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Africa Geographic Travel
The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit © Alizé Jireh

Written by Black Bean Productions team 

Rise of the Matriarch is at its core a community that celebrates and supports women on the frontline of conservation and human-empowerment doing incredible, often groundbreaking work.

There are so many remarkable women throughout Africa not only fighting to save our planet but empowering communities, creating change and inspiring the younger generation. Despite the incredible work these women are doing, their efforts are still so often overlooked, and they do not always receive the support they deserve.

Their stories are captivating, the work they are doing is important and benefits us all, and we feel that more people should know about these organisations and these women. We want share their stories through the Rise of the Matriarch community, and in doing so support them and allow them to expand upon the work they are doing.

Ecoexist © James Suter

The Rise of the Matriarch Vision Film, which you can watch on our YouTube channel, serves as a mood board, highlighting what this initiative is all about, and giving a glimpse into some of the amazing characters we will feature in both the long-format and short-format content.

Rise of the Matriarch is a community of women supporting women, and men supporting women – where we lift one another up, support and empower one another.

Local woman carrying bucket
Grumeti Fund © Alizé Jireh

Rise of the Matriarch is two-fold, not only will we be creating a long-format broadcast series, we will also be sharing short-form digital content.

Our Rise of the Matriarch documentary series, which we are currently pitching to broadcasters, will focus on female heroes and the iconic species they are fighting to protect, working in challenging circumstances and in diverse and beautiful wilderness areas. Each episode will give viewers a real and raw look at the personal challenges these women are facing while working in fields where they are often exposed to unchallenged gender bias.

Person holding small plant

We will take viewers on a journey across Africa, delving below the surface, giving an intimate look at the lives of the incredible species these women are fighting to protect, the threats these animals are facing and the importance of protecting and conserving them.

We will explore complex issues in these episodes that these women are working to address such as rhino poaching, human-wildlife conflict, the illegal pet trade and other environmental and humanitarian issues.

In addition to this long-format series, we have an online community where we will regularly be sharing digital content in the form of short films and photography on YouTube – these will also be housed on our website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Meerkat in someone's arms
Anne Rasa/Kalahari Trails Meerkat Sanctuary © James Suter

These short films and stories, like our “Meet Ruth” film below, will share the stories of beautiful, strong women as they pursue their passion for conservation or human-empowerment, leading the way and creating a path for the next generation.

These shorter films will feature women in junior and senior roles, women working both behind-the-scenes in conservation and on the frontline – and will keep the momentum going after the long-format series airs.

Ruth, field guide
© James Suter

We will feature a call to action at the end of each long-format broadcast episode directing viewers to the online community and encouraging people to follow along as we share stories of women, and to get involved in various ways – to be part of creating change.

Looking out a car window
Blue Sky Society Trust – our main conservation partner © James Suter

In the words of Maria Diekmann in our vision film, “If a woman finds an inner strength, then there’s nothing that can stop her”.

We love this passion and through our research we are discovering more and more women that against all odds, have persevered and are doing what they love and feel called to do – women who are making a real difference.

The Rare & Endangered Species Trust (REST) © James Suter

Through this community, we want to encourage the younger generation to find their inner strength and pursue their passion too. We are collaborating with organisations like African Leadership University who are currently running a programme awarding eight scholarships for their incredible MBA Programme to women – and you can be a part of this by nominating someone who you feel has potential and would be well suited to this.

ALU are growing a new generation of African leaders and we have loved collaborating with them on this and hope to work with them and other similarly minded organisations going forward.

© James Suter

We want to create a global community of men and women supporting women – using film and photography to inspire change.

Join the Rise of the Matriarch community to help make a difference and create change in this space.

Watch the Rise of the Matriarch: Meet Ruth video below:

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