In Kenya's SORALO and Shompole Lands, Samantha du Toit Takes Us to the Great Rift Valley

In Kenya's SORALO and Shompole Lands, Samantha du Toit Takes Us to the Great Rift Valley

Samantha du Toit (formerly Russell) was born and raised in Kenya. After completing secondary school in Nairobi she went to England to study Zoology and Psychology at Bristol University in England

Upon returning to Kenya, du Toit went straight into working in wildlife conservation with Dr. David Western, founder of the African Conservation Centre. Her first major task was to establish the baseline monitoring of the Shompole and Olkiramatian ecosystem, over eight years ago.

Today the Shompole Conservancy is a large privately operated conservation area in the south of the Great Rift Valley, Kenya. It is located between Lake Magadi to the north and Lake Natron to the south, on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. The conservancy was registered in 1979 and is owned by the Loodokolani Maasi with over 2000 registered members representing around 10,000 Loodokilani Maasai dependents.

Today, Samantha du Toit can be found at the Lale’enok Resource Centre, which she helped establish and now plays a major role in its operations. Or we might find her in the Nairobi SORALO office, helping to manage the affairs of the South Rift Association of Land Owners. This network of shared goals and objectives operates with complementary decision-making and objectives.

How Women in Kenya Mobilized for Peace After Surviving Violence

How Women in Kenya Mobilized for Peace After Surviving Violence

Women are rarely represented adequately at peace negotiations yet they make up half the population of any country in conflict or at war. This remains the case despite increasing global policy awareness on how women are affected by conflict and the importance of including them in peace and security processes. For instance, the UN’s landmark framework on women, peace and security reaffirms the important role women play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.

Women’s contributions are also underscored in African peace instruments like the Maputo Protocol and Kenya’s National Action Plan.

But how do women in conflict actually engage in peacebuilding? There is considerable academic literature on the links between gender and peace but the lived experiences of women peace builders are not well captured.

Kenya's Dorothy Ghettuba, CEO of Spielworks Media, Joins Netflix Originals Group

Kenya's Dorothy Ghettuba, CEO of Spielworks Media, Joins Netflix Originals Group

Kenya's Dorothy Ghettuba, CEO of Spielworks Media, Joins Netflix Originals Group

The popular video streaming service Netflix has hired Kenyan award-winning film maker TV series producer Dorothy Ghettuba to commission more African content. The TV entrepreneur is a co-founder and current CEO of the Nairobi-based Spielworks Media, an African production company launched in 2009.

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Kenya's US Anti-Poaching Expert Faye Cuevas Announces 'Team Lioness', 8 Young Maasai Women Rangers + Plans For Many More

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Kenya's US Anti-Poaching Expert Faye Cuevas Announces 'Team Lioness', 8 Young Maasai Women Rangers + Plans For Many More

Team Lioness, a team of eight young Maasai women is one of Kenya’s first all-female ranger units — and the direct result of Faye’s consultations with the Masaii women leaders. Officially announced on March 6, 2019, Team Lioness joins the Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers (OCWR) who protect wildlife across six bases and one mobile unit in OOGR through IFAW’s tenBoma, an innovative wildlife security initiative. Team Lioness is operating in this precious natural corridor created by Kenya and Tanzania under the majesty of Kilimanjaro.

“In the larger Amboseli region, out of almost 300 wildlife rangers, to my knowledge there was only one woman,” Faye explained, in introducing Team Lioness. “The need was apparent.”

 The women of team Lioness were selected based on their academic achievements and physical strength, as well as their demonstration of trustworthiness, discipline, and integrity. Typically, a Maasai girl leaves school around age 10 and have few opportunities to achieve a higher education.

“It’s very rare that Maasai women achieve a secondary education,” says Cuevas. “But all of team Lioness have the equivalent of a US high school education, and none of them have had a paying job before this. It’s breaking barriers.”

“As the first women joining the OCWR Rangers, each of the team Lioness recruits brings a new perspective and a different experience with wildlife than her male counterparts,” Faye continues. “They are important voices in protecting wildlife and reconnecting communities to the benefits of sharing land with the magnificent big cats and other wildlife that call OOGR home.”

Will Burrard-Lucas + Tsavo Trust + BeetleCam Capture Kenya's Endangered, Magnificent Elephant Queens

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Will Burrard-Lucas + Tsavo Trust + BeetleCam Capture Kenya's Endangered, Magnificent Elephant Queens

You are forgiven for thinking that F_MU1 is a woolly mammoth brought to life. Queen of Elephants, the name photographer Will Burrard-Lucas gave to F__MU1, was a rare “big tusker” elephant, one of perhaps only 30 left in Africa. This royal creature enjoyed a peaceful life for more than 60 years in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.

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These images of F_MU1, renamed Elephant Queen on WBL’s website, are among the last images captured of her. Over long periods of horrific, violent poaching in Kenya, Elephant Queen is a survivor, and she died a natural death shortly after Burrard-Lucas made these magnificent image captures for his new book ‘Land Of Giants.’

Burrard-Lucas embarked on the ambitious project in partnership with Tsavo Trust in August 2017, in an effort to promote worldwide support for the elephants of Tsavo.

In his own words, the photographer shares his story of meeting Elephant Queen for the first time:

A Jewelry Design Journey From Fashionable Omo Valley Arbore Women To Mario Gerth To INIVA Miami

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A Jewelry Design Journey From Fashionable Omo Valley Arbore Women To Mario Gerth To INIVA Miami

Serendipity seems to be always at play at Anne of Carversville and in my GlamTribal Jewelry. Close friends think the powers are actually stronger than serendipity in my case, but let me stick with the facts here. The DNA of my GlamTribal collection lies in East Africa, in an area extending from southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley into the Lake Turkana region, South Sudan and northern Kenya, with a final destination in Nairobi and specifically Kibera. This is not to say that there aren’t more pieces in my puzzle, but my life has wound in and around these pillars for decades.

Hans Silvester’s monumental book ‘Natural Fashion’ (2009) introduced me to the Omo Valley people in 2012, inspiring the first major turn in my vision for GlamTribal. These precious people are living in grave danger of extinction in a modern world, In particular the Gilgel Give III damn threatens their very existence. For five years Italian photographer Fausto Podavini has charted the progress of the damn and its impact on one of Africa’s most remote frontiers. National Geographic updates the story of perhaps epic change in the Omo Valley.