Rumbidzai Pamela Magwiro

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30

Community Conservation Manager
African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT)

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe                                       SEE OTHER BIOS HERE
Age: 26

Rumbi's conservation education work creates a means for co-existence between wildlife and humans who are living on the edge.

Tell us about yourself!

Currently I am a Community Conservation Manager with the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) in Victoria Falls, and I have a degree in biological sciences with a focus on ecology. My role is to work with communities on conservation projects, and educate them on how to conserve their environment and benefit from it in a sustainable manner. From the time I was an intern during my undergraduate up to date, I have been conducting conservation education lesson with ALERT. Since we work in an area where human-wildlife conflict is common, we also work with rural schools to help them understand the importance of wildlife and how to protect themselves when living alongside wildlife. Growing up, I always wanted to do something impactful and meaningful in the field of wildlife conservation and research. Being able to be both a scientific researcher and a conservation educator for rural children has given me that satisfaction.

What inspired you to become a champion for environmental education?

Environmental education chose me. When I started my profession, I thought I would become “just” a researcher. Being just a wildlife researcher without impacting other people’s lives felt void to me, since I love talking with people and helping them improve their lives. When I was an intern, one of my workmates said to me, “You are a people’s person. Giving you a silent environment to work in, without dialogue, will probably kill.” From that time, I knew that doing both wildlife research and conservation education was the real me. Honestly, I now could not imagine my research life without conservation education, as it brings meaning to my profession and my life in general. There is nothing as satisfying as seeing that the people you have taught are now practicing conservation.

The enthusiasm in children also keeps me going. At times, we starve our kids of knowledge only to blame them when they are older, of how they are recklessness and carelessness, when it’s simply because of a lack of grooming and knowledge when they were growing up. My inspiration came from the people who saw my talkativeness as something that I could put to use in a positive way, and believed that I could do it.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders that are looking to bring about positive change in their communities through EE?

Do not keep knowledge to yourself – share it, and you will gain more. The more you teach others about conservation and environmental issues, the more you will personally understand and connect with it. A real leader does not stop at knowing how to maintain their empire, but also knows to prepare the heirs for their inheritance.

What keeps you motivated, inspired, or hopeful for the future?

My motivation comes from the understanding that life is dynamic. The energy you bring in to life is the energy you exit with.

If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?

I would be a lotus flower from the family Nelumbonaceae. It blooms in the muddy waters with the most colorful petals and manages to brighten its surroundings. For me, this shows a kind of internal strength – the ability to use your imperfect and tough surroundings to grow something beautiful and encouraging. It symbolizes hope, even during tough times.