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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; albeit, African women are underrepresented in the field of conservation science on the African continent. The Africa section of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) has identified this gap and created the Young Women Conservation Biologists group (YWCB).

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

  • Create a forum for young African women and 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 emerging African women professionals, via an award.
  • Help young African women further their careers by providing small grants.

YWCB Award Call for Nominations

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

African women are underrepresented in the field of conservation science on the African continent. To help bridge this gap, the Africa Section of SCB created the Young Women Conservation Biologists group in 2005 and established the YWCB award to recognize the achievements of young women in Africa who advance the discipline of conservation biology on the continent.

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 Section Business Meeting at the Society for Consevation Biology's International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) or the SCB Africa Section Congress. SCB and the Africa Section strive to secure financial support for the recipient to travel from their workplace to 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 high 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 in 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 explicit 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 Chair, Ms. Philista Malaki, Research Scientist, Zoology Department, National Museums of Kenya, +25 472 157 4011, SCB Chief Financial Officer Warren Sander, and the chair of the YWCB Olaleru Fatsuma, Ph.D, Natural Resources Conservation, Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, Nigeria, +23 480 7780 0748.

Past YWCB Award WinnersLeela Hazzah, photo by Philip Briggs

  • 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 Section 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 young African conservation biologists to share experiences (albeit with a major emphasis on women), generating incentives and mentorship opportunities to strengthen conservation biologists in their careers.

See the following links for more on YWCB: