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Women in Conservation : Career path dilemma

Introduction

Many people choose careers based on the financial benefits they would receive as well as the assurance of a job. The situation has not been the same for conservationists, as the job does not pay much financially, but it is a dream come true for individuals who are driven by passion. Students often face financial concerns, job insecurity, and the fear of failure when it comes to choosing a career. Nobody can predict what the world will be like in ten or fifteen years. Nearly 40% of workers feel their jobs would be obsolete in five years, according to the World Economic Forum. Young people confront additional difficulties, such as juggling work, school, and social life. Today, we get to hear the life experiences and opinions from Francisca Chipare, a Chinhoyi University of Technology student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife, Ecology, and Conservation and a player for the Zimbabwe Women's Cricket Team.




Who is Francisca Chipare

Francisca is a student at Chinhoyi University of Technology, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Wildlife, Ecology, and Conservation. She is passionate about wildlife biology and hopes to make a significant contribution to endangered species conservation through research and advocacy. Currently she is doing her work related learning attachment at Wildlife Conservation Action stationed at the organization's Shangani Large Carnivore Project . Besides her academic life Francisca is a cricket player for the Zimbabwe women's team.






How does it feel to be a national team player ?

Playing for the national team feels exciting. I grew up admiring my coach Nonhlahla Nyathi who was by then the lady chevrons' wicket keeper. Wearing that national badge is a dream that came true and I will always wear it with pride.




Who motivated you to play cricket?

My friends from primary school motivated me to play the game. I started playing cricket when I was in the sixth grade at the age of 11. I had three friends who were in the school's girls cricket first team. They used to have away games and practice sessions and each time they went for their away sessions, I would be left behind. The feeling of being left out pushed me into trying the game out. I just believed that if they can do it, I can also do it. I gave it a try only to discover that I can actually play. Since then, my love for the game grows day by day.




Why did you choose conservation sciences as an area of study?

I naturally love wild animals. I admire them so much. I also love and enjoy biology and being someone who loves biology with a passion, I decide to venture into conservation sciences so as to protect wildlife and promote biodiversity, protect the environment as well as human health. Protecting wildlife and preserving it for future generations means that the animals I love don’t go extinct and become a distant memory.




How do you balance school and sport?

To be honest, balancing the two has not been an easy walk in the park. I have been putting in a lot of extra effort for it to work out. I normally do my school work in the evenings when ever I am in camp or on tour. When I was doing my "A" level I used to do extra lessons for all my three subjects when ever I would be at home. The extra lessons helped me a lot, they helped me catch up with those that attend school daily especially in biology and mathematics. Catching up with chemistry practical was the most difficult thing. With varsity the pressure has lessened, all thanks to virtual learning.


Have ever found yourself in a situation where you thinking of letting one go?

Yes. When I was doing my "A" level. I got my first national team contract as a rookie when I was doing my form 5. My contract's terms n conditions required me to attend to every national duty call. Initially I could balance the two with no difficulty. During my final year, it became bigger than I could handle. The pressure from my teachers from school, my extra lessons teachers and my coach was too much that I was caught in between.



Which one would you let go if this happened, and why?

If I ever find myself being caught in between now I will let school go. Considering that I already have my "O" Levels and "A" Levels, I already have the fundamentals for my academic career. I would rather pursue my sporting career now in my prime years and later on pursue my academic career. I can always start my academic career from where I left but I can't do that with sport.






Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I wish to become a renowned carnivore research expert . Also i would like to be a world class bowler. To be Zimbabwe's most valuable bowler.




Message to fellow young women in conservation

So many people are afraid to venture into these "male dominated" fields because they are afraid they wont make it. They fear that they will fail but you will fail 100% of the time that you don't try. So just rise up, go out there, give it a try, put your best foot forward and give it your all. You never know what can happen. Hard work always pays off.

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