Empowers Africa: Women Leading Change

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Last Thursday, Empowers Africa, a non-profit dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa conservation, held its 2020 annual event: Women Leading Change, at The Whitby Hotel in New York City.  In honor of International Women’s Day, the evening celebrated three extraordinary women working in African conservation.

The honorees, who had flown in from Africa, were Amy Dickman, founder of the Ruaha Carnivore Project; Elizabeth Babalola, Director of the the African Leadership University School of Wildlife Conservation; and Angel Vendeline Namshali, General Manager of Asilia’s Dunia Camp.  Each of these change-makers presented their work via a short film.  Afterwards, Klara Glowczewska, Executive Travel Editor of Town & Country presided over a panel discussion and the 120 assembled guests then enjoyed a standing cocktail dinner.

Patricia Glass, Empowers Africa Trustee, remembers Nina.

Attendees included artist Hunt Slonem, Liliana Cavendish, Jason Binn, Laura Nicklas, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans and Andrea Greeven Douzet.  Board member, Patricia Glass, kicked off the evening with a touching tribute in memory of another formidable woman, Nina Griscom, a passionate, long-time supporter of the organization.

“I am honored to celebrate three incredible women and their remarkable work for conservation in Africa,” said Krista Krieger, Chair of the Board & Executive Director of Empowers Africa. “I am thrilled at the success of this year’s event and amazed at the fantastic turnout we had in support of our commitment to land conservation, wildlife protection, and community development in Sub-Saharan Africa. I thank everyone for their attention to these important women and the projects they champion.”

Klara Glowczewska leading a Q&A with the evening’s honorees.
Patricia Glass.
Paula Franklin, Director of Special Projects for Empowers Africa.
Elizabeth Babalola, the Director of Operations of the School of Wildlife Conservation at the African Leadership University (ALU) is passionate about the role of women in the conservation field and accomplishes this by fostering an appreciation, understanding, and love for the environment. Elizabeth has worked tirelessly toward making programs that give Africans a sense of ownership and responsibility over wildlife and the environment in order to fulfill the ideologies of the ALU. Elizabeth’s devotion towards the students of the ALU stems from her belief in their value of growth and sustainability of African conservation.
Angel Vendeline Namshali is the first female Tanzanian safari lodge manager of the Serengeti. Angel is the manager of Dunia Camp, a safari lodge run by women in Tanzania’s National Park. Angel has worked as the manager for four years, responsible for the camp, activities, and staff. Angel is driven by her strong desire to serve the community and conserve the environment. She believes that her all-female staff has been transformative in empowering women in the community, giving them the opportunity to work and have their voices heard.
Amy Dickman founded Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania in 2009 with the aim of establishing an internationally significant conservation project after obtaining a 5-year Fellowship from Oxford University. She established the Ruaha Carnivore Project after receiving her MsC and PhD in the area, to take on the challenge of the vastly understudied Ruaha landscape. Her vision will be one of the defining factors in the way the vast Ruaha landscape, and other areas, are managed in Tanzania. With her academic background, she is working with researchers to provide solid scientific research that is being used by the government to make informed decisions towards sustainable and well managed wilderness areas, and to protect wildlife. One of Amy’s greatest achievements is to educate children of the village who live in close proximity to Ruaha National Park, as well as diving deep into solving other social issues as well in order to create a sustainable scenario where villagers are connected to conservation and benefit directly from it.
Paula Franklin, Angel Vendeline Namshali, Elizabeth Babalola, Amy Dickman, and Klara Glowczewska.

Town & Country Magazine was the evening’s media sponsor, with Whispering Angel Rosé Côtes de Provence by Chateau D’Esclans as the event’s headline sponsor.

Funds were raised via a silent auction and the sale of select items.  Additionally, a luxury safari auction will be held on CharityBuzz in April 2020.  The proceeds of each safari will be given to the donor’s preferred program.  For a preview of the trips on offer, watch below:

Empowers Africa is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on funding programs in communities that surround protected conservation and wildlife areas or World Heritage sites; programs in urban communities where tourism is a strong source of development; and programs that support the protection of wildlife and land conservation.  Visit the organization’s website at www.empowersafrica.org.

Nestor Lara Baeza, Charlotte Pokoik, Krista Krieger, Mercedes Baily, and Paula Franklin.
Krista Krieger, Hunt Slonem, and Liliana Cavendish.
Wendy Arriz, Tara Liddle, and friend.
L. to r.: Kyle Heath and Victoria Lebron; Elizabeth Babalola and Jan Roessner.
Lumi Devine, Laura Nicklas, Andrea Greeven Douzet, Inga Kozel, Tina Storper, and Lucia Hwong Gordon.
Delia von Neuschatz and  Jason Binn.
L. to r.: Karl  and Krista Krieger; Catherine Howell.
Paula Franklin, Mary Holland , Angel Vendeline Namshali, and Mercedes Baily.
Randy Lampert, Michelle Gradin, and Roger Briggs.
Liz Kelly, Tara Liddle, Eric Knutzen, Aisha Craig, and Maggie Knutzen.
L. to r.: Dora and Cranford Stoudemire; Jillian Harding and David Bigelow.
Yael Jekogian, Amy Dickman, Charlotte Mourlot, and Aisha Craig.
Gabriella Gentil Hickson, Fernando Gentil, and Nicole McLachlan.
Fabian Onetti and Martha McGuinness.
Jackie Keber, Marissa van Bokhurst, Robin van Bokhurst, and Cena Jackson.
L. to r.: Alicia Turbidy and Jeanne Andlinger; Sarah Khan and Paula Franklin.
Ellen O’Connell and Kate O’Connell.
Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Nancy Moon, and Jill Lampe.
Michael Planit, Richard Johnson, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, and Kevin Murphy.
L. to r.: Inga Kozel and Evelyn Subramaniam; Stacy LaVictoire and Linda Florin.
Donna Piccini, Mercedes Baily, and Susan Kottemann.
Michael Planit.
Jennifer Flowers, Sarah Khan, and Naledi Khabo.
L. to r.: Karl Krieger and Bonnie Pfeifer Evans; Lucia Hwong Gordon and Tina Storper.
Klara Glowczewska and Chandler Glass.
Martha McGuinness and Angel Vendeline Namshali.
Jan Roessner, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, and Peter Lueders.
Sharon Shemtov and Victoria Lebron.
Diane Mendez.
Silent auction items included a a painting donated by Hunt Slonem … and a 9-liter bottle of Whispering Angel rosé wine.
Silver jewelry designed by Michelle Benjamin is still available for purchase by texting EA2020 to 76278.

Photographs by Rob Rich.

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