Welcome to the Savanna Sisterhood!
Our Impact in 2022: Facts & Figures
Poaching Weapons Seized
Animals Attended to by Veterinary Units
Kilometers Patrolled on Foot
Our Impact in 2021: Facts & Figures
Poaching Weapons Seized
Animals Attended to by Veterinary Units
Kilometers Patrolled on Foot
Love is Project Artisans Made 10-15 Times The Minimum Wage In Kenya
Dollars Donated (USD)
Water Tanks Obtained
"It is high time we more consciously direct our purchasing power to support the people and natural resources we depend upon and value most. Savanna Sisterhood does just this by uniting the twin goals of supporting and empowering female artisans to fund anti-poaching and wildlife conservation efforts. I am both comforted and inspired by the vision and innovative spirit behind Savanna Sisterhood that allows so many others to do the same with one click. The bracelets they partner to sell are beautiful testaments to how our day-to-day choices can power the positive changes we hope to see in our world. Together with their partners, Mikaela and Zoe are going to leave the world better than they found it. That’s the magic of a mission-driven company like Savanna Sisterhood."
- Kim O’Keefe Beck, Member of the Defenders of Wildlife Board of Directors
Several years ago, our family had the opportunity to visit Serengeti National Park and meet with local Maasai tribes in Tanzania. We got to learn about women’s roles in Maasai culture, African wildlife, and current conservation efforts.
We also witnessed challenges faced by wildlife in Tanzania such as habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts between humans and wildlife. With the expanding human population and the conversion of land for agriculture and infrastructure development to meet human needs, urbanization poses a dire threat to the natural habitats of wildlife because it reduces the available space for wildlife to roam freely and disrupts ecosystems. With this loss of natural habitat for wildlife and the expansion of human populations, conflicts between humans and wildlife escalate. Elephants, for example, occasionally raid crops, leading to conflicts with farmers whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. Predatory species like lions can also pose a threat to livestock, sometimes leading to retaliatory killings by communities. In addition, individuals turn to poaching as a way to escape poverty and receive an income. According to a 2015 study conducted in Tanzania, 96% of villagers said they would stop poaching if they received enough income through other means. For example, elephants are targeted for their ivory tusks and rhinos are hunted for their horns because these body parts are highly valued in the illegal wildlife trade.
Back in California, my sister and I had previously founded a free tennis camp for youth that focuses on female empowerment. In addition to teaching children the fundamentals of tennis, we introduced the concept of female empowerment by featuring female collegiate tennis players as guest lecturers. We were already making an impact in terms of gender equality at the local level but wanted to expand our reach on a greater scale.
Motivated by our experiences in Tanzania, we established a mission-driven company with the goal of strengthening Maasai communities by focusing on female empowerment and wildlife conservation. By supporting female-owned businesses within local Maasai communities and anti-poaching efforts in Kenya through partnerships with Love Is Project and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and as a proud sponsor of Team Lioness–an all-female ranger unit of Maasai women dedicated to protecting wildlife–at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, we aimed to create sustainable economic opportunities that alleviate poverty and reduce the incentive for poaching. Our mission is fueled by the belief that empowering women and preserving wildlife go hand in hand. By addressing the needs of both communities and wildlife, we strive to create a harmonious coexistence where sustainable development and conservation efforts can thrive.
Our latest initiative at Savanna Sisterhood focuses on providing sanitary pads for girls in need. We recognize the vital importance of menstrual hygiene management in enabling girls to attend school regularly and pursue their education without interruption. Through this initiative, we aim to address the challenges faced by girls who lack access to proper menstrual products, empowering them to stay in school and reach their full potential.
The bracelets have been worn by celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Brooke Shields and featured on Shark Tank, Oprah Magazine, Oprah's Favorite Things O List in March 2022, Glamour, Good Morning America, Today Show, NBC Bay Area, Elle, InStyle, Refinery29, Univision, The View, CNN, and the Buyer's Choice Award at the Museum Store Association show in May 2022.
Anne Hathaway wearing the Rainbow LOVE bracelet in cover shoot for Glamour Magazine!
