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About

Through large-scale restoration and rewilding, NATURAL STATE secures biodiversity, sequesters and stores carbon, and helps achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

CHALLENGE

Intact natural habitat is critical for our survival along with the 10 million species with which we share the planet. Yet we have now degraded 75% of the world’s natural ecosystems and are losing an area of forest the size of Greece each year. To avoid the greatest climate and extinction crisis in human history, we must halt habitat destruction and rapidly accelerate protection, restoration and rewilding efforts globally.

 

One of the greatest barriers is the cost of large-scale protection and restoration, exacerbated by chronic underfunding and traditional dependency on limited public funding. The funding gap for addressing biodiversity loss and climate change is an estimated $3.5 trillion per annum. Despite the many commitments from governments and the private sector, with the exception of a few impressive efforts, there is little large-scale restoration and rewilding happening on the ground, particularly in the parts of the world where it is needed the most.

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NATURAL STATE works with conservation leaders and local communities to help build restoration/rewilding capacity, infrastructure and implement impact monitoring technology in landscapes where there is the greatest potential to restore carbon and biodiversity while improving livelihoods.  We are developing and improving a large-scale restoration blueprint that can be easily replicated across landscape.

 

In addition to catalyzing large-scale restoration projects we aim to help make them sustainable.  We are developing cutting-edge carbon, biodiversity and development impact monitoring technology, using the latest Artificial Intelligence and satellite data.  We are combining this with improved carbon credit verification and certification processes to help trigger nature-based markets.  We believe this will unlock billions of dollars of private sector capital and soon be the largest source of funding for large-scale protection and restoration.

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SOLUTION

Investment in nature-based solutions has the potential to be the single largest funding source for large-scale restoration and rewilding. However, the success or failure of projects needs to be much more transparent if the sector is to attract significant investment. NATURAL STATE works with local communities, industry, government and conservation leaders to help protect, restore and rewild large landscapes. We do this by helping build local capacity and infrastructure, leveraging technology and implementing innovative financing mechanisms. We are revolutionizing carbon, biodiversity and development impact monitoring using the latest AI, cellular technology and remote sensing technology, combining this with improved verification and certification processes to make nature-based solutions investments a reality, unlocking billions of dollars of private sector capital.

 

Our aim is to make large-scale protection and rewilding sustainable over the long-term. We focus on areas where there is the greatest potential to restore threatened habitat, rewild species, sequester carbon and improve livelihoods.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

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Elizabeth Littlefield

Elizabeth L. Littlefield is currently Senior Partner at West Africa Blue and a Senior Adviser at the Pollination Group. From 2010-2017, she served under U.S. President Barack Obama as President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), now renamed the US International Development Finance Corporation. There she oversaw OPIC’s profitable $29 billion portfolio of financing and insurance to support private investment in more than 100 developing countries with a strong shift towards poorer countries and investments in renewable resources. From 2000 to 2010, Ms. Littlefield was a Director at the World Bank and the CEO of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, (CGAP), the central think-tank and standard setter for microfinance. Earlier in her career, Ms. Littlefield spent 17 years at JP Morgan, in New York, Paris, and London, serving as JP Morgan’s Managing Director in charge of capital markets and financing across Africa, Middle East, emerging Europe, and the former Soviet Union. She currently chairs the board of M-Kopa, the pioneer in pay-as-you-go solar in Africa. She also serves on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund, Development Alternatives Inc and several mission-driven institutions. She attended Sciences Politiques in Paris, graduated from Brown University and was an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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Lisa Karanja

Lisa Karanja, Kenya Country Head for TBI, is a UK Barrister and Kenyan Advocate, with over 20 years’ experience in law, trade and regional integration in East Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Prior to TBIGC, she was the Senior Director for Business Competitiveness at Trademark EA, coordinating export capacity, logistics, women and trade and private sector programmes for the EA Region. Earlier in her career, Lisa’s work included commercial and criminal practice at chambers in London, followed by four years as a Snr Commercial Litigation Associate at Kaplan & Stratton, the largest commercial legal practice in EA. She is also a previous Orville Schell Fellow, Human Rights Watch in New York focusing on women’s rights in Africa. This was followed by a 3-year appointment as Senior Legal Advisor to the Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in the Office of the President (Kenya,) and, consecutively, four years as Deputy-Director, Transparency International-Kenya. She serves on the Boards of the Business Advocacy Fund, Muthaiga Country Club and the Mara Elephant Project, and is a recipient of the Chevening scholarship (FCDO).

