The month of March is considered as the women’s month in relation to the International Women's Day on March 8, which seeks to commemorate and encourage the role of women around the world. As such, we shine a spotlight on one of our female rangers. To be a female conservation ranger on the frontlines of wildlife conservation is arguably one of the most threatening jobs in Northeastern Kenya. And yet in the heartlands of Garissa County, there are a resilient handful of women fastening their boots and standing up for wildlife every single day. One such lady is Hodhan Ahmed, a 23 years old ranger from Bouralgy village in Garissa county. She currently acts as the deputy warden for Garissa Giraffe Sanctuary, where she joined in 2015 at the tender age of 19 years old. The Garissa giraffe Sanctuary is situated a few kilometers from Garissa town.
WANGARI MAATHAI’S FOOTSTEPS
Having been born within the surrounding villages, Hodhan grew up seeing and interacting with wildlife especially the graceful reticulated giraffes and the majestic Grevy’s zebra; both of which are categorized as endangered by the IUCN red list. Inspired by their beauty, she decided to jump into the world of conservation in the footsteps of her role model, the late Nobel laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai. In her memory, she has so far planted 173 native trees within two local schools.
BLESSED TO BLESS OTHERS.
Hodhan, which loosely translates - one who’s well off or blessed in Somali- believes those who are blessed have the prerogative to protect precious things—and that’s a maxim she lives by. On any given day, Hodhan helps coordinate and facilitate field patrols within the giraffe sanctuary and also monitoring of various wildlife species; and arrest the poachers who come bearing snares and spears. On the surface, she may be a soft-spoken lady—but awe unto anyone who underestimates her resolve.
Her job has also pushed her out of her comfort zone. She intimates that there are certain things that she can presently do now that she could not have done when she first joined the Giraffe team. She says being a ranger allows her to relay information and interact freely with people from different places.
She hopes to encourage more women to get involved in Garissa’s conservation efforts and explore opportunities for sustainable use of the wildlife resources within and around Giraffe center.
IT IS A MAN’S WORLD NO MORE
One main challenge that Hodhan and other female scouts face within the giraffe rangelands; is working in a man’s world. Despite the love for their job, there are instances where her male counterparts look down on them. This, however, boosts their zeal to show that they can not only do the job but also beat the gents at it too.
In the face of all of this, Hodhan and her female colleagues are out there, day in and day out, protecting what’s important, often at great personal risk. And they’re amazing at it.