Mathew Sumari Bajuta

My name is Mathew Sumari Bajuta I was born back on 1992 and I joined RCP/Lion Defenders on September 2015, from which I left my high school studies to join the project, Apart from other reasons why I dropped off from my studies the main thing was to work with my community {Barbaig tribe] as it was good news to me to hear that there were Barbaig vijanas who were employed by Ruaha Carnivore project to stop the killing of Lions… How? I wondered because I know my community their beliefs and how strong they are in upholding traditions and customs.

Am living with only my mom as my father had passed away when I was very young, I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters from which I love them very much. Am single and never married

Am currently working as the Lion Defenders programme coordinator with RCP, It is a good job to me as part of fulfilling my dreams, learning and educating my fellow Barbaig youths on how to change according to time and environment. It is known that to a Barbaig boy to become a man and get respects and girls he should kill lions/ elephant or buffalo and even before this in a previous the Barbaig were killing their fellow tribes (non–Barbaig) to acquire status and respect but nowadays they had changed from killing people to killing the lions. I believe from what RCP is struggle ling for and I believe that one day my community will accept the changes and live peacefully with lions.

Government herself, Institutions and other stockholders had tried on their levels but not had successfully changed the Barbaig ways of living from not to kill lions to protection and stopping the killings.

‘When I came to RCP I couldn’t turn on a computer, now I’m working Excel, Word, PowerPoint and taking photographs, doing reports, statistics, data entry, and I have learned to coordinate a team of the lion defenders’.

My biggest challenge is in my community other vijanas don’t understand the project. The other thing is travelling the infrastructure to get to the zones is challenging especially in the wet season when the roads are bad. Communication is difficult because we work over a vast area – the average zone is 50kmsq2 across 6 villages – so if they don’t have access to the network then they can’t reach us so we can’t respond to depradation or to stop lion hunts’.