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Krithi Karanth

Dr. Karanth’s research in India and Asia spans 24 years, encompassing macro-level studies assessing patterns of species distributions and extinctions, impacts of wildlife tourism, consequences of voluntary resettlement, land-use change, and understanding human-wildlife interactions. She has published 100+ scientific and popular articles and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. Krithi’s conservation and research work has been featured in three award-winning BBC Series and she has co-produced five documentaries. In 2020, she co-starred with Kevin Pietersen in Save This Rhino: India. Krithi's work has been covered by over 250 media outlets such as Washington Post, Time Magazine, Al Jazeera Television, National Geographic, New York Times, and Scientific American. Krithi is National Geographic Society’s 10,000th grantee and a 2012 Emerging Explorer. Her more than 45 awards and recognitions include the Eisenhower Fellowship, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, University of Florida’s Outstanding Young Alumnus, India's Power Women by Femina, and Vogue Women of the Year. In 2019, she was chosen as one of the five 2019 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureates. In 2021, she was selected for the Government of India’s Invest India Women Achiever. Krithi has a Ph.D. from Duke (2008), a M.E.Sc from Yale (2003) with B.S and B.A degrees from the University of Florida (2001).

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Winnie Kiiru

Dr. Winnie Kiiru is a Kenyan-born wildlife biologist with a distinguished career in research, policy, advocacy, and wildlife management. She has recently received the State Honour “Order of the Grand Warrior” in recognition of her leadership in conservation. She was also appointed Chairperson of the inaugural Board of Wildlife Research and Training Institute, a newly formed government organization charged with leading wildlife research and training in Kenya. Winnie served as a Trustee of the Kenya Wildlife Service and chaired the conservation committee of the board, and was instrumental in influencing KWS to conduct a national inventory of the ivory and rhino horn stockpile, leading the team that successfully conducted an historic Ivory and Rhino Horn inventory and subsequent ivory burn in 2016. She is a founding member of the African Elephant Coalition, serves as the Head of Government Relations at the Elephant Protection Initiative, and acts as chairperson of the leadership council of WE Africa.

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Faustina Mwolo

Faustina Muthoki Mwololo has had a keen interest in wildlife and nature conservation since her school years. In 2021, she joined the Environmental Club at the Raila Educational Centre. Following the onset of The Earth Prize, Faustina, together with a team of four, initiated a project on E Waste Management to address the urgent need of informing people of the polluting effect of Electronic Waste and to curb its impact. She was subsequently elected as the organising secretary in the school Environmental Club, enabling her to organise for waste collection to be dropped off at Killicycle, where E waste is collected. During her tenure as the organising secretary, she created connections with Waste Electrical and Electronic Waste (WEE Centre) in Utawala, Nairobi County. This resulted in the environmental teams visiting the workshop together with the Kijani Gang, a group of young environmental conservationists. She is currently receiving training on how to run a business and converting business ideas into an actual business by The Kenya Management Institute through their Agile Programme. Her key business area is still in line with Environmental Conservation through turning Electronic Waste into valuable items that can be sold, for example jewelry. She will be sitting for her final examinations in December 2022.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Art Min

Art is a Builder/Operator with over 20 years working as a senior executive for Fortune 500 companies and startups building AI, data and infrastructure products. From 2017 - 2020, he led Vulcan's philanthropic operations and Tech4Good products focused on climate change, coral conservation, illegal fishing, and protected area monitoring. He's currently a Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute and advising early stage startups.

Beatrice Karanja

Beatrice is a strategic communications specialist with over 25 years’ experience as a development communications professional covering the African continent. She has worked as a journalist with BBC and Reuters and for several international NGOs. She has also consulted for Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Kofi Annan Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stop Ivory, Northern Rangelands Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. In 2017, Beatrice was appointed as an honorary warden (3-year term) for Kenya Wildlife Service and in 2021, she completed a two-year term as founding Chair and investor of Uvumbuzi Trust. Beatrice is a Board representative of S.A.F.E Kenya, Mara Elephant Project (Chair) and Kenya Wildlife Trust, and serves as a panel judge and on the Board of Trustees for the Tusk Trust Conservation Awards for Africa.

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Corey Hajim

Corey Hajim has spent her career both working in and writing about business. As TED's business curator, Hajim seeks ideas from industry leaders, entrepreneurs, economists and teachers of the trade, ultimately helping speakers shape and share their ideas with the TED audience. Prior to TED, Hajim spent a decade in finance, most recently as a portfolio manager and analyst at a hedge fund based in New York, focused on consumer, media and technology equities. Hajim also spent three years as a reporter at Fortune Magazine and her early career working in marketing and project management. She earned her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she co-authored case studies with two professors and ran the weekly newspaper, The Harbus.

