‘Matsikoane Sefotho currently works for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Department of Agricultural Research. She is attached to the National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC), under Natural Resources Management Division, working as a Genebank Curator. She holds a Masters degree in Management of Biological Diversity.
Her main duties at the Department include collection, characterization, distribution, conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources (these include cultivated species, wild food plants, crop wild relatives and medicinal plants of national importance), as well as management of the genebank database. She has vast experience in management of agrobiodiversity, international policies and legal framework, and intellectual property rights relating to plant genetic resources. She has gained this experience and expertise from working on conservation issues for 19 years, as well as through formal and informal training.
The short-term training on Convivial Conservation, especially the introduction to Political Ecology broadened her scope in conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. She realised the need for advocating for conservation priorities that are conscious of ecosystem well-being, the importance of natural resources for socio-economic development and the livelihoods of communities, particularly the rural poor. This translates to a conservation approach that realises fair and equitable sharing of benefits, one that is participatory and inclusive of community needs and vulnerabilities, as well as acknowledges that communities are primary conservation stewards who depend on biological resources for their livelihoods.