LOVE Grows Program
The LOVE Grows Program launched by Love Is Project empowers local individuals to succeed through sustainable farming practices. These farming practices are good for the environment, provide food for local communities, and provide an income for the people selling the crops. In May, the LOVE Grows Program has impacted 1842 people, impacted 436 families, established 35 farms, obtained 13 water tanks, purchased 44 goats, purchased 84 sheep, purchased 6 calves, created 14 jobs, and $16,000 has been donated.
Maasai Basketball Warriors
The Maasai Basketball Warriors emphasize female advocacy and promote gender equality. By bringing together both sexes in sports, positive social change occurs. The Maasai Basketball Warriors also create opportunities for Maasai youth to visit the United States. By traveling to the United States, Maasai youth can bring their experiences and observations surrounding gender equality back home and inspire change.
Aerial Surveillance Units
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates 3 helicopters and 8 fixed-wing aircrafts in order to patrol wilderness areas daily to protect the wildlife and their habitats. These aerial units prevent illegal activities such as anti-poaching and help save injured animals. Some threats that the aerial units greatly reduce are human-wildlife conflict and ivory, bushmeat, and rhino horn poaching. With the intel gathered from the air, it is even possible to carry out ambushes that lead to arrests being made. (Photo from Africa Intelligence.)
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust employs 3 tracker dogs and their handlers who work closely with the aerial and anti-poaching units. The tracker dogs have special abilities that make them extremely valuable for discovering illegal wildlife products as they can detect ivory, rhino horn, bushmeat, guns and ammunition, and follow poachers’ tracks via scent detection. (Photo from the Big Life Foundation.)
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust works to preserve wild and endangered habitats. They have erected more than 267 kilometers of fencing around wildlife areas to minimize livestock encroaching on protected territory and human-wildlife conflict while simultaneously preserving biodiversity. Thus far, they have protected more than 2 million acres of land and planted more than half a million trees in 2020 alone. (Photo from African Parks.)
Water for Wildlife
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has distributed millions of liters of water in areas that suffer from droughts or limited rainfall. Because water is a fundamental necessity for plants and animals alike, they aim to relieve thirst by providing temporary and permanent water sources. So far, the foundation has drilled 32 boreholes and provided 8 water bowsers for the wildlife to utilize. (Photo from Phys.org)
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates 22 anti-poaching teams to prevent poachers from carrying out illegal activities and to protect the wildlife and its habitat. With the help of the aerial and canine units, the anti-poaching teams prevent ivory, rhino horn, and bushmeat poaching. In 2021 alone, anti-poaching units patrolled 57 thousand kilometers on foot, recovered and destroyed 9 thousand snares, seized 120 weapons, and made 318 arrests. (Photo from Real Leaders.)
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust not only educates local communities on the importance of wildlife conservation efforts but also works to improve the livelihoods and education of its people. The foundation hosts more than 60 school field trips a year and has donated 711 desks to schools because many lack the basic equipment necessary to teach children. When it was discovered that elephants despise the sound of bees, beehive fence lines were installed as a cost-effective and non-hostile method of reducing human-elephant conflict. This project prevents elephants from encroaching on private property and ensures that the bee population increases and crops are better pollinated. Furthermore, the community profits from the sales of honey.
The highly successful Orphans’ Project, run by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby wildlife such as elephants and rhinos so that they can survive in the wild when they are older. Human-wildlife conflict, ivory and rhino horn poaching, bushmeat, illegal logging, charcoal production, habitat destruction, and climate change are all challenges facing wildlife. These illegal activities can lead to orphaned wildlife and through this program, the orphaned wildlife are given the chance to survive in the wild, something that otherwise would not be possible without human involvement. (Photo from African Endeavors.)
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates 6 mobile veterinary units, 1 veterinary aircraft, and 3 rapid response helicopters to lessen the suffering and pain of injured animals. These veterinary units are equipped to handle injuries caused by snares, spears, arrow and gunshot wounds, and human-wildlife conflicts. The foundation has attended to almost 9 thousand wildlife cases with 3 thousand of them being elephant-related. (Photo from Africa Geographic.)
The Lewa Marathon is sponsored by Love Is Project to raise awareness for the challenges facing the African people and wildlife. Each participant wears a bracelet from Love Is Project throughout the entirety of the marathon.
Food Donations at Schools in Ngong
Hunger is a challenge facing the majority of people living in Africa since roughly 40% of the population lives in poverty. Love Is Project donated $605 to schools in Ngong to provide food for 45 students.