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Boosting conservation efforts in Kwale

 

There’s been no time for the January blues here on the coast in Kwale, Kenya!

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, and we really have ‘hit the ground running’ in 2019.
This is thanks to a boost in support for our conservation efforts, which is both heart-warming and inspiring. We couldn’t be more excited about what the rest of the year is going to bring!

Empowering Youth

One of the most important groups supporting our work is the youth of Kwale County. It’s critical that we invest in the training and mentoring of young people; to help ensure that they become responsible citizens and champions for the sustainable management of our natural environment.

They also need to be able to hold our generation to account for the impact we have on the environment.

Dzame has many duties at home, including fetching water everyday, collecting firewood twice a week and cooking meals for her extended family. © Greg Armfield / WWF-UKDzame has many duties at home, including fetching water everyday, collecting firewood twice a week and cooking meals for her extended family. © Greg Armfield / WWF-UK

Across Kenya, we work in a variety of ways with students from a range of institutions.

Youth groups have, for example, have been playing an important role in our campaign to “Keep Kenya Breathing” which aims to engage Kenyans in the planting of one billion trees, whilst also raising awareness of forest conservation issues.

Tree saplings, Kwale, KenyaTree saplings, Kwale, Kenya The Mwangaza Youth Group play a vital role on Rubu Island patroling beaches, gathering/collecting plastic and trash, and protecting turtle nests. © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK

Closer to home, youth groups are a key part of our beach cleaning efforts which you might have read about in other blogs from the WWF team in coastal Kenya.

Hope for future generations

In Kwale, one of our strongest relationships has been with the Technical University of Mombasa which has a campus not far from our office.

Sadly, in Kenya there aren’t really that many students who want to pursue a career in conservation, but the students at the Technical University of Mombasa are different! They regularly come knocking at our door seeking out opportunities to get involved and we’re always keen to engage them.

The students have formed an environmental club, and with our support they’ve already established a nursery with nearly 2,000 indigenous seedlings as well as a botanical garden on their campus.

Marine trash collected with WWF-Kenya (Credit: Hassan Mohamed)Marine trash collected with WWF-Kenya (Credit: Hassan Mohamed)

The group also is actively involved in plastic waste pollution management. They are members of the Kwale plastic plus collectors’ group which is an initiative seeking to create a value chain for plastic waste by collecting, sorting and processing the waste to create valuable products.

It is truly fantastic to see, and gives you hope for future generations.

A boost to Kwale’s forests and communities

Another major boost to our conservation efforts has come in the form of new funding from the Federal Government of Germany. Your support helped, in part, to leverage this funding and we couldn’t be more grateful.

This new support is for a four-year-project which is focused on securing and restoring critical forest and mangrove ecosystems in Kwale.

Through the project, we’ll continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders to address the drivers of ecosystem destruction. We’ll strengthen the capacity of local communities to influence government decisions and the capacity of government agencies to implement policy; as well as strengthening the application of environmental and social safeguards at national and local level.

We’re just getting going, but we estimate that it will benefit more than 4,000 people both in terms of their ability to influence natural resource management decisions and also the income opportunities they have.

I look forward to updating you on progress in my future blogs.

TMU students, Kwale, KenyaTMU students, Kwale, Kenya. © Elias Kimaru, WWF Kenya Abdul Aziz and school friends play in the water after school in Kwale.Abdul Aziz and school friends play in the water after school in Kwale. © Greg Armfield / WWF-UK

WWF’s Coastal Kenya Programme is kindly supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Size of Wales. We are very grateful for the continued support.

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