#10Women: Clementina and Josephine, rangers, Kalama Conservancy
“I didn’t think I would manage, but I decided to try and I am glad I did. Now my children, especially my daughters, can look up to me and see that when challenges come, we should not shy away from them.” – Clementina (left). In 2015, Clementina’s husband, a Kalama Conservancy ranger, tragically lost his life during a stock theft recovery operation. He was the sole breadwinner for their family of five, and his loss left Clementina trying to manage grief alongside the daunting prospect of providing for her children. Keen to try and help, the Kalama management called a community meeting. They wanted to offer the widow a sustainable solution – one that could put food on the table every night and see her kids through school. They decided to offer Clementina a job: the position of a community ranger.
Bravely, Clementina took the job, having never been formally employed in her life. She now works alongside five other female rangers, including Josephine (right), who are her support network as well as her colleagues. Josephine is a radio operator; as much a ‘first response’ position as the rangers on the ground. “I am at the heart of what is happening in our community” she says, “if anything happens, I am the first to know and record it.” She says that like Clementina, her job has also pushed her out of her comfort zone. “There are certain things I can do now that I could not do when I first came. I can operate a radio, relay information and interact freely with people from different places.” Josephine commends her friend’s courage, stating “our work can be very hard sometimes and it especially hurts when we lose one of our fellow rangers in the field. But we know that it is worth doing, because we can take care of our families and contribute to a better life for our community.”