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Young Women in Conservation Biology

The role of women in conservation biology and their advancement of the discipline globally are evident to all. Unfortunately, African women are currently underrepresented in the field of conservation science on the African continent. The Africa Region of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) has identified this gap and created the Young Women Conservation Biologists group (YWCB) in 2005.

We were formed as a vehicle to advance career opportunities for young African women in conservation and to give support and encouragement to our membership. To join this group, send your information to at

Based on our five core objectives, current efforts aim to:

  • Create a forum for early career African women and other women from around the world working in or interested in African conservation.
  • Build mentor-mentee relationships between women across Africa and the globe.
  • Recognize outstanding contributions to conservation of early career African women professionals, via an award.
  • Help early career African women further their careers by providing small grants.

YWCB Award Call for Nominations

The Young Women Conservation Biologist group of the Africa Region will announce calls for nominations for Young Women in Conservation Biology Awards every other year.  

The Award

The YWCB Award for professional African women is a non-monetary incentive award aimed at recognizing and applauding the contributions of early to mid-career African professional women in conservation. The nominees should have demonstrated, during their career so far in Africa:

  • Evidence of leadership, creativity, self-motivation and enthusiasm in the execution of conservation work;
  • Evidence of service (educational, managerial, research etc.) to conservation biology; and
  • Ability to work with others across gender, social class and ethnicity to achieve concrete conservation outcomes.

When possible, the YWCB award is presented at the Africa Region Business Meeting at the Society for Conservation Biology's International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) or the SCB Africa Region Congress. SCB and the Africa Region strive to secure financial support for the recipient to travel to the meeting from their workplace to receive the award in person, and to present a paper on the recognized work.

Scope of the Award

The scope of the award is open to any area of conservation science directed towards practical conservation action. A nominator of established professional standing should submit the application on behalf of an exceptional nominee. This should be supported by at least two letters of recommendation by additional referees. Under unusual circumstances only, if a highly accomplished candidate works in such isolation that a nominator is not available, the Awards Panel may consider self-nominations.

The application should clearly explain the nominee’s role within the conservation community and evidence of her professional accomplishments, including her ability to work with diverse interests to achieve balanced and pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges. The Awards Panel will not normally make awards to African women working outside the continent, nor to early career students with no outstanding practical accomplishments.


Nominations on behalf of potential awardees are invited from the conservation community (e.g., scientists, managers, activists). The nominee must, however, work explicitly in the field of conservation biology, rather than advocacy or education without focused conservation biology content.

Nominations will be peer-reviewed by an Awards Panel of SCB conservation scientists and managers. 

Sponsor and Partner Information

Potential sponsors of the award are warmly invited to contact the Awards Panel via the YWCB email address: ywcb-africa at

Past YWCB Award WinnersLeela Hazzah, photo by Philip Briggs

  • 2022: Itoro Archibong (Focus on ecological restoration and women in conservation, Nigeria)
  • 2016: Sophia Jingo (lion conservation, Murchison Fall National Park, Uganda), pictured
  • 2015: Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka (biodiversity conservation, Madagascar)
  • 2011: Leela Hazzah (lion conservation, Kenya - see press release
  • 2009: Shivani Bhalla (elephant and lion conservation, Kenya)
  • 2008: Kristal Maze (biodiversity planning, South Africa)
  • 2007: Margaret Aanyu (freshwater biologist, Uganda)

More on YWCB

The YWCB Working Group was established in 2005 by the Africa Region of the SCB, based on an urgent need to fill the gap created by the limited numbers of women professionals in the field of conservation science in Africa. It was further mandated to act as a platform for early career African conservation biologists to share experiences (albeit with a major emphasis on women), generating incentives and mentorship opportunities to strengthen female conservation biologists in their careers.