The Maasai community have been known to be stern custodians of their culture and traditions, however, on Saturday, September 21, was the turning point for 12 Maasai women who defied odds to hold professional jobs in the wildlife sector.
Reports by The Standard indicated that the female rangers in Laikipia County graduated as all women anti-poaching rangers at Segera Conservancy.
This was after six months of extensive training in different wildlife reserves.
The team will be the first only-female rangers in the male-dominated career in Kenya and East Africa.
One of the rangers, Ann Momina disclosed that growing up, she knew women were only restricted to domestic chores.
“I grew up knowing Maasai women should only graze and take care of children at home. My parents refused to educate me since I could not help them,” Momina stated.
Women and men from Maasai, Samburu and Turkana also gathered to witness and celebrate the success of the former housewives.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala who officiated the passing out ceremony proudly declared that this was the only women team was the first in the country and East Africa.
“It’s clear that even women can protect wildlife just as men. They can handle guns in the forest and they just need support and opportunity,” he affirmed.
Balala also added that the said the special training for women would be introduced at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
The intense training involved traversing through valleys, plains and wildlife conservancies with experienced hands taking the women through the tactics in conservation and protecting the wildlife.
Another ranger Elizabeth Natapar, described the training admitted that it was worth the struggle.
“It was very tough and depressing but we soldiered on because of our determination. We could carry heavy bags containing the stuff we were using for the training. There were dangerous animals like snakes, buffaloes, rhinos, jumbos but we preserved,” Elizabeth stated.
This comes shortly after Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, presided over a graduation event where an elite all-female Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) was unveiled.
The commandos squad is the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa and will be tasked with handling organised crime in Kenya.
The all-female unit comprises of 48 officers from the Administration Police Service who have undergone a thorough five-month of physical and combat drilling.