In most areas of Africa, women are the primary users of natural resources. Our approach at OPP recognizes that to change the future of an environment or landscape, engaging with women, who are often left out in decision making, is key. OPP’s primate guardians are regular women, members of their community who want to create a better future for nature and their environment. Their stories are inspiring, and they remain passionate about spreading their messages of coexistence, riparian land protection, and general care for the environment.
We are the Guardians
Irene – a mother of three, is a small-scale farmer. Ever since a young age, she’s always been very conscious of the environment. Like many farmers, she has experienced the effects of climate change firsthand, and the irregular weather patterns that continue to disrupt her yield. Irene also notes that the water flow in the Ontulili has reduced over the years, which makes it harder for the people and nature that needs sufficient water flow for survival. Irene loves wildlife and has a passion for conservation. Being a primate guardian enables her to fulfil her passion, as well as be a role model to her children and the upcoming generation.
A widow and a mother of five children and two grandchildren, she is a small- scale farmer during the rainy season. Grace also operates a green grocery mobile shop. Grace moved to the region
after her late husband died, and since then, has noticed that food production in the area has reduced. Rainfall has decreased due to deforestation and this has, in turn, exacerbated the human- wildlife conflict, making it difficult for her and other farmers to make their living. Grace chose to be a primate guardian as she is interested in learning more about how humans and monkeys can coexist and find sustainable solutions to human- monkey conflict.
A single mother of two boys, Irene also lives with her ageing parents. Irene studied early childhood education and currently does casual work around the area as well as small-scale farming. Irene notes that the river flow has decreased, and the primates population around Ontulili, which used to be quite high, has also decreased over the years. Irene wants to be a primate guardian to help restore the environment back to the way it was in her younger years – more trees, more primates and less conflict with humans.
Juliet is currently pursuing a diploma in electrical and electronics engineering. She is from a family of three and is practicing environmental’ and horticultural farming. Juliet, the youngest primate guardian, hopes to inspire fellow young people in the community to protect the environment, conserve riparian land and ensure that primates are protected in the community.
Josephine loves community associations and is a member of several women’s groups. She’s a businesswoman and mother of three. Josephine is very curious about primates, and wants to be a
guardian to better understand them, and how to create a better future for them. Over the years, she’s noticed excess heat during climate seasons, and increased human-wildlife conflict with primates, which has made many farmers in the area frustrated and resentful against monkeys. Josephine wants to help change that.
Mercy is a resident of Ontulili where she lives with her family. She is a small scale farmer who loves animals and nature. Mercy has seen the change of weather patterns over the years, the decrease in crop production and reduced river water flow. Mercy wants to be a part of the restoration of the environment while empowering the youth to take charge in protecting nature