Summary of Small African Fellowship in Kenya. (Kinangop)
September 2008 – September 2009.
The goal of the project
Emphasize and explain the conservation importance of Sharpe’s Longclaw habitat and promote environmentally responsible behaviour among the community surrounding the Kinangop grasslands. To develop an interest in local biodiversity, landscapes and the wider environment, and an understanding of ecological, social and conservation principles, using birds as an entry point. The long-term goal is to help conserve the Endangered Longclaw and other threatened biota within Kinangop.
The programme was guided by the following specific objectives:
1. Sensitise the local people on the need to conserve the environment and Kinangop Grassland as an important Bird Area
2. Encourage the youths to pursue their interests in nature and conservation.
3. Making the youths to be part of the solution to some of the environmental problems facing them locally, nationally and globally through investing in them as the future generation.
4. In the long term the programme intends to reach out to the wider community and therefore help in changing the attitudes within the community towards the conservation of our country’s natural heritage. (positive signs in progress)
5. To involve the teachers and members of the community in an environmental education process aimed at individual and social emancipation as well as development environmental education materials that are relevant to them. (held workshop at Elsamere and at FOKP office)
To encourage teachers and the members of the community to address local environmental issues and risks affecting birds.
To achieve the above objectives, the project was engaged in the following activities.
• Initiation of locally suited sustainable utilization activities for birds and their habitats (demonstrations done at Hajo Primary school)
• Workshops for school teachers and community groups at FOKP resource centre (Friends of Kinangop Plateau, the local community action group).
• Visits to local schools around Kinangop IBA to assist teachers and students to implement locally conceived environmental education programme. (Very successful)
• Public events including schools’ participation in World Birdwatch day (Very successful)
This environmental education program involved schoolteachers, Youths, general community and local IBA conservation Group (FOKP). Learning session were held In Schools, FOKP resource centre and in the in field for demonstration. Participants were given assignment to do in their schools and at community level to enhance implementation and domestication of the programme by way of integrating sustainability of birds and their habitats in their teaching as well as mobilising their schools and the local community for the same.
The main result from our work proved to all of us that Sharpe’s Longclaw was not locally known as perceived before.
The programme was coordinated at FOKP office in Murungaru area, with the supervision of the Department of Zoology, National Museums of Kenya.
The fellowship was funded through 10,000 Birds through National Museums. Consultations were done closely with Dr. Muchai and Luca who as mentioned in the proposal have been the supervisors on the ground.
• 31 schools were involved
• 20 teachers were trained (capacity building for teachers to continue with the programme)
• 8,000 pupils/students were reached
The following is the list of Schools visited during the project:
18. Purple Heart
4. Kenya Wheatland
6. Karima Girls
8. Aberdare View
We missed our target by 9 schools as proposed.
We did not managed to train all the patrons as anticipated but we trained a good number.
Methods of Dissemination and assessment
-Question – answer
question were given to each school going pupils/ students related to Sharpe’s Longclaw.
-Presentations (PowerPoint Presentation)
-Together with others we did presentation to different groups according to the level of their knowledge.
- Audiovisual -we used a Data Projector donated to the Project by Darwin Initiative through Dr. Harper of University of Leicester.
Held community meeting where I disseminated the information about Sharpe’s Longclaw.
Equipment acquired through the project
Donation to the project by various individuals and companies.
- Laptop ( see Charlie first visit to Kinangop)
- Binoculars by Eagle Optics (see Charlie first visit to Kinangop)
- Data Projector (see Three months report April – June 2009)
- Field Guide books (see Three months report April – June 2009)
- Peris Kamau of National Museums and Charlie Moores generously donated posters.
- A Safaricom Broadband Modem donated by Edward Morrison of University of Leicester.
Equipments bought with the extra money from 10,000 Birds.
- Power Generator
- Creative Speakers
Three-month report (July – September 2009)
Kenya Rift Valley Academy visit to Kinangop resource centre.
In the month of July were privileged to host Rift Valley Academy from Kiambu Near Nairobi. This school heard about the Group from our celebrated 10,000 Birds website. Rift Valley is a primary school that has majority of its student coming from US and Europe. I spent the whole day with them and they were very attentive. We went to the field to look for Sharpe’s Longclaw; we were lucky to have two pairs.
The pupils had a lot of ideas about conservation of Kinangop birds. I have been looking for an exchange programme with school from other areas. This was a dream come true. This school agreed to partner with FOKP; they will be visiting Kinangop twice a year. Next time they will be coming FOKP and I will be organising an interactive session with Kinangop schools.
A working break
In July I took a two weeks off from my normal duty. I went to Lake Bogoria one of Kenya’s alkaline lake and home to Lesser Flamingos. Bogoria is a Important bird area (IBA) and a Ramsar site – a wetland of international importance.
My time in Bogoria was spent both in the field and at the resource centre. In the field I was leading a team of Bird ringers during ringing sessions. We have been conducted Scientific research in the Rift valley lakes for many year as reported in my first introduction under the supervision of Dr. David Harper of University of Leicester.
I spent most of my times with Jackson Komen, the environmental education officer. I explored environmental education areas and his awareness programme in schools. I learnt how Jackson has been using community conservation films in his awareness programme. If possible we will be having an exchange programme between the two centres.
Environmental Education work in Kinangop Schools.
