The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Community Outreach Programs
For over a decade the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Community Outreach Programs have been vital in building sustainable relationships with the local communities bordering Kenya’s National Parks and wildlife protected areas.
These successful programs strive to improve living conditions and educational standards, encouraging communities and the next generation to protect their wildlife and environment.
The following initiatives are essential components in the Trust’s approach to long-term wildlife protection, each requiring sustainable financial support in order to continue achieving great results.
Many schools in Kenya are lacking even the most basic of equipment. Teachers struggle to educate overcrowded classes, where children are forced to either sit on the floor or squeeze onto a battered desk.
Without a comfortable learning environment, children are unable to concentrate and absorb what they are being taught. Study desks are an overlooked yet much needed necessity which the Trust supplies to many schools bordering the Tsavo Conservation Area.
These sustainable desks are purpose-built using a metal frame and wooden top, reducing the consumption of dwindling natural resources whilst lasting a lifetime.
Sporting activities are a valuable tool for teaching, engaging and uniting children, yet many schools are unable to purchase even the most basic of sporting equipment.
The Trust has been supplying schools bordering the Tsavo Conservation Area with sports equipment for many years, including volleyballs and nets, javelins, shot-puts, discs, skipping ropes, badminton sets, footballs and much more, allowing the children to engage with their classmates and compete in tournaments with other schools.
A donation of US$ 800 would purchase a variety of sporting equipment for a school, giving around 150 students the opportunity to learn and enjoy different sports.
With seven fully-mobile Cinema Units the Trust is able to show communities a variety of educational wildlife films, teaching them about their environment and the importance of their priceless natural heritage. These films, which cover a variety of conservation issues and wildlife themes, play an essential part in sensitising local people to the wildlife that surrounds them.
Our Anti-Poaching Units run this highly successful program, equipped with an inverter, projector unit and screen, allowing them to show films in even the most remote locations. Each Unit aims to organise up to 4 wildlife shows a month, reaching more than 1,500 adults and children every month with a message of wildlife and conservation.
A donation of US $100 would fund a Wildlife Show, which begins with an introduction from one of our Unit’s Team Leaders, lasts for a morning or an afternoon and ends with an interactive question and answer session.
A huge number of Kenyan children have never seen an elephant before, or even the most common of wildlife species due to the associated costs of visiting National Parks in Kenya. For this reason the Trust arranges free field trips into Tsavo East and West National Parks, encouraging children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment.
With a dedicated 29-seat Field Bus, funded generously by the Dulverton Trust, one of our Anti-Poaching Team Leaders accompanies 25 children and 3 teachers on a full day’s conservation trip, introducing them to, and teaching them about, their natural heritage and the importance of protecting it.
A donation of US $350 could fund a full day’s field trip into Tsavo National Park including a packed lunch. For under US $15 per child, this trip is a hugely beneficial and enjoyable educational excursion.
For nearly 15 years the Trust has been providing indigenous tree saplings to the local schools and communities bordering the Tsavo Conservation area.
This rehabilitation program encourages children and adults to plant, nurture and protect their trees, giving them a sense of ownership and pride, whilst educating them about the importance of trees and forests, and the vital role they play within the environment.
All tree saplings are grown in the Trust’s Nurseries in the Kibwezi Forest and Tsavo East, before being distributed by our Anti-Poaching Units.
A gift of just US $100 will allow children to plant 50 indigenous tree saplings at their school or in their community.
The Trust’s ‘Adopt A School’ Program is an all-inclusive education initiative combining desk donations, sports equipment, wildlife shows, field trips and tree nursery programs, all dedicated to an individual school.
This initiative has been established in the knowledge that it is only through educating and empowering today’s children that any long term future can be secured for Kenya’s wildlife and the environment.
Anyone can adopt a school for US $4,800 and provide children with every element of our educational program, delivered by our trained Anti-Poaching Units in an engaging and sustainable way, achieving great results.
Your donation of US$ 4800 will provide a selected school with the following:
In return for your kind donation, you will be given feedback from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust about the school that you have adopted. This feedback will be in the form of photos and updates.
You also have the opportunity to visit your adopted school in Tsavo, Kenya, should you plan a trip to personally see where your contribution has gone, and meet the children whose lives your generous donation has helped to change.
Nairobi Nursery Education Visits
In addition to hosting local and international visitors at the Nairobi Nursery during the elephant orphans’ 11am to 12noon daily mudbath hour, the Trust also hosts local school children, who travel from all corners of the country in huge numbers just to see the little elephants enjoying their noon milk feed, and weather permitting, a cooling mudbath.
This program has become so popular that the Trust has had to restrict numbers to 200 children per day. 2011 saw more than 56,000 Kenyan school children visit the Nursery orphans and meet the elephant Keepers, who educate the children about the orphans and the threats to Kenya’s wild elephant populations.
The Trust’s fun and informative radio programs provide an avenue to communicate to the rural masses a message of conservation and respect for wildlife in an effort to educate people about the importance of their environment.
Broadcast on a number of different stations in numerous tribal languages, the radio programs reach hundreds of thousands of listeners in some of the most remote locations in Kenya.
We have found that listeners are far more receptive to our message when they are being made in their tribal language and by a member of their own tribe. When reaching out to the Kikuyu tribe, the largest of the 52 tribes in Kenya, we used Kameme FM, giving us the ability to reach 800,000 people.
Each live broadcast lasts 15 minutes and allows listeners to call in at the end of the program to express their views and ask questions.
A donation of US $250 could fund 15 minutes of airtime on one of the local radio stations, reaching on average 500,000 people.
Kenya is ranked 143 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) human development index and close to half of Kenya’s population of nearly 45 million lives below the poverty line. Poor education, poor health and unemployment all combine to create a cycle of poverty. Education is the key to breaking this cycle. Since 1997 the DSWT has worked to improve the living and educational conditions of people living alongside Kenya’s National Parks, and since 1999 has introduced specific Community Outreach Programs, implemented through its anti-poaching teams.
These programs involve talking with communities, showing wildlife films and helping people to understand the needs of wildlife and the value they bring to the environment, ecosystem and economy of Kenya. For the past five years the DSWT has sought to further this work through the active involvement of children in wildlife and habitat conservation, through field trips, video shows, and tree planting projects. In the knowledge that it is only through educating and empowering today’s children that any long term future can be secured for Kenya’s wildlife and the environment.
Children have a right to be informed about their country’s diverse wildlife and how valuable it is to the land and to the country itself. In Kenya’s School Curriculum, wildlife and environmental topics play only a very minimal role. For those communities bordering a National Park, it is vital that they be better educated as to the nature of wildlife and the value of natural resources, so that all parts can exist in harmony.
Assistance to the impoverished communities that border the boundaries of Protected Areas, and who are responsible for most of the snaring that takes place along these boundaries and within the Parks, is an essential component for the DSWT’s approach to long-term wildlife protection. Most of these communities are extremely poor, and have always snared wild animals on a subsistence level, viewing them merely as an endless resource there for the taking. However, a rapidly growing human population has over the years taken a devastating toll on wildlife numbers, threatening some species very existence, and this cannot be sustained.
Tourism is Kenya’s largest foreign income generator and a loss of wildlife will lead to a loss in tourists and so less money for the country and its people as it is the country’s wildlife that attracts 70% of tourists to Kenya
The community initiative has proved extremely popular, and has had a huge impact on the schools we have been able to touch. Furthermore, by supporting the schools, one reaches the adults who understand that should they continue the practice of poaching wild animals, the support their children have enjoyed could be compromised.
We would like to thank all the organisations and individuals around the world who donate so generously, enabling us to continue with these important Community Outreach Programs.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya