International Patron, Ulinzi Africa Foundation
“It is rarely a good time for conservation. Happy events are few and far between. Other issues take a higher priority in public and political minds.
That is why I am so full of respect and admiration for those prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the wildlife we all admire. One such person is Raabia Hawa.
She is also the only person I know who’s met President Barack Obama. That is a measure of the woman.
I am writing this in the white heat of COVID-19, the pandemic that is sweeping the world, infecting millions and, tragically, killing hundreds of thousands. It is a time of enormous change. Currently, our focus is necessarily turned to public health, the safety of family and loved ones, and the need to do all we can – each and everyone one of us – to stifle the spread of the disease.
But we also have a duty to consider the world after coronavirus in two ways;
What world do we want to see; and
What will we do differently in future?
Raabia and her team at Ulinzi Africa Foundation (UAF) are determined to make sure that nature will still be there when, at last, we are able to turn to it for inspiration. They operate in one of the most remote and perilous parts of Kenya, up towards the Somali border. It’s an area where few people go and, even in good times, no tourists. In many ways, it reflects the awesome beauty of Kenya from a past era. Yet, it is under severe threat from lawlessness and poaching. That is why Raabia and UAF’s work is so important and why I am so honoured to be their International Patron.
And so to the second question: What must we do differently in the future? I have said this before but it bears saying again. We cannot simply return to ‘business as usual’, with roads full of cars, the sky filled with planes, the seas brimming with plastic, and the senseless destruction of nature to feed the rapacious greed of the human race.
My generation and those that have gone before me have largely failed the planet. It really is time for us to move aside and allow Raabia and her compatriots to lead the way. Their energy, optimism, emotional intelligence and compassion are needed like never before.
This may be our last opportunity to reset our relationship with nature; our last chance to step away from the cliff edge of self-destruction; it is a moment to be seized with both hands. We must care more, love more, protect more, nurture more and treat this spinning celestial orb for what it is – the only place we can call home – and we must learn to share it with all the other life-forms for whom there is no Planet B.
So my request is simple:
If you care about the wild species that deserve a wild life, free from human threat, then support Raabia; support Ulinzi Africa Foundation; make sure they have the resources to do what needs to be done – on our behalf. Forgo that extra weekly cup of coffee or tea and invest in Raabia instead.”