The idea was simple enough…why not create an experiential learning journey for women, led by women? This was as much in answer to an increase in the demand for solo travel journeys for women as it was to show that we can only truly embrace the value of our contribution as women when the geographical, gender, and social barriers that remain in place are shattered. What better way to do that I thought, than by travelling with and meeting those who live that reality every day?
I will never forget the lifelong friendships that were formed during our time together, the renewed commitment that each speaker gained by being given the platform to speak, and the very many collaborations that resulted from our week-long sojourn. But most of all, I’ll remember the infectious energy, enthusiasm, wisdom and generosity of spirit that came to define us as women. In fact, so proud are we of what was achieved, that we have decided to make the Women’s Empowerment Trip an annual affair. And so it gives me great pleasure to announce that our 2020 Empowerment Retreat will be taking place in 2020 from June 19th to the 24th, in the untamed wilds of Kenya.
Designed as a six-day learning journey of self-discovery and self-realization, our journey will begin in Nairobi where we will have the opportunity to meet and hear from Wanjira Mathai (the daughter of the late Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai) whose ongoing work with her mother’s legacy projects is to be applauded. From there we’ll travel to Segera Retreat, a recognized Global Ecosphere Retreat set within 50,000 acres on the Laikipia Plateau, which a decade ago was an overgrazed and denuded wasteland. That is, until businessman, philanthropist, and visionary Jochen Zeitz bought it and set about restoring the land, reinstating the wildlife and creating a sustainable ecosystem that would benefit the local community. This will be followed by one night at Galdessa Safari Camp in East Tsavo National Park managed by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which means that all profits generated by the camp are put back into the protection of wildlife and habitats in Kenya. At both Segera and Galdessa, guests will be able to, amidst the incredible expanse of sky and savannah, listen to daily talks by inspirational women such as:
- Anne Powys, an ethno-botanist, whose long and deep association with the pastoral communities and plant kingdoms of Laikipia has inspired a devotion to the preservation of the remaining indigenous forests of northern Kenya.
- Jackie Chimhanzi, the CEO of the African Leadership Institute (AFLI), who was recognized by Forbes Africa magazine as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2012.
- Shivani Bhalla, the founder and executive director of Ewaso Lions, a conservation organization that uses scientific research and community outreach to promote coexistence between lions and people who share habitats.
- Lucy King, a zoologist, based in Kenya’s Tsavo region who is thehead of the Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program for the research charity Save The Elephants and a Research Associate to the University of Oxford;
We know that much like our first Women’s Empowerment Trip, next year’s itinerary will provide the impetus for each one of our guests to work on their inner selves; because it is only in knowing and facing our own fears and flaws that we can effect change in the world – towards a greater sense of purpose, personal growth and economic independence for women. It gives voice once more to a mantra that we live by at ROAR AFRICA, that ‘If African Women Rise, Wildlife will Thrive’.