Team Lioness - KenyaWe're transforming what it means to be a woman ranger
Meet Alphine Tulito, a member of IFAW’s Team Lioness, and one of the first women from the highly patriarchal Maasai community in Amboseli, Kenya to take up the physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding job of wildlife ranger. Like most of the Team Lioness rangers, Alphine is married and has children. The rangers are separated from their families for weeks at a time while stationed at their base, and this becomes a huge obstacle for nursing mothers like Alphine.
That’s why in 2022, IFAW, thanks to support from Margarete Brauer Stiftung, renovated their ranger base to make it more family friendly. Having the ability to now care for their children at the base helps them balance family life with a fulfilling but demanding career.
Alphine is a role model for young women in Kenya and she hopes to inspire women and girls from her local community to push boundaries and chase their dreams.
Alphine Tulito: As a Maasai woman I can say there are many challenges. As a Maasai girl they saw it fit that I get married. But I didn’t want to get married because I wanted to further my education. Life became hard. I had to get married, although I was lucky enough to marry someone I love.
Narrator: In 2021, Alphine joined Team Lioness, an IFAW-supported all-female wildlife ranger team in Amboseli, Kenya.
Alphine: Being one of Team Lioness has really given me a sense of belonging and being noticed in the community and family.
David Tulito: It was very challenging in the beginning because before, the Maasai people did not allow a woman to work at all.
David: I’m supportive of my wife because she is doing something constructive. She is very much concerned about animals.
Alphine: My husband helps a lot. He’s the one who takes me to work and makes sure I have arrived safely. He also takes the responsibility of taking care of our children.
David: We have 2 children—the first born is 4 years old, and then the young one is 7 months old.
At the beginning they said I'm not that normal, because it's not good for a woman to work while a man is being at home looking after the children.
Alphine: It is a bit difficult having a job and being a mother, but it would be very hard to take care of the children if I didn’t have a job. You just need to balance the two. I do my job, and when I return home I do my motherly duties. That’s life. We try our best.
Text: The Team Lioness rangers are separated from their families for weeks at a time while stationed at their base. This becomes a huge obstacle for nursing mothers like Alphine.
Alphine: Going with the baby to work is not easy.
Narrator: In 2022, IFAW renovated the ranger base to make it more family friendly. Each of the Team Lioness rangers now has her own room and washroom. Additional renovations include a new laundry area and nursery. And nannies or family members can stay at the base to help look after the children while the rangers are on patrol.
Alphine: We are happy to have such facilities. The women are comfortable. You can do anything for your child with your own freedom.
Narrator: Despite the challenges of balancing a family life with a demanding career, Alphine sees tremendous value in her work on Team Lioness.
Alphine: Joining Team Lioness has really changed me as a woman because I am an example to the other young girls—they are happy to see that a woman can do everything that was previously thought to be a man's responsibility, both in the community and in the family.
David: After seeing someone like her being married, having a home, and having a job, they feel encouraged that they can also make it. They can have hope that they will get jobs in the future and push the wheel of life.
Alphine: I’m happy because the Maasai woman now has a voice. A woman can now say something and be heard. So a lot has changed.