Educate to save our environment.
Our environment is under threat.
The environment in our immediate area around Shimoni is under severe threat.
We must act now!
Education through to regulation.
The goal of forest conservation is achieved only through influencing and encouraging and promoting protection, restoration and sustainable use of forest resources. This is only achievable through education primarily through schools and community groups.
At Shimoni in southeast Kenya we have Shimoni Forest. Shimoni Forest is one of two remaining coral rag forests in Kenya.
The Eastern Arc forests of Kenya are a remnant of a once continuous mosaic of unique forest that stretched from the Kenya-Somalia border to the border of Tanzania and Mozambique. Internationally recognized, this forest system is one of the 25 global biodiversity hotspots and is listed as one of the 11 ‘priority’ regions for international conservation investment. These unique and diminishing forest habitats support high levels of endemism and important populations of species that have wide-ranging but fragmented distributions.
The coastal forests of Shimoni form a thin strip of ‘coral rag forest’ and is formed on ancient coral reef exposed by falling sea levels, leaving limestone rock and shallow soils. These coastal forests continue to be under threat due to encroaching human population, agricultural expansion, charcoal burning and commercial logging. Bans on commercial timber extraction appear to be ineffective. According to recent population figures, Shimoni area of Kwale County has one of the fastest growing populations in Kenya.
It is estimated that 70% of the Shimoni coastal forest was destroyed between the years 1990 and 2011. The forest is being severely exploited by the local people living around the natural forest. Recent indications are that large tracts of this coastal forest are still being destroyed and continue to be lost due to large-scale charcoal extraction and conversion to agriculture. The destruction of this forest habitat makes the area highly susceptible to erosion processes and hence the risk from the influences of deforestation in the wider Shimoni area.
The increase in illegal hunting for subsistence has resulted in and is blamed for the disappearance of some mammal species in our local forests. The reduction in bird life is very evident too.
The Shimoni Forest is an IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resourses – protected forest and home to diverse groups of plants species. The specialized flora that is found in this habitat supports and sustains rare and endemic species which are of particular interest to biological conservation and stringent management plans should be put in place and enforced, to conserve the remaining forest areas within this region.
Schools and communities must be encouraged to have tree nurseries and be made to understand the importance of reforestation and forest preservation.
We need to give conservation priority in the management and sustainability of threatened plants.
Through education we need to establish nurseries for ex-situ conservation of threatened plants.
In conjunction with local conservationists and school communities we must put importance on the preservation of forests and endemic, threatened species.
There are declines in effective management and best practices. With professional help and funding Kenya Kesho would be able to bring a greater awareness to a largely unaware and disinterested population.
The bee project
Kenya Kesho envisions a world where every honey harvest creates educational opportunities for all. School fees in a bottle.
The Kenya Kesho Trust is assisting very poor families by assisting with beehives for honey production and on-sale so that we/they can raise funds for education for young people from this economically challenged district.
The project objective is that children of poor families are given a bigger share of the benefits of a good education and through education are better able to understand the advantages of strong, honest leadership, innovative thinking and best practices for conservation.
The Kenya Kesho Trust Honey project focuses on building sustainable apiaries for the establishment of a School Bursary Fund and also as a source of alternative livelihood options. We are driven by the disciplines of a self-sufficient, sustainable bee-honey model.
The absolute objective of The Kenya Kesho Trust is education. Educate to eradicate poverty. Our belief is that a good and innovative education together with the development of a good and sound social conscience is the only way forward and will stem the moral deterioration that is endemic in our country.
Lucy King, PhD is a zoologist at the University of Oxford who led a study to test whether beehives could prevent conflict on farmland boundaries. Previous research into natural deterrents showed that elephants avoided African honey bees. The elephants produce an alarm call associated with the threat of buzzing bees and have been shown to retreat when a recording of the call is played even when there are no bees around. After two years of observation working with Save the Elephants, a charity organization, the full results of the trial have now been published in the African Journal of Ecology.
Coastal Cleanup Day
For a number of years Kenya Kesho has participated in the International Coastal Cleanup day. It is the world’s largest volunteer effort for cleaning up our oceans and beaches. Here in Shimoni, in 2015, we picked up more than 6,000 kgs plastic waste and other rubbish in a four hour period.
More than 8 million kgs of trash was collected by nearly 800,000 volunteers during the 2016 day. It is estimated that 8 billion tons of plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. The plastic waste, which is broken down into small pieces, is mistaken for food by birds, fish, sea turtles, dolphins, whales and many other animals. This results in ill health and the death of millions of marine animals and birds each year. Ocean trash also impacts on the health of people and the local environment.
Every year thousands of tons of garbage winds up in the oceans, with 60% of that being composed of plastic material. Coastal Cleanup Day encourages us to get out to our beaches and help to limit this problem by cleaning up the garbage that has washed up on shore.
Empowering people to take an active role in the preservation and cleaning up of the ocean are important parts of helping conservation of the ocean and one that Kenya Kesho is proud to be part of.
KENYA KESHO TRUST
PO Box 86952