AGAG Executive Director, Niamani Mutima, talks with Fiesta Warinwa and Didi Wamukoya about their work with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). Established in 1961, AWF is the only wildlife conservation organization working exclusively in Africa. It is a pan-African organization that works in ten countries with headquarters in Kenya.
Fiesta and Didi discuss their respective roles including working with the African Union and individual countries to develop conservation policies and the impact of the training received by wildlife enforcement officers. Central to their mission is ensuring that the African voice is heard and that wildlife conservation is implemented in ways that benefit the community and protects the animals and habitats. They also discussed the important role that women play, especially those living in the communities near the conservation sites, the challenges they face and the impact they make. Sharing the individual paths that lead them each to a career in conservation, they underscore the importance of mentors and the need to attract more women to the conservation field.
Learn about the African Wildlife Foundation
About Fiesta Warinwa
The seeds for a career in wildlife were planted early for Fiesta Warinwa when she was growing up in the Equatoria region of South Sudan, a land once abundant in wildlife before civil war. Fiesta began her career with AWF in 1999 as an intern and was later hired as a Landscape Conservation Officer. She spent several years directing AWF’s program in Samburu Heartland and later she moved to direct AWF’s program in the Kilimanjaro Heartland which lead to her to overseeing all of AWF’s program implementation activities for Kenya. Today, Fiesta serves as Director Policy Engagement. Fiesta holds a Master’s degree in wildlife conservation and management from University of Reading, England.
About Didi Wamukoya
Didi Wamukoya is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a trained wildlife crime investigator, and the co-author of Natural Resources and Environmental Justice in Kenya. She pioneered the creation of a Prosecution Unit at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and was the Head of Prosecution at KWS for seven years. As AWF’s Wildlife Law Enforcement Manager, Didi is responsible for implementing AWF’s Wildlife Trafficking Law Enforcement Action Plan and serves as the technical lead on AWF activities to stop illegal trafficking of wildlife products from Africa. Her work involves training and building the capacity of investigators, prosecutors, judicial officers and wildlife rangers. Didi has a Bachelor’s degree in Law and a Master’s degree in Environmental Law, both from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.