About Us

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety”

Our Expertise

During 2018 and 2019, WE Africa identified the most effective and influential strategies for empowering environmental leaders, advancing gender equality, and amplifying conservation impact on the ground.

Through interviews with conservation practitioners, indigenous community leaders, scientists, academics, gender researchers, business leaders, and professional coaches across Africa and internationally, we have designed a comprehensive and rigorous model of leadership development tailored to the conservation and environmental sector and designed to provide maximum benefit to women leaders and to the natural environments they protect.

WE Africa is inspired and supported by Pride Lion Conservation and launched by a Leadership Council of eight African women environmental leaders. WE Africa’s founders are high-level social and ecological scientists and professionals working within the profit and non-profit environmental sector. Collectively, our founders represent eight countries ranging from the northern to southern part of eastern Africa. We work alongside communities, governments, and organizations at the local, regional, and international level to protect local livelihoods, coral reefs, rainforests, grasslands, wetlands, lions, elephants, gorillas, and many more endangered and vulnerable ecosystems and species found only in Africa. See our website for more information about our initiative and leadership.


“We want to revolutionize conservation; believing that
we will have greater impact when we focus on
resolving the gender imbalance at the top”

Dr. Gladys Kalema Zikusoka

  • Veterinarian and Founder of Conservation Through Public Health
  • Uganda’s first female wildlife veterinary officer
  • Awards: Whitley Gold Award, San Diego Zoo Conservation-in-Action, Sierra Club EarthCare Award, and Wings WorldQuest
  • Profiled in the BBC documentary, Gladys the African Vet

Dr. Nyawira Muthiga

  • Kenya Program Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Leading marine scientist with over 30 years experience working in coastal Kenya and coral reefs around the world
  • Awards: National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation, and Banovich ACE Award for Conservation Excellence

Dr. Leela Hazzah

  • Executive Director and Co-founder of Lion Guardians and Wildlife Guardians
  • Co-Founder of Pride Lion Conservation Alliance
  • Awards: CNN Heroes, Future for Nature, St. Andrews Prize for the Environment, African Women Conservation Biology Award, Wings WorldQuest, Fulbright Fellow
  • Affiliate faculty member at Colorado State University and University of Cape Town

Dr. Winnie Kiiru

  • Founder of Conservation Kenya
  • Over 20 years’ experience working to protect Kenya’s wildlife
  • Board Chair, Friends of Karura Forest, Board member of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, and Senior Technical Adviser for the Elephant Protection Initiative
  • Former Trustee of Kenya Wildlife Service

Fiesta Warinwa

  • Director of Policy Engagement at the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
  • Previously served as AWF-Director of Corporates and Foundations- Africa and Country Director, Kenya
  • 20 years’ experience in conservation, development, and leadership across various landscapes including Samburu, Mau, and the Kilimanjaro- trans-boundary landscape

Anne Wainuku Kahihia

  • Deputy Director of Kenya Wildlife Service (first woman in this post)
  • Over 30 years’ experience in KWS overseeing implementation of community conservation programs, corporate social responsibility programs, human-wildlife conflict mitigation interventions and compensation.
  • Previous park warden in Lake Nakuru, Hells’ Gate, and Aberdare National Parks
  • Board Treasurer, Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA)

Dr. Colleen Begg

  • Co-director and Founder of Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique, and TRT Conservation Foundation in South Africa
  • Co-founder of Pride Lion Conservation Alliance
  • Over 25 years’ experience in grass roots conservation and community engagement
  • South African conservation ecologist, well published scientist, writer, and photographer
  • Homeward Bound class of HB3

Rosette Chantal Rugamba

  • Managing Director of Songa Africa and Amakoro Songa Lodge
  • Previous roles include Director General of Rwanda Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) and Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
  • UNWTO-Global Ethics Committee member and advisor to UNWTO Secretary General on sustainable tourism in Africa
  • Board member of: Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), Airbnb Global Advisory Board, African Parks Network, and Women Chamber-Rwanda

“A women in conservation leadership is bound to be lonely. It seems like we have forced our way into a man’s world. WE has become a sisterhood that celebrates, validates, and empowers me to keep going”