My journey as a conservationist started when I was accepted to take part in a TBA course in 2004. It was my first time to be away from my home country, Sudan, and I can still remember the feeling of excitement during the journey from Entebbe airport to Africa Hall in Kampala. My TBA course was an unforgettable event that made me the person I am today. It was not just an academic course that lasted for a month; it was an introductory experience to a new world of deep knowledge of how to appreciate the natural heritage and biodiversity, besides learning the basic skills of taking care of Mother Nature.
After the course, I was nominated by TBA to participate in one of the Earthwatch Expeditions as an African fellow in a project called: South Africa’s Hidden Species in Durban, 2005. It is therefore important to know that there is a promising life after TBA, and the efforts of participants during TBA courses is taken with much consideration in order to improve the new generations of young conservationists. The knowledge I gained through TBA helped me to build my career in my home country. Of course, I faced many difficulties as a young female researcher, such as fund raising, the limitations of accessing remote areas, and harsh field conditions. However, I am now a lecturer in Sudan Natural History Museum, University of Khartoum.
As part of my research, I am trying to address the problems of environmental conflicts that are involved in the transmission of zoonotic diseases between wild small mammals and domestic mammals. The research involves the use of molecular biology techniques in Dinder National Park in south eastern Sudan and the main objective is to help in establishing new strategies for conserving the park. In September 2010, after finishing the Darwin scholarship programme, I had a wonderful chance to visit the TBA office in Cambridge, where I met up with Dr. Rosie Trevelyan and the TBA staff. I am still astonished by the great work that TBA is doing and will forever be grateful for the great knowledge and passion that they instilled in me.
Sara Saeed, Sudan – TBA alumnus 2004, Kibale