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Jonathan Baillie

Jonathan Baillie is President and Chair of the Board for NATURAL STATE. Baillie was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist at the National Geographic Society where he oversaw grants, impact initiatives, National Geographic Labs, explorer programs, and the international team, initiating several ground-breaking collaborations across regions and sectors to conserve and monitor the natural world.  Before National Geographic Society he was Director of Conservation Programmes at the Zoological Society of London where he built and oversaw a portfolio of conservation projects in over 50 countries. He holds a Ph.D. in biology from Silwood Park, Imperial College London.  Baillie has been a visiting professor at the University of Oxford since 2009.

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Tom Lalampaa

Tom Lalampaa is a leading African conservationist and, since 2018, the CEO of  Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). His work majors on helping rural communities to strengthen their governance structures as well as their wildlife conservation, economic development, and peace-building efforts. Tom serves as  the Founding Chairperson of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA), the Vice Chair of the Wildlife Security Taskforce, the Vice Chair of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust Board, and as a board member of both the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Board of Trustees and The Nature Conservancy. He is the recipient of the Stanford University Law School’s Bright Award for Environment Sustainability and in September 2013, he was awarded the Tusk Conservation Award by the Duke of Cambridge. Tom is currently pursuing his PhD, and holds an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi.

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Namrita Kapur

Namrita Kapur combines a unique mix of traditional finance skills from her time in investment banking with environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact assessment experience as a senior leader in the nonprofit space. Currently, she is a Lecturer teaching sustainable finance at the Yale School of Management, and consults to several philanthropists, including the founders of one of the oldest venture capital firms and of a Fortune 500 company. Namrita is best recognized for being second-in-command in developing the products and platform of Root Capital, and for having developed Eileen Rockefeller Family Foundation’s approach to organizational development. In her philanthropic work, she has helped coordinate $75 million of annual global grant-making across 40+ funders worldwide to transition to a clean energy future. Namrita served as Board Treasurer of the Environmental League of Massachusetts from 2010-2016, holds an MBA and a MA of Environmental Management from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton.

TEAM

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Beatrice Karanja

Technical Advisor, Communications

Beatrice is a strategic communications specialist with over 25 years’ experience as a development communications professional covering the African continent. She has worked as a journalist with BBC and Reuters and for several international NGOs. She has also consulted for Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Kofi Annan Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stop Ivory, Northern Rangelands Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. In 2017, Beatrice was appointed as an honorary warden (3-year term) for Kenya Wildlife Service and in 2021, she completed a two-year term as founding Chair and investor of Uvumbuzi Trust. Beatrice is a Board representative of S.A.F.E Kenya, Mara Elephant Project (Chair) and Kenya Wildlife Trust, and serves as a panel judge and on the Board of Trustees for the Tusk Trust Conservation Awards for Africa.

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Britni Hagwood

Head of Operations

Britni Hagwood is the Head of Operations at NATURAL STATE, with 13 years experience in operational and administrative support. Previously the Executive Assistant to the EVP & Chief Scientist, as well as the SVP of Partnerships at the National Geographic Society (NGS), she provided mission-critical logistics and administrative support. Prior to NGS, Britni worked as an Investigative Operations Analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation where she conducted case analysis and background research; the EA for the Executive Director of PICO National Network, a social-justice non-profit; and the EA to the Chief Revenue Officer and SVP of Corporate Development at The Advisory Board Company, a healthcare consulting firm. Britni holds a B.A. in Spanish from Alma College with a minor in Environmental Studies.

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Catherine Machungo

Carbon Scientist

Catherine Machungo, PhD, has over 13 years’ experience in research and technology, including heading the research department at the National Irrigation Authority, and working with (CSIRO-Australia) and (BecA -ILRI Hub) developing field portable, cost-effective, and non-invasive diagnostic technique for detection of aflatoxin contamination in sub‐Saharan Africa.

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Ceciliah Mumbi is a conservation enthusiast and passionate about bringing positive change to the conservation research world. She has 5 years of experience in the conservation field where she pursued her degree in Natural Resources management at Karatina University. Ceciliah was an intern in Meru National Park and has worked on many projects with Kenya Wildlife Service, such as elephant and giraffe biopsy to establish inventories for the forensic Laboratory in Mt. Kenya National park and Mt Rwenzori national park, Uganda. She has participated in Annual National Surveys for lions and elephants and data analysis using Spatial Explicit Capture Recapture model. She has experience with wildlife monitoring from Solio game reserve and as a Kenya Wildlife Service Scout working on rhino daily monitoring and lions field data collection.

