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Since October, 144 students and 24 teachers from our surrounding communities have attended conservation education days at Loisaba’s Conservation Centre. These days aim to connect those children living alongside wildlife with the conservation projects that are ongoing at Loisaba. The days allow the students to have fun whilst learning about the value and importance of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation on Loisaba.

Learning about Ol Pejeta conservation practices.

In culmination to these education days, an essay competition was held last month discussing the importance of conservation. Prior to the task a brainstorming session on the essay question was held with all the students at their respective schools. Over 100 students aged 12-15 years old at Kirimon, Ewaso and Labarishereki primary schools took part! The main benefits of conservation mentioned in the essays were the opportunities of employment and scholarships that conservation offered and income generated from the sale of beads to tourists. Protection of endangered species was touched upon lightly. This is unsurprising given that many of these students have never seen many of the endangered species first hand. Consequently, Loisaba arranged for the top 3 scorers from each school to head to Ol Pejeta for a day.

Last week, the nine essay prize winners, accompanied by three teachers set off to Ol Pejeta to witness conservation first-hand. The first excitement of the day was seeing Ol Pejeta’s Ankole cattle herd, the students were amazed by their iconic, sweeping horns having never seen this breed of cattle before. It was the first of many new sights for the students!

© Paul Naiputari

Next stop was a visit to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, home to 39 chimpanzees. The students learned about what the chimps feed on, the ecology they live in and how they have been rescued from the illegal bush meat and pet trade. Given that chimpanzees are not native to Kenya, it was the first time any of the students and teachers had seen one before. They simply could not believe that people would use chimps for the illegal bush meat trade.

On then to meet Baraka, a tame blind black rhino and pay a visit to Sudan’s grave. The students spotted two lioness’s snoozing in the midday sun and giraffe, elephant and impala were out in force providing a wonderful game drive though out the day for the students.

It was a day of firsts for these students learning about the importance of the animal species themselves as well the multitude of benefits conservation provides. The future of Laikipia, Kenya and the continent as a whole lies firmly in the hands of the new generation and the decisions they will make in due course. We want to thank The Nature Conservancy and Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation for making this memorable day possible.

A day of firsts for the prize winners!

 

© Lizzie Daly

Paul Wachiras’ days are very varied at Loisaba. One day he can be in Ewaso organising a medical clinic and another discussing grazing plans with morans and community elders in P & D. Below he gives us an account of his work, the main focus of which is assisting our neighboring communities with healthcare and education.

Every Monday I take Kaltouma, Loisaba’s clinical officer to Ewaso Dispensary to attend to patients there. On average, there are 25 to 30 patients at the clinic for Kaltouma to attend too. In partnership with Ewaso Dispensary, we also conduct medical outreach clinics in areas where access to healthcare is limited. The last clinic held at Sagumai was attended by 80 patients.

© Izzy Parsons

In partnership with Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation, Kimanjo Health Centre and Ewaso Dispensary, a training session on the negative effects of undergoing FGM was held in October 2017. Many parents were willing for their girls not to undergo the cut so an alternative rite of passage was developed.

© Ambrose Letoluai

In December, sixty girls took part in this alternative rite of passage ceremony thereby becoming women without having to undergo FGM. Interestingly the girls’ circumciser was present at the meeting and has vowed never again to do the cutting, she is now employed at the Ewaso Dispensary and her salary is funded by LCCF.

A very important aspect of my work  is ensuring good relationships with neighboring communities, especially in terms of grazing. I spend much of my time with morans and community elders discussing the importance of rangeland management. If there have been any issues in the local area I will also attend the meetings.

Another part of my work which I love is the education days that we hold at Loisaba with schools from the neighboring communities. These days are held in partnership with the Nature Consevancy, LCCF, Elewana, Space for Giants and San Diego Zoo. We teach the students about the importance of conservation and make them appreciate at a tender age about the environment. I think these days are really important because the children are the next generation so they will help to conserve for future generations. So far 90 students have attended these days from 5 different schools accompanied by 15 teachers.

© Lizzie Daly

 

By: Izzy Parsons

Onyango Stanley Omondi, a Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation scholarship student, came first in Nyanza Province and tenth in the country in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations – an exam taken by over 630,000 students.

LCCF has supported Stanley throughout his Secondary school education where he attended Maranda High School in Siaya County. Stanley’s father, Omollo has been Loisaba Conservancy’s Ranch Clerk for the past 21 years.

Stanley and Omollo at Loisaba after the results were announced….

The morning of the results, Omollo looked on the internet at the examination results and saw in tenth place ‘Omondi of Maranda School’ – however there are more than 20 Omondis at Maranda School. Omollo and the rest of the staff rushed to the Staff Village to watch the results being announced on TV at 1pm. “We were all in a state of panic, excitement and anxiety as we waited but unfortunately again the news just showed the single name”.

“I called my wife and told her that I had seen the name Omondi and I believed it was our son”. Omollo was told by his wife to not start singing about something you are not certain about!

On the 7pm news, in tenth place was Stanley Onyango, no mention of Omondi. The same position, same school but a different set of names – Omollo’s sons first names. “For me, that was confirmation. There was great excitement and everyone was jumping up and down in the hall as they all know Stanley well”. Omollo called Stanley but he was at a football match and was not home untill 8pm. That is when his father told him the news. He replied to his father “Yes, I have heard…”

Stanley has a two-week internship with Equity Bank this month and then hopes to study architecture at either Strathmore or Nairobi University. We wish him luck in the future and were fortunate enough to catch up with him last week and discuss his fantastic results.

 

Q + A with Stanley Omondi:

Where were you born?

I was born in Ambira Hospital, Ugunja Distict in Siaya County. I attended Pattand Academy Primary School and then went to Maranda High school also in Siaya County. My father was born in Siaya County but started work at Loisaba in Laikipia 1998.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

I have one sister who is the eldest and three brothers, I am the second youngest. My two brothers and sister live in Nairobi, my sister is an actor there. I still live with my mother and younger brother and am very close to my family.

What was your parent’s response to your exam results?

I am not good at reading people’s expressions but I think they are just happy. I am starting a two week internship with Equity bank in January. They contacted me direct after the results came out.

What or who inspires you most?

I am yet to know that. I channel myself to achieve what I want. I set a goal and aim to achieve it.

What do you like most about studying?

Learning new things every day. Physics is my favourite subject.

What do you find the most difficult about studying? 

Getting the assignments given by teachers done. The teachers worked us very hard.  I was at Boarding school so it was easy to study there. It is difficult to study at home as I have many brothers asking me questions and work to do as well when at home.

What would you like to study at University?

I would like to go to university and study architecture. After that I am not aware as to what I will do, I will just plan as life goes on. In Kenya, I would like to go to university of Nairobi and Starthmore. But if given the opportunity I would like to go and study in the United States.

What do you love most about living in Laikipia?

I haven’t spent much time in Laikipia but when I was a kid I used to go horse riding which was fun with my brothers and Max Silvester.

Would you like to visit other countries?

I would like to go to Malaysia, to see the Orangutans. My friend went to the Gorilla conservation centre in Rwanda and did a video chat to us so we could see them.

What advice would you give to other children in order to succeed in exams?

I would tell them to give the concepts they have not understood time and not to hurry them and to also consult their teachers. I had a problem with kinematics in Maths. I gave it about three weeks, although it was only taught for about 3 days and after giving it time and consulting my teachers and doing exercises I understood it.

By: Izzy Parsons