Connie Maina has endured heartbreaking loss, ostracism, brutality, and the upheaval of leaving her African homeland to live in Australia. But through it all, her faith in God has been unshakeable. From Kairos/CAM.
'I know that in everything I do and everywhere I go, God has planned it for me,' Connie said.
Connie was born in Kenya, into a family of six children. She completed her first degree, a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) in Kenya and a Masters in communication in Scotland.
As a young woman, Connie received sponsorship from the Rockefeller Foundation to take part in a development and cultural program in the United States, where she developed skills in fundraising that, at the time, was very new to Kenya.
'I joined the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a conservation organisation that was then raising funds for wildlife and nature conservation. At that time, Kenya was experiencing a lot of wildlife poaching. We had lost 85 per cent of rhinos, and almost 75 per cent of elephants in a period of 10 years,' Connie said.
Connie left the WWF to help establish the Kenya Wildlife Service, a state organisation that manages and conserves wildlife, national parks, reserves and marine parks.
'The then-director, a renowned conservationist, Dr Richard Leakey, requested the WWF regional representative to release me to help in public relations and fundraising. We did many fundraising strategies and events, with the climax being a $143 million funding for the wildlife sector, raised by a consortium of donors, led by the World Bank. This changed the entire sector to date,' she said.
In 1988, Connie married Maina Keengwe. Maina was the Kenyan regional director for Intermediate Technology Development Group, a UK-based non-profit organisation and a budding politician. They were married for 11 years and had three children, Michael, now 24, Rose, 22, and Stephanie, 15.
In 1999, Connie’s life took a dramatic and heartbreaking turn. 'My husband was murdered in cold blood in front of me and my children. Just two weeks before he was murdered, he told me, “Honey, I have a present for us.” I said, “What is it?” He came home with a brand new four-wheel drive.'
FULL STORY Time out with Connie Maina