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Joy Juma, from Kenya, is among the first early-career conservation practitioners to take an innovative Masters programme at the University of Cambridge
Cycling to lectures through Cambridge’s medieval streets, learning leadership skills from conservation pioneers, splashing into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean to observe marine life.
These are among the many memories that Joy Juma will take home to Kenya after a year at the University of Cambridge.
Joy is one of the first graduates from the MPhil in Conservation Leadership programme, which aims to equip its students with the tools needed to become professional conservation managers.
Key to the programme’s success is the collective expertise of partners in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), of which Fauna & Flora International is a founding member.
The Masters comprises two parts: students begin with a series of taught modules that involve lectures by staff from CCI organisations. They then go on to gain more practical experience through a professional placement with one of the CCI partners.
For Joy Juma, this meant spending seven weeks with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
Here, she gathered marine environmental data and explored the links to fishing and tourism, two of the area’s most important sources of revenue.
Her research focused on marine governance, and she spent time working with local government departments as well as speaking to local fishers and communities.
“On both islands, there is a profound commitment to sustainable management and a willingness to work towards it that is really exciting,” said Joy. “It shows how conservationists and communities can work together to protect threatened species and the habitats they live in.”
FFI is currently working with the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) in Kenya to improve marine and coastal conservation in the region. This programme aims to conserve biodiversity while improving the livelihoods of coastal communities.
On her return to Kenya, where she works as part of FFI’s Africa team, Joy will be able to develop this marine programme further, by applying the lessons learnt in the Caribbean and on the MPhil course.
Read more about Joy Juma’s experiences.
Fauna & Flora International’s work with the CCI forms part of its capacity building initiative, which aims to help communities carry out effective local conservation.
We work with a wide range of people, from government agencies, corporations and non-governmental organisations to local community co-operatives and individuals. We help them access resources, knowledge, skills and tools to conserve biodiversity effectively.