Vuyo Mxo | WWF South Africa

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Vuyo Mxo

2019 intern

Vuyo Mxo’s first experience of climate change impacts was the struggle she saw in her hometown of Middledrift in the Eastern Cape, where families rely on communal water to keep livestock alive. Over time it has become increasingly difficult to find a reliable source of water and it was this that drove her decision to study Biological Sciences to understand the reasons behind our changing climate.

That passion grew until she had earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Walter Sisulu University and Honours degree in Zoology from Nelson Mandela University. She has been placed as a Life Science Technician intern at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.

We asked her to share more:
 
What motivated your career choice?
I want to be part of the scientific community that aspires to learn and understand our marine ecosystems. Marine Biology requires a lot of hands-on work and I really enjoy learning new techniques and getting involved in every aspect of the work, be it collecting samples, building and testing equipment or analysing data. As a black woman, I wanted to be in a field that few others are in.

What do you hope to gain from the internship?
Gaining experience in a real working environment has been great. My hope is that this experience will help me to identify the gaps in my current training that would benefit from further studying.

What excites you the most about the internship?
Apart from real world working experience, the internship also provides practical training and workshops which means I have the chance to network with others and gain confidence in my skills. I feel fortunate to be part of an organisation that looks after our precious environment.
 
What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
Climate change is definitely the biggest problem we face at the moment and I have seen its effects in my childhood home where families have lost livestock and have to travel long distances to get water because many taps do not work.

What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
I hope that having followed a science-based career path will help me to contribute to addressing some of the socio-economic problems facing South Africa and finding people-based solutions.

If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would eradicate the corruption that has seen the most vulnerable people suffer because of the selfishness of the few people that sit in power. In South Africa this has meant high rates of unemployment and insufficient infrastructure development for the poorest people in our country.
 
Who do you admire the most and why?
I admire my two daughters who have to keep up with a mother who is aspiring to be a Scientist. They have become independent and strong. They also have a growing passion for animals and the environment and I believe that being exposed to important issues at a young age will set good habits for them as they grow up.
 
What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
My generation is innovative, more technologically aware and able to set up solutions to the environmental problems and educate people on using resources in a sustainable way for the benefit of all.

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