- To gauge interest in traditional ways of conservation amongst Taita communities.
- To create more awareness on the interaction of ecosystems and the importance of human activities to those ecosystems, from forests to wildlife, water, air, and land and to emphasize that this was known by the Taita elders a long time ago as is evident in the Elder’s description of how they practiced sustainable conservation.
- To sensitize the community on the new 2013 Wildlife Act, especially on the new penalties and compensations and to encourage the community to participate in spreading awareness.
- To bridge the gap between stakeholders including communities in Taita Taveta to begin to create unity where heretofore there has often been misunderstanding and mistrust especially between KWS and the ‘Hot Spot’ communities.
This program is a collaboration between Njavungo Council of Elders, Amara Conservation, the Kenya Wildlife Service and KUAPO. Since August, Amara Conservation and KUAPO have been reviewing all the data we collected to analyze what went right, what to change and how to chart the way forward. A detailed report of the program can be found here.
In summary, a total of 1,363 community members across ten villages were officially reached with this program. The overall response from the communities towards this program and our objectives has been very positive. Based on the responses to our evaluation questions throughout the trial program we saw an increase in the number of people who felt they could benefit from a balance of traditional and modern conservation practices. We were encouraged by the audience’s commitment to assist Njavungo and KWS in conserving the environment. The communities are eager to know more about how they can start to see direct benefits from their cultural heritage and wildlife. In fact, one of the successful elements of this project has been the bringing together of KWS and Njavungo. This has helped KWS to connect to communities who have previously been somewhat hostile due to high instances of HWC. It is also the first time that KWS has recognised Njavungo and the potential of their reach within communities to assist in matters of community wildlife crime reporting as well as human wildlife conflict.
What we have achieved is a first step in what will be a long journey to increase the ownership of responsibility and benefits from conservation among communities living with wildlife, and all Kenyans. A debrief and way forward meeting is going to be held with all the collaborators on November 3rd to determine next steps. We will keep you updated as things unfold.
If you wish to support our community conservation efforts, please consider donating to our cause – financially (here) or in kind (contact us at email@example.com to find out how).
About the Collaborators
Njavungo Council of Elders was formed in 2012 after a call from Central Government that each area should have such a council. Their name includes references to the three main tribes found in Taita Taveta; Njama for Wataveta, Vumwe for Wapare, and Ngome for Wataita.
Amara Conservation started its work in Kenya in 2001 and focuses on education and providing reasons why it is important to conserve the environment. They believe in the power of information, they do not design solutions but provide the mindset and information to the communities to help them find the solutions themselves.
Kenya Wildlife Service conserves and manages Kenya’s wildlife for the Kenyan people and the world. It is a state corporation established by an Act of Parliament Cap 376 with the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya, and to enforce related laws and regulations.
KUAPO was formed in January 2013 following the killing of a family of 11 elephants when Kenyans took to the streets urging the government to take stern action, calling upon the judiciary to set up a special court for wildlife crimes and asking the President to declare Poaching a National Disaster. KUAPO wishes to create a national conservation agenda that gives back wildlife management to the People of Kenya by actively embracing the age-old philosophy, traditions, and cultures alongside newer practices for the purpose of eradicating poaching and other environment and wildlife crimes