The last three months I focussed my attention on sustainability of Wildlife clubs in each School. I am happy to report that we have been able to form a Kinangop Environmental Patrons Association (KEPA). This association will be expected to run independently but with strong assistance from Friends of Kinangop. We started holding meetings in July to formulate the association guidelines. I am glad that the patrons appreciate the work we have been doing in their respective schools. The association will be holding their meetings at the FOKP resource centre. This will ensure sustainability of our programme when the schools have a sense of ownership.
Another honour by Saturday Nation
Last month Kinangop was once again featured in Kenya’s most popular newspaper, the Daily Nation. I had a privilege to organise a Sunday bird watch, mainly attended by people from Nairobi. The event was very successful and the end result was a very nice article for Kinangop. Since then I have received calls and emails from people interested to joins us in conservation work. This article highlighted about 10,000 Birds as a partner working in Kinangop.
Species Champion manager visit Kinangop
The month of August ended in style as we received Birdlife V.I.P, Jim Lawrence [Manager of BirdLife International's 'Preventing Extinctions Programme'] accompanied by his wife Debbie. Jim told me that he had heard about us from Charlie. I was very pleased to spend a day with him. Jim is a very keen birdwatcher and he wanted to see all the bird as well as keeping in touch with the work we have been doing with Charlie and other people. We had a very good day and we also spotted many birds both in Kinangop and our way to and from Nairobi.
It was very necessary for Jim to come to Kinangop; he is one of the key guys in making decisions on funding. Jim has many years of experience in fundraising. The group was very honoured to host him. We say a big thank you to Charlie for organising the visit. We are now in touch with Jim all the time though he is a very busy man. I took Jim to one of our monitoring plots and shared our experience about research and environmental education in Kinangop. Jim and Debbie were entertained by FOKP dancing troop.
In the evening I had dinner with our two guest and we were also Joined By kariuki From Birdlife, Africa Division. We had discussions about Sharpe’s Longclaw conservation and some measures that urgently need to be taken.
Jim suggested that we should have a painting competition for Sharpe’s Longclaw; we are now planning how this will be done. Suggestions are welcome.
A sheep project to support monitoring and Education is born.
I am very happy to report that the group received 500 USD from Professor William and Patricia from St. Andrew University in the US. This amount has already been used to purchase 10 Merino Sheep. As Charlie and others have seen, Kinangop is very good for sheep rearing; we have already been supported through 10000 birds in our Njabini woolspinning. This will be another source of raw material for our wool products. At present we are doing a trial at James Wainaina farm. In the long term we plan to rear sheep in our reserves in a controlled manner. Sheep are both Sharpe’s Longclaw friendly and economically viable enterprise. We will continue to report the progress of this project in this web.
We would like to thank Pat and William for their kind donation, also to assure them that the project will be managed as agreed.
A project on Sharpe’s Longclaw Dispersal has kick off.
As briefly mentioned in my last report, Dr. Muchai is leading a team of Scientist and students in Kinangop to investigate the dispersal and distribution of Sharpe’s Longclaw. This will build on the work we did in the area three years ago. The project will help us understand where Sharpe’s Longclaw go when their habitat is destroyed. For more information people can email Dr. Muchai on; email@example.com
Where we have reached!!!!
As explained in the brief summary I did most of the things as indicated in my proposal. I did not reach my target of 40 schools but I nearly did, since I went to 31 schools.
I would like to thank all the schools administrations for allowing access and accepting to be part of the project.
I am glad to say that we have been able to set the pace for the programme, and most of work done in one year with schools and community groups has been a success story, as all of you would agree. Initially we thought we would only focus on schools alone but it came to pass that a holistic approach was needed. I am very convinced that our programme has not derailed.
Part-time studies at Africa Nazarene University
I would like to report that I started my part-time studies at Africa Nazarene University on 7th September. I had mentioned this in my previous report but it was not yet confirmed. I am very grateful to Avril Carson From UK for Fundraising University fee for one year.
As reported in my previous report, I will be pursuing Bachelors of Science Natural Resource Management. The course will take me three years; I will be done by 2012. I have taken this as a good opportunity. I am sure all of you agree with me that more knowledge on natural resources. I am sure this will equip me with the necessary tool to handle our conservation challenges.
To keep in touch with the capacity building work in Kinangop, I have enrolled for part-time studies. I discussed with Dr. Muchai about combining the work in Kinangop and my studies. Since 7th September I have comfortably combined the two and all is well.
- To promote eco-tourism through local guide in Kinangop.
- To have a simplified guidebook for the birds of Kinangop (Charlie is working on this)
- Compilation of a simplified book about Sharpe’s Longclaw
- Continuation of Education work would be paramount
- The schools would be happy to produce a small magazine about conservation activities in Kinangop.
Very many people have assisted me in making Small African Fellowship a success, and it is not possible to mention by name all who have helped without running the risk of omitting some, they know who they are and I am most grateful to them all; However this project Phase 1 will not be complete without mentioning the immense support of Charlie Moores who spent a lot of his time fundraising for this fellowship. Sometimes it becomes difficult to describe how one is grateful, Charlie, to me you are more than a brother. All what you have done is more that what you may think, you have made us proud and known world over. In a special way I would like to thank David Fox for all his assistance. Dr. Muchai and Luca played a huge role in the success of this fellowship, I thank them for the job well done. I would like to thank all the schools we have been working with. I thank all the Kinangop fraternity for their cooperation all the time. Last but not the least I would like to thank Mary my wife and Simon our son who was born during the project, you always give me joy of working with birds and people.
Dominic Kimani, October 2009