I am working for Programme Selamatkan Yaki as a programme supervisor and as a chairman of Yayasan Kinatouan Pelestarian Alam Sulawesi. I have been working in Selamatkan Yaki for 10 years, starting as a research assistant. My role as a supervisor is to make sure all the activities are on track and running well, as well as maintaining good communication within the team and with the stakeholders. As a mother and a full-time worker in conservation, I try to transfer my passion to my children and my family. This way they, too, can appreciate this beautiful world around them. I also share my passion to the community in my church, my village and everywhere I go, I love bringing up nature in conversations, more so as a proud representative of Selamakan Yaki.
Which ASAP species you are working to conserve, and can you tell us a little about your work?
Selamatkan Yaki is an education, research and conservation programme with the aim of ensuring a self sustainable wild population of Sulawesi crested black macaques in their native habitat. Macaca nigra is a critically endangered primate species found only in North Sulawesi. Over the last 40 years, the population has declined by 80% due to the habitat loss and hunting pressure.
Selamatkan Yaki works to educate the public about the importance of Macaca nigra, instill pride of conserving natural resources into the local people and enhance the capacity of protected area management. While collaborating with relevant agencies, Selamatkan Yaki also contributes to conservation of other unique animals in North Sulawesi, focusing on mitigation of the illegal wildlife trade.
How do you think the Women in Conservation Leadership Programme will help you in carrying out your work?
I am very grateful to be able to take part in this training because this is my first professional training. Through this training, I feel more confident, understand how to be more organized and is able to become a leader in a small organization. I can think in a more structured way when planning and executing activities. I really enjoyed sharing experiences with other inspirational women who are very dedicated in conservation. Many things were learned in this training from how to design a project, writing fund proposals, how to become a good leader, to how to communicate in the world of conservation. Besides being able to improve my abilities, I can also give better support to the team by sharing the knowledge I got from training.
What inspired you to start working in conservation?
Since I was a child, I have been very interested in animals, plants and nature. I started joining scout activities when I was 11 years old. This love continued into forestry studies when I became active in a nature club. Since then my world revolved around nature. I witnessed a lot of animal and plant populations starting to decline and I felt I should do something for nature and help maintain the biodiversity that exists in North Sulawesi where I live.
Yunita participated in Phase 1 of WiCLP and is also a part of the ongoing Phase 2 Visible Leadership Programme.