MARY MAGDALENE HASTAG
community liaison officer
Mary started her career with humble beginnings as a secondary school teacher in 1997. In 1999, she joined Botswana Red Cross Society, where she headed up the national youth department. She moved on to work as the regional coordinator for the north west district council for the Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) in 2002. That’s how she came to northern Botswana where her passion for conservation grew ever stronger.
She left BOFWA in 2005 to work as an independent consultant for several safari operations in northern Botswana. This fed her love for the bush and its wildlife amd she realised that, for conservation to flourish, the communities living in the area need to benefit from wildlife.
Between 2007 and 2010, Mary worked for Abercrombie & Kent as staff welfare coordinator. Then she joined Children in the Wilderness (CITW) as the programme coordinator from 2011 until 2017. During her time with CITW, she worked closely with children, educating them about environmental and conservation issues.
Mary believes that one cannot just educate the child and leave the parents out of the equation, so she started women empowerment projects, so that women can learn about conservation and benefit from it. This improves their livelihoods so that they can help protect wildlife. She is a strong believer that there is no sustainable conservation without people, so the community aspect of RCB’s work is very important to her.
Mary is excited to have joined RCB in 2018, as she believes in our mission to reintroduce and monitor rhinos to the wild in Botswana.
Mary is inspired by Nelson Mandela, who said: “Ultimately, conservation is about people. If you don’t have sustainable development around these (wildlife) parks, the people will have no interest in them and the parks will not survive.”