Working in the civil society space keeps me in constant relationship with several communities

Perspectives and experiences of servant leader and environmental sustainability – an interview with Grace Alawa By Ussi Abuu, WildHub Conservation Catalyst
Working in the civil society space keeps me in constant relationship with several communities
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Today at the catalyst table I have brought you @Grace Alawa from Nigeria, she has a long history of working with Sustainable Actions for Nature, a specialist in Ecology and Environmental Biology. She currently works in our community as WildHub Community Advocate.

To be a good servant leader, one must listen to subordinates, delegate duties to them, coach them as well as be intent on receiving feedback every time. Photo: Unsplash

I recently had an interview with Grace please find it below:

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
Grace, Can you introduce yourself, what do you do professionally?
Grace: "I am Grace Alawa, I lecture at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt Nigeria where I teach Wildlife and biodiversity, animal ecology, and ethology courses"

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
What is servant leadership, why is it important, and how to do it right?
Grace: "Servant leadership: Dr. Ken Blanchard explains it as a person who has vision, direction, and goals. A servant leader is one who empowers his/her followers to reach their potential and shared vision by effectively leading from behind. Servant leadership is important because it allows followers to use their initiatives to proffer solutions. To be a good servant leader, one must listen to subordinates, delegate duties to them, coach them as well as be intent on receiving feedback every time"

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
What are the actions we need to take to reduce the environmental crisis?
Grace: "First thing to tackle when it comes to environmental issues is a lifestyle change; when we can adjust our behavioral attitudes/tendencies that predispose us to make decisions that impact negatively on our environment- it would be a good place to start. Once there's behavioral change, daily decisions can be made in favor of the environment, we can then ensure that the policies, agreements, and laws in favor of the environment are adhered to or implemented. Proper education of all stakeholders from bottom to top and vice versa"

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
How did you hear about WildHub and how did you become a WildHub community advocate?
Grace: "I heard about WildHub through a Whatsapp platform; I applied and was given a bursary to undertake an online course on Monitoring and Evaluation for Wildlife Conservation with WildTeam (last quarter of 2022). While taking the course, I saw an opening for volunteers as a WildHub community advocate- I applied for it, was interviewed, and was offered the position. I happily accepted"

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
Based on your professional background, what are the top 5 lessons you can share with us?

Grace👇🏼
📖"Top 5 lessons would be"

  1.  You must be passionate about conservation to thrive. 
  2. It takes focus and discipline to see results 
  3. Patience is a must-have
  4. Being kind and courteous when dealing with people as well as plants and animals would take you farther than you could imagine
  5. Learn the processes, follow them but take your instincts along.

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
I would love to hear more about how you came to be an expert in institutional management & administration.
Grace: "As part of community service, I volunteer for NGOs; this led to being nominated to take courses in Institutional management and administration with the Tropical Biology Association. After which, I began to put the principles and lessons I had learned into practice; this broadened my scope and influence in the Civil society space"

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
How does your work impact other people in conservation?
Grace: "Working in the civil society space keeps me in constant relationships with several communities for different reasons. Communication with the locals creates an avenue to educate, enlighten as well as learn from them on ways in which we could make our environment better. We provide support to livelihoods where possible to assist them so they can desist from deforestation, illegal wildlife hunting, mangrove banking, etc. Also, when there's a need for policies to be enacted, I provide a voice - I engage in stakeholders' meetings so everyone is carried along and not neglected. I'm constantly educating colleagues, students friends on proper disposal of waste, less single-use plastic, walking more, etc."

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
Is there something that would make WildHub even better for you or people you know?
Grace: "Being a part of WildHub is good enough; it's an awesome platform. Inviting friends and colleagues to be part of this platform is a MUST. As we go on if there are any improvements or contributions I need to make, it would be suggested to the right channel"

Ussi:👨🏽‍💻
Thanks, Grace, for sharing your insights and wisdom with our WildHub members and many others around the world, I particularly like your perspective or insights about to be a good servant leader, who specializes in wildlife and nature conservation.

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