Damien Mader's fascinating journey from the self-described "ultimate boys club" of special forces to conservation and the inspiring women of Akashinga he has trained to protect Africa's ecosystems for future generations.
On August 9th, 2017, in Zimbabwe's Lower Zambezi, a team of instructors began selection of the first Akashinga ranger unit.
The female recruits were survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, AIDS orphans, single mothers and abandoned wives.
They went through rigorous training before graduating and deploying to protect one of the world's largest remaining elephant populations.
Over the next 18 months, the women made nearly 100 arrests, smashing stereotypes and stopping poachers in their tracks. They are one of the most effective anti-poaching units on the continent.
Damien Mander – AKA: The Vegan Sniper
Damien was an Australian Naval Clearance diver, special operations sniper, and Iraq War veteran. He project managed the Iraq Special Police Training Academy in northern Baghdad preparing Iraq's paramilitary forces for combat. In 2009 he founded the 'International Anti-Poaching Foundation' (IAPF) - a multi-national not-for-profit conservation organisation working across Southern and East Africa. He is the founder of 'Akashinga – Nature Protected by Women', an all-female conservation model in Africa, and 'Back-to-Black Roots', a grass-roots rural vegan movement in African communities. His 2013 TEDx talk on speciesism has been seen more than 7 million times across different platforms. Damien was the winner of the 2019 Winsome Constance Kindness Gold Medal for 2019, a prestigious international recognition for services to animals and humanity.
A light supper will be served after the event.
Want to attend but can't afford to? email Nkawus@gibs.co.za for one of the limited free seats available.
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