Who is Rejoice Matangi
Rejoice is a young lady currently pursuing a Master's degree in Science-Policy Interface in Biodiversity and ecosystem services at the University of Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
As a Sciences student who inspires you and what motivates you to pursue conservation as a career?
My number 1 inspiration for environmental-related studies is the fact that I love and enjoy spending time in nature. So growing career in natural resource management helps me to positively influence something that I passionately love. I am mostly motivated by myself. I feel there is an untapped potential in me that can be used in natural resource management efforts and at the same time I believe that I need a particular environment (education) that can help me grow all the necessary skills needed to fulfill the objectives of this field.
How do you balance school and social life?
There is no specific way to parse, I just do what needs to be done at a particular time at a particular place, so somehow I just manage to strike a balance.
What are the most exciting and most challenging experiences in your journey so far?
What excites me more is that environmental-related studies do not just offer first-hand information on environmental-related matters. I absolutely enjoy the adventure that comes with such programs. It comes with free rides to natural places which often makes me feel like a tourist thus allowing exposure of knowing what is where and why it is there.
What are the challenges being faced by women in conservation and what can be done to address them?
Now the problem of male dominance in this field is slowly phasing out but I have often realized that conservation female students are often expected to behave in a certain way e.g. the way she dresses “you can’t portray your interest in fashion simply because I have you love wildlife”. Also on one side, she is expected to be “too polite and too respectful” such that at some point, speaking her own mind comes off as arrogance. So most of the time, women often forcefully try to prove themselves, their capabilities, and their skills, and somehow confidence levels decrease hence affecting the main goal of learning in order to make an impact within this field
Advice to aspiring conservationists
Associate yourself with people that understand your passion and offer you all the necessary support you need. Just like any field of study, Science can be a little challenging but always dare to try and never in a single second doubt yourself. Be your number one cheerleader and in whatever you do, try to give in the very best. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Do you think a mentorship program can be a good tool to motivate younger women to take up conservation as a career?
Most defiantly, women in conservation need women and men who support their cause. Quoting some wise words “finding role models who have emerged and managed questions of their competence and contributions help develop self-trust in your own experiences and abilities as a woman in science”
What is your favorite animal?
My favorite animal is the malachite kingfisher, a bird that symbolizes courage, freedom, adventure, and balance.