Every once in a while, we have the privilege of converting volunteers into long-term staff members. That’s exactly what happened for Gen Crisford, our Tourism and Conservation Manager of the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.
Doing some traveling after her time at University, Gen knew she wanted to work in conservation but lacked the experience so she saved some money and decided then it was now or never.
“I came out here to see if this is what I wanted to do and I never went home,” said Gen. “It was either this or stay home and get a flat and a puppy.”
Gen joined the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust as a wildlife centre volunteer for a month and then spent a few weeks at our partner project at the time, Kuti Wildlife Reserve.
An opportunity to become the assistant manager at Kuti came along and Gen jumped at the chance and stayed there for nearly three years. She helped build the project from the ground up – building up tourism, a volunteer program and working with local communities.
A few years later, the Tourism & Conservation Manager position opened up at the Wildlife Centre and she decided to move to Lilongwe to help manage the Centre.
She has been an integral part of the Wildlife Centre helping to increase tourism and event services along with ensuring visitor satisfaction. Currently, she is developing conservation projects within the wilderness area of the Centre involving local schools.
“All you have to believe is that wildlife is worth saving,” said Gen. “It’s worth being here and you can see first hand the progress and work that the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust is doing.”
When Gen is not working hard at the Centre, you can find her running, traveling to beautiful places like Kuti Wildlife Reserve and spending time in nature.
“There’s something very special about Malawi that you can’t quite put your finder on,” she said. “It’s not always the easiest place to live, but there is a feeling that everything is possible here.”