Field Researcher

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Chris Gordon

Technical Advisor, Financial Structuring

Chris Gordon has 20 years’ experience managing field conservation programmes across Africa, including five years as the Country Director for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in Kenya. During his role with ZSL, Chris developed a financial / technical support model to support the Kenya Wildlife Service in Tsavo West National Park at the level of $750,000 per annum and played a critical role on the technical committee designing the Wildlife Conservation Bond, the first species-focused impact bond. In 2018, Chris co-founded Conservation Alpha to continue this work to develop and finance large-scale conservation programmes across Africa, advising corporates, institutional funders, the NGO sector and governments on the establishment of innovative financing solutions. To date, Conservation Alpha has helped to catalyse over USD 20M into the conservation sector.

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Christina Barlow

Director of Programmes & Strategy

Christina is an organisational development and program management specialist with over 20 years’ experience in strategic planning, organisation mobilisation and leadership. She spent the first half of her career in management consultancy at Accenture, in client-facing design and management roles in complex IT transformation programs for multinational financial service clients and the UK government. Motivated by her love of nature, Christina brought her skills to the conservation sector where she has worked in leadership positions for the past 15 years, including managing a nature conservation NGO is Asia and co-founding WildTeam UK, where she creates and field-tests conservation best practice to be translated into adult learning for the professional development of conservation teams globally.

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Caroline Chebet Ng'weno

Head of Science & Implementation

Caroline Chebet Ng'weno, PhD, is an Ecologist with 15 years experience working in the field, academia, government, and the private sector, both within and outside Kenya. Her professional and research interests span a broad range of topics focusing on the ecology of the African savannah, with emphasis on predator-prey interactions, human-wildlife coexistence, and the advancement of human livelihoods and quality of life through education. She works with local communities to foster an appreciation for nature  and strives to bridge the gap between science and policy formulation in the conservation sector. She is the Co-founder of Pambazuka Warrior Women Initiative (PWW), a Kenyan non-profit organisation that aims to inspire, prepare, and mentor young women for careers in science and leadership. Caroline holds a BSc. in Education Science from Maseno University, Kenya, an MPhil in Environmental science from Moi University, Kenya, and a PhD I from the University of Wyoming, USA. She is a Schlumberger Faculty for the Future Fellow and an alumna of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program and Tropical Biology Association.

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Christina Geijer

Head of Partnerships

Christina Geijer, Ph.D., is a conservation scientist with 15 years’ experience in different fields of conservation. Before joining Natural State, she acted as a consultant for the Northern Rangelands Trust, developing projects and securing grants for community conservation and development initiatives, and more recently, advised on large-scale restoration and rewilding projects in Southern Namibia. She has worked on a variety of species conservation projects writing management and strategic plans, and acted as a policy advisor to Wildhood Foundation, with a focus on the global ivory trade. Prior to this, Christina concentrated on her research and lecturing in the field of marine mammal conservation with particular focus on assessing bycatch of marine megafauna. Christina holds a B.A. and MPhil from Cambridge University, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Conservation from University College London (UCL).

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Chris Barichievy

Director of Impact Insights

Chris Barichievy, Ph.D., is a dedicated conservation scientist who has worked for the state and NGO sector, providing scientific advice to conservation management agencies across Africa and the Middle East over the past decade. He co-founded Conservation Alpha to focus on maximizing conservation impact. His core competencies are the design and implementation of monitoring frameworks and support systems to report on conservation impacts. Chris has deployed camera trap grids in the world's largest desert, deployed law enforcement monitoring systems into Central African Rainforests and developed statistical models to estimate the abundance of difficult to find species. A systems ecologist, he he primarily focuses on the interface between science and management, and the technical implementation needed to ensure that scientifically rigorous information can be applied to meet conservation objectives.

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Halima Hassan

Ecologist & Driver

Dickson is a Maasai ecologist with extensive traditional knowledge of local plants and animals and has been working within the Mt. Kenya Landscape for over 15 years. Currently, he works at Natural State as an ecologist and driver with the field team.  Before joining Natural State, he was a driver for the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy research department and assisted researchers with wildlife and vegetation identification. Dickon is committed to working with the younger generation, students, researchers and organisation within the Mt. Kenya landscape to help them learn about Maasai culture and the importance of plants for medicinal use and traditional Maasai ceremonies. He’s currently writing a catalogue compiling all local vegetation and its use in Maasai culture.

