This post is the third series featuring some of the first marine conservation leaders taking part in the African Marine Conservation Leadership Programme that Blue Ventures and Maliasili started in 2020. They share their leadership journeys as part of the programme, which aims to strengthen marine conservation in the Western Indian Ocean region by training leaders of outstanding conservation organisations. In this series, Juma Mohamed shares his leadership journey.
Juma Mohamed, Head of Programmes at Mwambao in Tanzania
No one expected my shift from banking and finance to the conservation sector. My friends and family thought I was losing years of experience in the banking industry that had seen me rise through the ranks. However, the few people who understood my connection to the ocean encouraged me to leap forward into the marine conservation space.
I have seized opportunities and created a niche for myself, using my experiences in the banking industry to trial and implement alternative livelihood solutions with communities in conservation, with varying success rates. I’ve had much more success since undergoing leadership training as part of the first cohort of the African Marine Leadership Programme because I was able to identify my strengths, which include connecting with people and how I can tap into this to influence positive change among the communities.
I’m always keen to encourage fellow youth to take on more responsibility, and sharing my leadership story allows me to do so. Recently, at the African Protected Areas Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, I had the opportunity to share my journey as part of a panel to inspire youth in conservation to seize opportunities and lead. I attribute this to the AMCLN leadership training and interactions with leaders from other marine conservation NGOs.
As I continue working with communities, I hope to be the voice of change at home in Tanzania and the Western Indian Ocean, where I can also nurture leaders to carry on with the work we do because there is strength in numbers.