Merlyn Nomusa Nkomo

Student , Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology

Which category below best describes the type of organisation you currently work for/or run?

Not applicable/Not currently employed

Areas of expertise

Behaviour change campaigns Research Education & training Fundraising Communication and marketing Project/programme management Monitoring and evaluation Other

Would you be willing to be approached and share your lessons learned in your area(s) of expertise with our community?

Yes

Influencer Of

Topics

Channels contributed to:

Capacity development Diversity, equity, inclusion

Recent Comments

Sep 10, 2020
Replying to Nicola Williamson

Merlyn,  Thank you for your article, I really enjoyed reading it.  I think you points are so true and it has been an issue that has bothered me for a while.  I am white, working class and Scottish.  8 years ago I was studied an MSc in London in environmental politics, which i didn't not finish, (another story), while there i took the opportunity to go to as many conservation events as i could, which even with a student discount were expensive.  One event was at London Zoo and was a 2 day event about 'Protecting more Places', essentially creating more national parks.  the event had speakers from 4 continents, working on many different projects, representing universities, governments and NGO's.  I tried my hardest to ask a question all day, but the usual suspects of the 'everyone knows everyone' world of conservation got the say but not an unknown student.  In the end i went up to one of the organisers and asked them " why they had no single person who was born and raised in any of the projects nations represent the work being done in their country, why had they failed to included the demographic of nations the predominately white western lead projects were running in other countries", the answer i got was an embarrassed and shameful 'they can't afford it', pathetic.

i have never taken for granted my unequal access to pick and choose a country that i can access and afford to do unpaid volunteer work for but i hope i have always respected the knowledge, realities and concerns of the local people.  I will hopefully be back in Indonesia very soon, where my partner (he's Indonesian) and i can work in conservation together, with the local people, for them and nature and for us. 

Sorry for the long winded comment, i would be very keen to see talk more about this issue and come up with ideas about how conservation can be accessible to all people.    thanks Nicola

Thank you Nicola for your story, I read it all and I was touched. I am very hopeful because our generation is different. We have inherited a racist unequal unfair system and we do not like it. More of us are questioning it and wanting to move the community forward to effective and inclusive futures. I am glad and hopeful that there are more people like you noticing and asking these important questions. 

Sep 10, 2020
Replying to Hannah Brooks

Hi Merlyn, I really enjoyed your post and would love to talk more about engaging black people in conservation.

I work for Chester Zoo as Community Engagement Manager. We would like to do more to make sure that our activities are inclusive and realise that this will mean proactively engaging under represented audiences, addressing barriers to engagement etc. 

The initial focus for this work is UK but I also support Chester Zoo's international field partners with their conservation education initiatives.

I can't see how to message directly via WildHub but if you're willing to get in touch so we can talk that would be really appreciated - h.brooks@chesterzoo.org

Hi Hannah, thank you, I will be in touch

Sep 10, 2020
Replying to Adam Barlow

Thanks Merlyn - I learnt a lot from your article. Would love to hear more on this subject and how the conservation community can start addressing the problems you mention - think this would make a greart panel discussion?

thank you, Adam. Very true, a discussion is really what I intended with this sharing when I penned it down. Issues of race and the effects of inequality in conservation have been very taboo to talk about and as both an affected and aware person, I felt it was imperative to take the first step and risk to initiate these conversations. 

Sep 10, 2020
Replying to Lena Jeha

Great article that speaks the truth! I am not 100 percent sure I agree with the comment about Europe and America. Europe wiped out most of its biodiversity years ago and the US has one of the highest deforestation rates across the globe....

Hi Lena, I see what you mean. But what I was referring to was the rates of successful outcomes in conservation action, changing systems and importantly, winning communities over to conservation. Yes, most of the megafauna has been depleted and lost partly due to hunting cultures and development and could be the reason for the exodus to and interest in Africa for most western conservationists and researchers. But what would seem a bare and lacking side of the world in biodiversity is achieving more in its interventions than the biodiversity-rich global south. there is of course a lot more factors at play too. thank you for your comment.