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Meet Gloria Uwera

African Leadership University, Rwanda


Gloria is a student in her final year at African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation in Rwanda.

The School of Wildlife Conservation, an organisation founded by African Leadership University and Fred Swaniker in 2016, is dedicated to improving conservation in Africa by ensuring that conservation efforts are driven and owned by African citizens and that conservation initiatives benefit both people and wildlife.

The School of Wildlife Conservation also has a core focus on leadership and believes that the types of conservation issues we are facing today require political and economic changes carried out by leaders who are dynamic, ethical and effective.

Our wildlife and wilderness areas need us now more than ever before. Our world is ever changing – human populations are growing rapidly and the pressure we are putting on the environment to meet our needs is increasing along with it.

Rapid urbanisation is taking place and human settlements are encroaching on wilderness areas that are home to countless irreplaceable species. 

The way in which we view conservation, educate future conservationists, and the way our world leaders approach environmental challenges needs to adapt too in order to protect our wildlife and remaining wilderness areas. 

This is exactly what African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation is all about – developing the next generation of African leaders who are equipped with the skills necessary to address environmental challenges and conserve wildlife in a way that both includes and benefits people.

Gloria is one of these future African leaders in conservation, enrolled in her final year of the Global Challenges bachelor’s degree, with a focus on wildlife conservation.

During her time at the School of Wildlife Conservation, Gloria has been able to utilise her passion for sustainability and pursue her mission of creating a more sustainable future for us all. Students like Gloria are being equipped with not only environmental knowledge and key leadership skills, they are also learning invaluable business skills. 

“I think a big problem is that everybody in the conservation world right now thinks of themselves as separate from each other. I really think that if we work together, we would bring a change.”
- Gloria Uwera

As part of the Global Challenge’s degree programme, students are encouraged to find two missions, which highlight their passion for the natural world and how they plan to use this passion and the skills they have gained once they have graduated to have an impact on the world. 

Gloria has identified her first mission as finding a way to make the textile industry more sustainable by producing clothes for underprivileged people. 

Her second mission is to establish a water recycling system in Rwanda that recycles water in cities and villages to help save water and reduce the environmental impact our water consumption has on our planet.

Another key pillar of the School of Wildlife Conservation’s approach, that is aimed at developing future leaders, is their internship programme. Each degree course is designed to allow students to graduate with at least six months of work experience in a relevant conservation field.

With access to African Leadership University’s extensive network of conservation organisations, students like Gloria are given the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience through internships and work placements, which allow them to enhance their skills and further develop their passion and missions.

Women like Gloria, who are being empowered to become leaders and use their skills to change the face of conservation throughout Africa, are having and will continue to have a huge impact on the future of our planet. Gloria is still studying and has big dreams, and is dedicated to making them come true. She is a positive role model to so many young women. She is passionate about conservation and collaboration within this space. We can’t wait to see what she achieves long term.

Empowering and supporting young women like Gloria is something that is incredibly important to The Matriarchs – Empowered women empower women and this is so true in the case of Gloria, who wants to use her voice to create change and empower those around her.

Photos by Alizè Jireh, James Suter and Sacha Specker.

Watch our film to hear Gloria's story and learn more about her journey so far and everything she hopes to achieve in the conservation field.

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You can learn more about African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation here.

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