About the project

Read interviews with Filippa Tarras-Wahlberg, founder of Wildhood Foundation, Cassandra Rhodin, Founder and Creative Director Mini Rodini, as well as Primrose Mazuru, a female ranger working at Akashinga, about the the purpose of Mini Rodini 4 Elephants and the project.

INTERVIEW WITH FILIPPA TARRAS-WAHLBERG, FOUNDER OF WILDHOOD FOUNDATION

Wildhood Foundation was founded in 2016 to protect wildlife and animals against poaching and illegal trade. So far Mini Rodini 4 Elephants have donated €50 000 to Wildhood and the Akashinga project. We spoke to Filippa about Akashinga, an all female anti-poaching unit, and why it’s so important to continue supporting their work.

Why is the Akashinga project so special?

Akashinga is a unique model that for the first time ever puts women at the forefront of conservation in a genuine manner. By employing rural African women as rangers multiple positive effects are seen in local communities where gender equality increases, violence and poverty decreases and more kids get access to school and healthcare. Nature is under extreme threat and protecting biodiversity is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. I can’t think of a more empowering way to do this.

How many rangers are Wildhood Foundation supporting and how large areas are being protected?

In five years, the project has grown from an initial 16 women to now having 245 rangers in training and deployment, protecting over 3 million hectares of wilderness in southern Africa. These ecosystems are home to thousands of species of wildlife, trees and plants which all play their part in contributing to healthy functioning ecosystems - the heart and lungs of our planet.

What have Akashinga contributed to so far?

In Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley, where the project was first launched in 2017, Akashinga have helped drive an 80% downturn in elephant poaching while supporting an almost 400% increase in wildlife populations. That is an amazing result over a short period of time and elephants and other species are now returning to areas where they were previously hunted and killed. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and it gives me goosebumps every time.

What are the needs to continue the project?

To continue scaling this project we need funds to recruit, train and deploy more women to protect larger areas of land. That means support of ranger salaries, uniforms and boots, equipment and protective gear, fuel for vehicles, vegan food, communications gear and healthcare. The area that the rangers work in is harsh and they are doing one of the toughest and most important jobs on the planet. I think they deserve all the appreciation and help they can get in their important mission.

More about Wildhood Foundation.

INTERVIEW WITH CASSANDRA RHODIN FROM 2019 ABOUT MINI RODINI 4 ELEPHANTS

Founder and Creative Director of Mini Rodini, Cassandra Rhodin, created Mini Rodini 4 Elephants in 2019, to support Wildhood Foundation and the Akashinga project. As a result Mini Rodini have donated €50 000 to the project to help save wildlife and the African Elephant. Now Mini Rodini is launching a second collection 4 Elephants. 

“I want to use Mini Rodini’s platform to contribute in the way we can by spreading awareness of the Elephant’s situation and to raise as much money as possible to protect them.100 % of all funds raised from Mini Rodini 4 Elephants will go straight to support the anti-poaching and anti-trafficking operations in Zimbabwe”, says Cassandra.

Akashinga was launched in 2017 and is Africa’s first armed, all-women anti-poaching unit working to protect large areas in Lower Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe. In May 2019 Cassandra went to visit their camp and lived and joined the rangers at work.

“These women are true heroes. When I was there, they arrested poachers carrying cyanide, to poison water holes or fruits in order to kill elephants. Akashinga means “the brave ones” and these women truly live up the name”, says Cassandra.

The unique Akasinga model combines an opportunity for female employment with effective protection of wildlife. The aim of the project is to ensure sustainable defence of large wilderness areas enabling elephants and other species to roam safely between African countries. Akashinga simultaneously contributes to an array of positive effects on local communities, increasing equality, decreasing violence and granting more children access to education.

The female rangers work to protect one of Africa’s largest remaining elephant populations in the Lower Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe. A critical area that has lost 40 % of its elephant population during the last 16 years, prior to Akashinga’s arrival, mainly to poaching.

“This project is amazing in so many ways. How it works with female empowerment, the community and wildlife conservation. Most of these women support their entire family with the salary from this job. So many people and animals now have better lives because of Akashinga. I’m proud that we are doing something to contribute”, says Cassandra.

For fall 2022 Mini Rodini is launching a second collection 4 Elephants.
As before, Mini Rodini is donating 20 % of the price of each garment from the collection to Wildhood Foundation to support the Akashinga project – employing women as wildlife warriors.

As before, Mini Rodini is donating 20 % of the price of each garment from the collection to Wildhood Foundation to support the Akashinga project – employing women as wildlife warriors.

INTERVIEW FROM 2019 WITH PRIMROSE MAZURU

Primrose, 23 years old, works as a ranger at Akashinga. Here she is with her daughter Locadiah 3 years.

How long have you worked as an Akashinga ranger?

2 years.

What kind of work do you do?

I save wildlife from poachers.

What was life before you became a ranger?

Before my life was tough and filled with misery, and I didn’t have any source of money to make it better. I didn’t know of the importance of wildlife conservation, but from the day I got educated about wildlife and a job to support myself my life changed.

What is a normal day at work?

We patrol large areas and I expect to see different types of animals. Then I know I’m working hard, because I have reduced the rate of poaching - as I now see animals everywhere I go which I never seen before.

Does your job ever make you afraid?

No.

More about the Akashinga Project

SHOP TO SUPPORT

20 % of the sales from the 4 Elephants collection will be donated to Wildhood Foundation and the Akashinga project