assist countries in the protection and preservation of their natural and cultural heritage. What I love most about my work is that I interact and work with global leaders, helping to solve problems affecting our natural and cultural World heritage sites.”