The International Young Conservationist Award has been given to Tiwonge I Mzumara-Gawa, a PhD student at the University of KwaZulu Natal and a volunteer Conservation and Research officer for the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM) - the BirdLife Partner in Malawi. She has been key in assessing threatened species and IBAs in Malawi and also coordinates a garden bird count.
Speaking at the World Parks Congress, being held in Sydney, Australia Tiwonge said:
“I am feel truly blessed and honoured to receive this award, which is really for the amazing team of people with whom I work with. It’s humbling to know that the work we are doing in Malawi can be recognized at such an international stage! It’s really given us the ‘wings to fly’ and given us the encouragement to do even more for Malawi’s birds in the coming years.’
Tiwonge I Mzumara-Gawa receiving award at World Parks Congress
The International Young Conservationist Award is a joint initiative of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature - World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN/ WCPA). The Award aims to recognise and raise awareness of the outstanding contributions made by young people to the conservation of protected areas; it honours their efforts and their passion, dedication and commitment.
It also seeks to encourage young professionals and, by presenting the award at a global conservation event, provides them with an opportunity to develop networks to enable them to further enhance their efforts. Recipients of the award are invited to join the IUCN WCPA Young Professionals Group and are invited to be on the IRF’s mailing list.