As a young Samburu girl on the semi-arid lands of Laikipia in northern Kenya, Jane Putonoi could not shake the deep-rooted feeling that she had to serve her community. After witnessing time and time again the irreversible effects of traditional cultural practices like early marriage and female genital mutilation on her friends, relatives and other young girls in the community, Jane fast realized that education was her only sure avenue to achieving her goal.
A few decades back from Carl Sagan …
“Memories of events late in the first year of life are not extremely rare, and there are possible examples of even earlier recollections. At age three, my son Nicholas was asked for the earliest event he could recall and he replied in a hushed tone while staring into middle distance, ‘It was red and I was very cold.’ He was born by Caesarean section. It is probably very unlikely, but I wonder whether this could just possibly be a true birth memory.”
Working as a conservation researcher in the field is tough for anyone, but it’s especially challenging if you’re a female conservationist in West Africa. There are inherent prejudices and several difficulties to deal with, not to mention few colleagues with similar experiences.
Nkechi’s father had only paid for her brother to take the final exams in primary school, bringing her education to an end after primary 6. Thankfully, when it came time for her own children to progress on from primary school, her husband agreed to pay for their two daughters and their son to take the same exams.
In the past few years, women have increasingly taken key positions in African society, often in the political sphere. But it’s high time we recognized that more has to be done to include women in environmental decision-making.