article / 29 April 2024

A Year of Supporting East African Conservation Technology: Lessons on How You Can Amplify #Tech4Wildlife

It has been an extraordinary year supporting and growing the regional East African Conservation Technology Community at WILDLABS. We've made great strides and unlocked exciting opportunities for our community as we continue ensuring their inclusion and participation in #tech4wildlife. Here is a summary of my journey and bonus tips on how you too can amplify #tech4wildlife in your own unique way! 

Facilitating Capacity Building, Knowledge Exchange & Collaboration in the East African Conservation Technology Community
 Esther delivering a session at the 2023 Women in Conservation Technology Programme Tanzania

Photo Credit: Stephanie O'Donnell

The WILDLABS East Africa Community was established in 2022 as the network’s first regional hub. The importance of setting up this East African hub was to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among local players for effective conservation solutions and to amplify and include the regional perspective in the global conservation technology community. Additionally, its purpose was to further WILDLABS' regional and global impact, by drawing insights and lessons to broaden our regional hubs globally.

A Year in Summary

The main goal of my role at WILDLABS for a period of one year from May 2023 to May 2024 was focused on growing and supporting our East Africa conservation technology regional community. I further broke this overarching goal down into the following key objectives: 

● Mapping the Stakeholder Landscape 

● Community Building 

● Capacity Building 

● Advancing the #Tech4Wildlife Mission

Throughout this time, I successfully mapped out the current regional conservation technology landscape and identified the key stakeholders which have informed community building. By understanding stakeholder needs and priorities, I have been able to craft and curate specialised spaces, resources and programming that have ensured member inclusion and participation towards the growth of conservation technology. Overall, this year has aided in forging strong connections with existing and new relevant stakeholders, reinforcing the position of conservation technology as an emerging and exciting environment space across the East African region. You can check out my key activities from across the year below.


Overall, this year has allowed me to cultivate connections and grow the regional conservation technology community across East Africa, which has grounded me as a relationship source for local players. We are excited to be continuing with our regional programming, such as the 2024 Women in Conservation Technology Programme in Tanzania running from June to December with the hopes that it will continue running annually to build capacity across the region. I aspire to continue growing the regional work we have been undertaking at WILDLABS, applying what we have learned so far and getting to support more exceptional and brilliant people across our sector in the region.

Women in Conservation Technology Programme Tanzania 2023 Award Ceremony

Photo Credit: Stephanie O'Donnell

 ... and finally Lessons on How You Can Amplify #Tech4Wildlife! 

One of the most exciting parts of my journey here on WILDLABS by far has been exploring all the engaging and impactful ways to amplify #tech4wildlife. Personally, I believe Conservation Technology is the next frontier in the global environment space and has the potential to transform how we interact and view protecting and preserving our biodiversity. It offers us more insightful ways to understand our planet better to inform more effective and inclusive solutions. #tech4wildlife is a beacon of hope for all generations and across both the Global South and North...if more people knew about it! So, without further ado, here are my 5 tips on how you can amplify #tech4wildlife across the world:

  1. They say 'a picture is worth a thousand words'

    What's more fun than talking about #tech4wildlife? Showing it! In my experience engaging with new conservation tech audiences, I've noticed real-life photo examples of #tech4wildlife in the field in action have the most positive impact in getting them acquainted, curious and excited about conservation tech! A great way to help you get started in sharing all your cool #tech4wildlife work-in-pictures is our annual #tech4wildlife photo challenge that has been running for the past eight years and set to continue this year! STAY TUNED! Check out previous submissions from earlier years here.

  2. Coffee, anyone?

    An excellent way to make use of those great interpersonal people skills you have towards amplifying #tech4wildlife is to volunteer your time as a WILDLABS Group Manager! Sounds fancy and serious but really it's a great way to help expand #tech4wildlife by helping to build a network of engaged communities within the larger conservation tech community, all while creating a more interconnected, sustainable, and well-resourced field! You only need to commit 1-2 hours per week of your time, as you bring along all your conservation tech expertise, event-planning skills, communication abilities and that great personality of yours! Learn more about volunteering here.

  3. Can I bring a +1?

    If planning isn't really your thing, perhaps you can stop by one of our many local meetups that take place across different locations within the year (with 1 or 2 of your friends or colleagues who'd be interested in connecting with the conservation technology community). Local meetups are a great way to connect with your local #tech4wildlife community to engage and exchange ideas on the sector. It's also an excellent place to welcome new members interested in getting involved in #tech4wildife to connect with the relevant people and have a great time! You can always bring a +1! If you have some great ideas on hosting or co-hosting a local #tech4wildlife meetup in your area, let us know, we'd love to hear more and support. Check out some previous local meetups hosted by our members below to get some ideas!

    WILDLABS Colorado Conservation Tech Meetup

    WILDLABS Washington DC Meetup

    WILDLABS NYC Networking Event

  4. excuse me, what is "Conservation Technology"?

    By far my favourite conversation starter question at events once I introduce the #tech4wildlife work we do at WILDLABS, has always been, "What is Conservation Technology?" I began noticing that people may not be as well acquainted with the terminology or sector and it is a great opportunity for you to introduce them to what it all means. But beyond 1:1s or group conversations at events, I'd like to encourage you as leaders in #tech4wildlife to take up opportunities as speakers, panelists, presenters or even keynotes (yes, keynote speakers! why not?!). You have excellent knowledge and expertise about our sector and it would be extraordinary for you to position yourself at a conference, forum or webinar where you can speak on this and introduce diverse audiences to #tech4wildlife. I promise you it's a refreshing, worthwhile and fruitful endeavor, as you are pushing our sector one step forward and catalysing opportunities for cross sectoral collaborations and partnerships. You can read my article to learn more about this from my experience presenting #tech4wildlife at the first-ever Africa Climate Summit in 2023 here or watch the Debrief here. 

  5. We are all WILDLABS Ambassadors

    WILDLABS is home to the global conservation technology community (that means you and I) and an important way to help grow and support #tech4wildlife is to share this platform with those who'd make the most from it. Our platform has curated resources, programmes and connections to help support those interested in getting started in #tech4wildlife, those currently working in #tech4wildlife and those who would like to grow their efforts, collaborations and impact in our sector. So, feel free to share our network with your friends, colleagues, workmates, schoolmates or even people you meet along the way that could benefit from being part of our vibrant community! And if you are doing work you'd like to amplify and share, please reach out to feature in our virtual series, such as Variety Hour or InConversation! We'd love to host you! Let's keep amplifying #tech4wildlife because it is a beacon of hope for all generations and across both the Global South and more people know about it! (that is definitely a statement that should go on a t-shirt ... WILDLABS t-shirts COMING SOON!) Watch this space. 

    Esther in Western Serengeti, Tanzania

    Photo Credit: Stephanie O'Donnell

Acknowledgements & Thanks 

I’d like to end this piece by wholeheartedly thanking the entire WILDLABS team, starting with our amazing community lead, @StephODonnell for her transformational leadership. Additionally, I’d like to thank every member of the WILDLABS team: @JakeBurton for keeping this platform stellar and introducing game-changing badges (learn how to get yours here!), @TaliaSpeaker for our insightful State of Conservation Technology Research & Findings, @HRees for building strong partnerships and being a resourcing-champion (check out our Resources Page), @Adrien_Pajot for running the impactful WILDLABS Awards 2024 (check out this year's winners here) & @alexrood for helping you get involved in the community (learn how to become a WILDLABS group manager here!).

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