DSWT's Radio Initiative

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been implementing educational and awareness radio programs that have been aired in various local languages targeting communities’ bordering the main Kenyan Parks and wildlife areas

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been implementing educational and awareness radio programs that have been aired in various local languages targeting communities’ bordering the main Kenyan Parks and wildlife areas.  In 2010 this includes four programs spread accross a month in each of the following languages, Wakama, Kikuyu, Maa and Meru.  These programs target the communities that live in the arid and semi arid parts of Eastern province, the forested areas of central province and western Kenya as well as the Maasai pastoralists. These particular communities have been targeted because of their interaction with wildlife in their areas, and the dwindling biodiversity because of unsustainable utilization and pressure on the environment. The radio programs are very specific and focus primarily on thematic areas of wildlife conservation and pertinent environmental issues. This makes it easy to follow-up on the same issues in a systematic manner for future radio programs. 

According to research Kenya radio forms one of the most effective and popular modes of communication in the country.  The kingpin of Kenya Radio, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) aims at the cultural and social betterment of Kenyans by airing a wide range of programs targeted at all age groups.

Problem Statement and Justification

There has been a great concern over the manner in which communities interact with and utilize resources they are endowed with. Of particular concern is the bush meat poaching which has become a countrywide epidemic/crises claiming unsustainable proportions of wildlife.  If this is not abated as a matter of priority, the National Parks, reserves and other community owned conservation areas will be depleted of their valuable wildlife heritage.  This notwithstanding, alarming encroachment into the conservation areas by people and livestock have become the order of the day putting a lot of strain on the available resources for wildlife coupled with logging for charcoal. Unfortunately, people don’t see the direct link between their actions and the changing trends in climatic conditions, global warming, recurrent droughts, flooding which without doubt has adversely affected their livelihoods.  It is in this line that interventions geared towards enlightening and persuading people to change their practices and acquire positive attitudes and knowledge cannot be underestimated. Radio, messaging comes handy in educating the masses and creating awareness on the issues. People tend to have high believability with radio messages.   It reaches many people at the same time, and it is aired in the tibes local language so people understand comprehensively the issues.

Aim, Objectives and Outputs

The aim of the radio program is to generate relevant and thematic educative radio messages that will help to change peoples knowledge, attitudes and practices, in relation to wildlife and environmental conservation.

Specific Objectives:

-        To highlight pertinent conservation issues and enhance awareness to the community on the implication on their livelihoods

-        To inspire community action towards active participation in addressing conservation issues within their local areas. 

Expected output:

1.      Communities will have a better understanding of their wildlife, environment and the way their routine or deliberate practices have a negative impact on the wildlife and the environment

2.      Easy link between communities with the various teams within the Tsavo ecosystem which is adequately covered by the Trust will be enhanced for further follow-ups on community initiatives due to the radio intervention.

3.      Reporting of animals in distress to either KWS or David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will be enhanced. 

We would like to thank The US Friends of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Rettet Die Elephanten for their financial support towards the radio programs run to date. 

The radion program initiative is run by Wambua Kikwatha

Having graduated from Moi University with a bachelor degree in sociology and economic, Wambua has over the years engaged in conservation and community development work at an individual level and at a work responsibility level. Immediately after graduation, he worked with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust as the Team leader for the very first de- snaring team the Trust put in place within the Trust’s privately owned land bordering the Tsavo East National Park and later de-snaring in Tsavo East National Park working closely with The Kenyan Wildlife Service.  This was the beginning of the six Anti poaching and Community Conservation programs that the Trust is running today, currently covering areas throughout the expansive Tsavo Conservation area. During his work with the Trust, Wambua was appointed and gazette as a Kenya Wildlife service’s Honorary Warden.  He later obtained a postgraduate diploma in community development from Premise Africa development Institute before enrolling for a Masters degree in Project Planning and Management with the University of Nairobi. Since then, he has developed key competencies in management of media (radio) in education and awareness, community conservation/animal welfare  education, logical framework approach to planning, use of participatory methodologies in training and community based planning,  monitoring and evaluation, lobbying and advocacy.   Wambua is a founder member of the Youth for Conservation and is involved in rural growth initiatives undertaking various conservation initiatives.

 Wambua was born in 1975 and is married with a son.