Sharpe’s Longclaw: Environmental Education Proposal


Environmental Education Proposal: Habitat restoration and environmental awareness: implications for Sharpe’s Longclaw


Programme Co-ordinator:
     Dominic Kimani
     Field assistant
     Ornithology Section
     National Museums of Kenya

      P.O Box 1758- 20117
      Naivasha, Kenya.

Telephone:       +254 (0) 720 402 439


      Dr. Muchai Muchane (
      Luca Borghesio (


Environmental Education Proposal

Kinangop plateau grasslands, an important bird area (IBA) in Kenya, support a large proportion of the world’s few remaining endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw. Changing land use, unsustainable agricultural management, social economic and lack of awareness have been implicated as the primary causes behind population decline of Sharpe’s Longclaw. The main objective of this project/programme is to sensitise the local community towards the importance of Sharpe’s Longclaw as a flagship species in conservation and why people need to save it from the verge of extinction. I will select three working sites in Kinangop. Within these sites I will conduct awareness through various avenues; mainly through schools, existing conservation groups, youth groups, community groups, churches and sporting clubs.


Introduction and background information
Kinangop grasslands is the name for a section of land of 77,000 hectares on the border between Central and Rift Valley provinces, Kenya, with Lake Naivasha to the west and the Aberdare National Park to the East. The Kinangop grasslands are the world’s most important stronghold for the globally-threatened Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei, as well as for other endemic and threatened species (Aberdare cisticola, Jackson’s widowbird).

Kinangop grasslands enjoy no formal protection and the majority of this area is used for farming. Traditional farming has been dominated by livestock for milk and wool, but in recent years livestock farming has steadily given way to agricultural crops such as wheat and potatoes. Biodiversity at Kinangop is seriously threatened by conversion of the traditional grassland to crop cultivation.
Kinangop grasslands are an example of conflict between conservation and development. These grasslands received virtually no conservation attention from the authorities, are largely unprotected and are vanishing at an alarming rate (Bennun & Njoroge 1999, Birdlife International 2000, 2006, Muchai et al 2002, Muchai 1997), to such a point that at current rates of habitat conversion, no natural grasslands are predicted to persist in the area within 20 years from now.

It will be a challenge to conservationist to find innovative ways to preserve the unique biodiversity of Kinangop grassland without prejudicing the economic development of this area. The existing scientific knowledge will be the best guide in this challenge.

I believe that community conservation is the future of conservation. In a place like Kinangop, there is no doubt that community conservation is the future because it is not possible to ignore the needs of the vast human population living in the area.

One of the problems affecting environmental education in Kenya is the lack of relevant resources materials including books, posters, pamphlets etc. The available books may not be appropriate in addressing the real contextual issues as they are felt by the communities and the teachers within the local areas. There is need to solicit for their local knowledge about the local birds as well as ways in which they can harness and enhance this knowledge to promote sustainable use activities locally.
This bird education programme/project is an effort to address this challenge, and intends to work with local teachers and community groups to develop programmes and resources materials that suit their needs as well as addressing their local conception of promoting sustainable use of birds and their habitats. The programme is intended to generate concern and promote improvement of harmony between human-nature and human-human interrelationships through prioritising consideration of grassland birds and their habitats in the process of development.

Dominic showing an environmental film to Mugumoini primary school kids


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 will be 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.
  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.
  6. 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 will be engaged in the following proposed activities.

  • Initiation of locally suited sustainable utilization activities for birds and their habitats.
  • 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.
  • Public events including schools’ participation in World Birdwatch day


Local relevance
Kinangop Grassland is among the 60 designated as important Bird Area, for conservation of birds. The grassland is largely on privately owned land and thus the biodiversity highly depend on landowners/local community to accept sustainable management.


Target Groups
This environmental education program will involve school teachers, Youths, general community and local IBA conservation Group. Learning session will be held In Schools, FOKP resource centre and in the in field for demonstration. Participants will be 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. My previous work with schools shown that teachers have the potential to influence many children.

Dominic (in grey) and a teacher joins the kids in watching the film


Project Co-ordination
The programme will be coordinated at FOKP office in Murungaru area, with the supervision of the Department of Zoology, National Museums of Kenya.


Expected output

  • 40 schools will be involved by the end of the year
  • 40 teachers will be been trained (capacity building for teachers to continue with the programme)
  • 2000 pupils/students will be reached
  • A summary report outlining the main findings will be produced at three-months intervals; this report will contain information and images suitable for publication on the internet


Methods of Dissemination and assessment

  • Question – answer
    o I will be preparing question to the school going pupils/ students related to Sharpe’s Longclaw.
    o Presentations
    o Together with others I will give presentation to different groups according to the level of their knowledge.
    o Audio visual
    o Having previously worked in schools with, wildlife films, I found it to be very effective teaching aid. Films enhance creation of awareness among the community on issues related to environmental conservation.
    o Assignments
    o In schools I will give different assignments for specific area in conservation for assessment.


Proposed Budget

NB: Exchange rate as of 01 August – 1USD = 67.1500 Ksh

Activity Ksh per Day Ksh per Month (16 Days) Ksh per Year (192 days)
Car fuel 400 6,400 76,800
Fuel for generator 100 1,600 19,200
Stationery 32 512 6,144
Communication fee 50 800 9,600
Laptop (one-off)     60,000
      Sub-total – 171,744
Expenses for attending workshops
Schools patrons (40 teachers) 20,000
Community leaders (6 men & 6 women) 6,000
Youths (6 gents & 6 ladies) 6,000

      Sub-total – 32,000

Total 60,582 69,312 203,744 Ksh (3,036.48 USD)

NB the expenditure for workshops are approximated at 500 per person all meals and transport included.


Please Click to donate to the project


Proposed capacity building/education outline:

Month Activity Venue
October 2008 Schools/Community Murungaru
November Schools/Community Murungaru
December Schools/Community Murungaru
January 2009 Schools/Community Murungaru
February Schools/Community Njabini
March Schools/Community Njabini
Schools/Community Njabini
May Schools/Community Njabini
June Schools/Community Ndunyu Njeru
July Schools/Community Ndunyu Njeru
August Schools/Community Ndunyu Njeru
September Schools/Community Ndunyu Njeru


Other optional equipment and Materials
• Video player- @ 9000
• Bird guidebook@ 2500
• projector @ 45000
• Video Camera- @ 28000
• Video Camera- important to document events


Things that I have ready for education programme:-
• A car 4wd
• Power Generator
• Some assorted education materials
• Video cassettes, DVDS,



Bennun, L.A. & Njoroge, P. (1999). Important Bird Area of Kenya, East Africa Natural History Society.
Birdlife International. (2006) species fact sheet: Downloaded from on 20/12/2006.
Birdlife International (2000). Threatened Birds of the world. Lynx Edicions and Birdlife International, Barcelona and Cambridge, UK.
Muchai, M., Bennun, L., Lens, L., Rayment, M., & Pisano, G. (2002). Land-use and conservation of Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei in central Kenya. Bird conservation International, 12: 107-121. United Kingdom.
Muchai, S.M. (1997). Some aspects of the conservation Biology of Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei, a Kenya grassland endemic bird. Unpublished Mphil thesis, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.
Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., & Wege, D.C. (1998). Endemic Bird Areas of the World: priorities for Biodiversity conservation. Birdlife Conservation Series No. 7. Cambridge: Birdlife International.


Dominic Kimani. July 2008


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores

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