Team Lioness - KenyaWe're transforming what it means to be a woman ranger
As a member of IFAW’s Team Lioness, Purity Lakara breaks gender barriers and inspires young girls in her community to do the same. Purity lives in Amboseli, Kenya, where she works as a ranger. She has taken on responsibilities historically assigned only to men—protecting the environment and wildlife, particularly elephants.
In addition to this critical work, Purity also educates young students in Amboseli about conservation. She is a role model for young girls in particular, encouraging them to take interest and action and emphasizing that the future of many animals, especially the elephants, is in their hands.
Purity Lakara: According to the traditional norms of Maasai culture, it’s only males who are allowed to be rangers, simply because they believe that we women fear wild animals like buffaloes and elephants.
The advertisement of female rangers came through our community leaders, and I applied for the job, and I started working as a female ranger in 2019. I’ve done what I can to change the way men perceive us and show them that that is not who we are. They now see that we can also do it.
For me, being a Team Lioness means a lot, because it is my responsibility to take care of our wildlife and our environment. I have a big role to play in the area of work and also in the community.
Text: Today, Purity & fellow Team Lioness rangers have been invited to lead a class at a local school.
Purity: I have come to meet young girls who aspire to a career like mine, or even better.
Nashipae Sianga: My name is Nashipae Sianga. I am 13 years old, and I’m in sixth grade. The animal I love the most is the elephant.
Purity: I've come here to educate them on protecting the environment and wildlife.
If we do not protect our elephants, they will all be killed. And then one day you will be standing where I am standing now, in front of your own children, asking them which animal they have never seen, and they will say, “an elephant.” Protecting this environment will depend on you, because you are the future generation.
Nashipae: When I grow up, I would like to be a ranger. They have a good job, and they are respected.
Purity: I’ve come to tell them that they can do it all.
We have become girls who believe in themselves, we have become strong girls. That’s why we have returned to our origins to speak to our sisters. We are here to tell you that everything is possible. No matter where you come from, no matter what you are going through, your dreams have value, okay?
My hope for the future is to see my talks to these children bear fruit. They could get a job from this, just like I did, and they could see and learn many things. I will come back in future to see if they are successful.