On 1 October 2019, I will set out with a self-funded team of 17 women from around the world to trek 100km across Northern Kenya's remote Matthew's range. The trail has never been attempted before by a visiting group, and will take us on a new passage across the mountains. Our team, coming together under the banner of 'Her Planet Earth' - a non-profit organization headquartered in Singapore dedicated to gender equality and environmental conservation - aims to raise a combined total of $150,000 USD for Conservation International (CI), a charity that works to protect nature for the benefit of humanity.
Northern Kenya is a great model for community-driven co-management of shared natural resources set in the most ancient landscape of human and animal co-habitation on the planet. The funds raised will go to support a range of projects focusing on gender equality including the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary - the first community owned and mainly female operated elephant sanctuary in Kenya, the expansion of eco-tourism facilities and the establishment and support of a mobile anti-poaching team for the region. I am particularly passionate about the holistic work CI is leading not only to protect nature in its natural habitat, but also to address the bigger picture challenge that is the illegal wildlife trade, the monetary driver of the problem. During this expedition our group will also work with grantees of Microsoft's AI for Earth program, including Vulcan EarthRanger, in collecting information on activities, animals and assets in protected areas to help conservationists. Wildlife that is traded legally is a growing multi-billion dollar industry, impacting all markets and ports around the world, yet is currently lacks the proper technologies and tools needed, opening the way for increased illegal wildlife trade. CI is expanding on the work being done to monitor animals on the ground by developing and implementing a wildlife enforcement and regulatory application that will provide customs agents new technology-based solutions designed to ensure only legally traded species make it through border points. CI will continue to partner with organizations such as Microsoft to address the bigger picture conservation issues being faced by continuing to provide funding, training and expertise to protect the forests, oceans and grasslands that benefit us all.
I thank you for supporting me, the team and the work Conservation International is driving.