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Halima Hassan

Field Researcher

Halima Hassan is an environmentalist, educator, and climate change activist. In 2021, she joined Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as a Conservation Educator volunteer and later continued in Lewa's Department of Wildlife and Research as a Primates Research Assistant in partnership with York University. Halima holds a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies, and is currently pursuing her Master's in Biodiversity and Natural state, both at the University of Nairobi. Halima is a resident of the Manyangalo community neighbouring Lewa wildlife conservancy and Ngare Ndare forest. She recently joined Natural State as a Conservation assistant officer, and is dedicated to educating the importance of conservation to youth and women.

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Horris Wanyama

Research Team Lead

Horris Wanyama has 10 years’ experience working as a Rhino/Elephant scientist with Kenya Wildlife Service in Tsavo. He led the field monitoring at the pilot site in Tsavo West responsible for ensuring verifiable impact for the Rhino Impact Bond. Prior to joining Natural State, he worked for Space For Giants where he led the conservation monitoring and technology wing, building capacity on quality data collection and management through SMART & Earth ranger. He is an accredited member of the IUCN –AfRSG and an affiliate fellow of both ZSL EDGE Fellowship and Tropical Biology of Africa. As the NS Research Team Lead, Horris main role is to support the Impact Measurement Technical Lead in the development of efficient and effective data flows for impact measurement at the Natural State Research and Technology Centre.

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Jonathan Baillie

Founder

Jonathan Baillie is Founder of NATURAL STATE. Baillie was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist at the National Geographic Society where he oversaw grants, impact initiatives, National Geographic Labs, explorer programs, and the international team, initiating several ground-breaking collaborations across regions and sectors to conserve and monitor the natural world. Before National Geographic Society he was Director of Conservation Programmes at the Zoological Society of London where he built and oversaw a portfolio of conservation projects in over 50 countries, and gained a reputation for developing innovative, cross-sectoral collaborations to support conservation at scale. He holds an Honours BA in geography from Queen’s University in Canada, a Master’s Degree in conservation biology from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in biology from Silwood Park, Imperial College London. Baillie has been a visiting professor at the University of Oxford since 2009.

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Peter Matee

Carbon Field Researcher

Peter Matee is an environmentalist who has worked with different research NGO as a research assistant in field data collection. Currently, he is the carbon field researcher at Natural state. In 2017, Peter worked at Anglican Development Services-Eastern and supported environmental conservation activities like establishment of tree nurseries and awareness forums on carbon storing agricultural practices to farmers. Later, he joined Chyulu hills REDD+ Carbon Project as Field carbon sampler responsible for biomass carbon sampling and soil sampling within 1 million acre projected area. Most Recently prior to joining Natural State, he worked for Socio-Ecological observatory for Southern African Woodlands as a carbon field researcher and actively participated in establishing biomass plots in the community. His primary focus is on supporting and implementing habitat conservation by carbon offsetting.

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Kisiidi Taek Mayani

Site Manager

Kisiidi Taek Maiyani was born in Ngare Ndare village in Laikipia county in Kenya. Currently, he is the Site manager at Natural State with the responsibility for management of the physical site and logistics. Prior to joining Natural State, he worked at Ok View limited for 7 Years as the manager. Prior to that, Kisiidi worked for 6 years at Rugusu House where he was assistant manager. He is also an experienced organic farmer and enthusiastic environmentalist with a dream that in the future we will achieve zero carbon emission on a global scale.

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Stephanie Lemaiyan

Research Centre Manager

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Margaret Njuguna

Field Researcher

Margaret Njuguna is passionate about wildlife, community work, and the use of technology in conservation and community development. She has experience working as a volunteer at the Mara Predator project monitoring the big cats of the Mara, Taita Hills wildlife sanctuary as a ranger guide in wildlife monitoring, and finally at Mwalua wildlife trust. She has worked in Mugie Conservancy as a Community and Tourism Coordinator, focusing on community interactions/engagements, overseeing community projects and service delivery, forming community policies to act as a roadmap for the conservancy’s community engagement, and conducting a social survey, SAPA (Social Assessment of Protected Areas), in the surrounding community zones. She holds a BSc in Environmental Conservation and Management, Diploma in Community Development, and will soon start an MSc in Project Management.

PARTNERS

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