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£10,265raised of £16,000 target by 47 supporters

Weʼre raising £16,000 to support my Masters Scholarship in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University in the US.

Maasai Mara kenya

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Story

I am a young Maasai Conservationist born and brought up in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Growing up in a cattle-grazing community in the Mara made me acutely aware of the conflict between humans and wildlife and I have since decided to devote my life towards community conservation efforts in Kenya.

I have an incredible opportunity to study at one of the leading Universities in the world for Conservation, Colorado State University (CSU), which would provide me with unique and invaluable experience, and a tremendous network. CSU has provided a tuition exemption, however I need help raising the remaining £16,000.

I humbly ask you to help me achieve my dreams and support my career protecting the threatened ecosystems of Kenya.

My story is as follows:

I was born into a polygamous family in the Maasai Mara with 20 brothers and sisters all in school and we all depended on my father for school fees. It was a struggle at times but I worked hard and earned a place at Nairobi University. Thanks to the generosity of the Conservationist Willy Roberts, who paid for my University fees, I graduated in 2015 with an Upper Second-Class Bachelor’s Degree.

Willy Roberts was a friend and supporter of my family ever since my father worked for him as a Ranger in the Ol Choro Oiroua Conservancy in the Maasai Mara in the 1980s. Willy sadly passed away a few months ago, but he is a great influence on me and I hope he would be proud of the conservation work I am now doing to support the Mara ecosystem.

Growing up in an indigenous community in the Maasai Mara, I became acutely aware of the tension between cattle-grazing communities and wildlife, and this led me to my first job working for the Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) Mara Lion and Mara Cheetah projects. My role was to record instances of human-wildlife conflict in the Mara conservancies, and seeing the extent of the problem convinced me to devote my life towards community wildlife conservation.

After working at KWT, I was the lead enumerator for an International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and University of Copenhagen project, funded by the European Union, quantifying the extent Mara communities depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.

And in my current job, I am working for the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) as a Data Manager leading a team of 229 rangers in the field. We have implemented a proprietary App collecting a diverse data set which is used to help Conservancy Managers make informed decisions in real-time across the greater Maasai Mara.

Colorado State University is ranked in the Top 10 Universities in the world for Conservation. The Masters of Science in Conservation Leadership would be a tremendous opportunity to learn from other Conservationists from around the world, and would be the best possible academic training for my future career. For my Masters project, I intend to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the leasing of community land to wildlife conservancies, since I believe this is one of the key solutions to human-wildlife conflict in the Maasai Mara and across East Africa. The project would hopefully be a useful resource for policy makers in the Region.

Thank you in advance for your generosity. Any amount you provide will be an invaluable support to my own personal journey and also to critical Conservation work in the Maasai Mara.

Best,

Francis

P.S. My friend and mentor Nicholas Walker, an Investor and Conservationist in Kenya, will be managing this web page and the funds.

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Francis Sopia

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    7 months ago

    Francis Sopia started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 12/2/2018 7:48 PM

    Supporters

    47

    • Martin Schlumberger

      Martin Schlumberger

      Dec 2, 2018

      Congratulations Francis and we are proud of you! Lin

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Sep 3, 2018

      £1,000.00

    • A Kuffeler

      A Kuffeler

      Aug 31, 2018

      £50.00

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Aug 25, 2018

      £30.00

    • Barb Mackraz

      Barb Mackraz

      Aug 19, 2018

      All the best to you on your journey, Francis!

      £50.00

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Aug 7, 2018

      Wishing you all the best Francis

      £800.00

    • Diane McNabb

      Diane McNabb

      Jul 16, 2018

      I wish you all the very best!!!!

      £100.00

    Francis Sopia

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    Francis Sopia

    Francis Sopia

    Maasai Mara kenya

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