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SKAL International visits Esiteti Primary School

The first week of December saw old friends visiting Esiteti Primary School near Tortilis Camp in Amboseli, Kenya.The founders of the A E Reimann Foundation, which is funded by SKAL International, visited the school to observe the progress of their classroom project and to visit and catch up with some of the 29 students they are funding through school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The double classroom is due for completion this week, with only the plastering now remaining. The donors were delighted with the progress and have now donated a further sum to add an additional classroom. These three classrooms will house approximately 120-150 students, helping Esiteti grow further.

Another exciting project on the books is an outdoor classroom, developing a small shamba or farm to help the students learn about agriculture while providing food for the school itself. More on this exciting development to come…

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Annual Wildlife Warrior Retreat 2017

The Annual Wildlife Warrior Retreat was held this year on 13-17 November at the wonderful Lewa Conservation Education Centre. This event takes place every year and brings together the bright young students who are studying under the Wildlife Warrior Program Scholarship scheme, with a passion for conservation these young people are the future of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation in East Africa.

This year we hosted 27 students and their 5 patrons for a full three days at Lewa, participating in this year’s theme Water Conservation. The young people took part in drama and role plays, which they wrote and performed themselves; they experienced the wonders of wildlife through a  day of game drives, accompanied by experienced conservation educators and wildlife guides; they received mentoring and guidance sessions from Land & Life team and the Centre education professionals; and of course they had lots of fun.

 

 

The Annual Retreat is a crucial part of the Wildlife Warrior Program, keeping the young students interested and engaged in conservation throughout their secondary schooling. The team from Lewa CEC, inspired and professional, help the students to understand the possibilities of good wildlife and habitat management and highlight the challenges faced. The recurring event helps to develop a network of bright young people from geographically diverse areas, but all sharing the common experience of living in or near conservation areas. Mentoring of the students as they progress through their education and feeding in new concepts and new problem-solving and partnership skills is a vital part of helping them develop into strong conservation aware voices for their communities. Whether they be teachers, rangers, doctors or carpenters, they will be leaders within their communities, giving wildlife a voice at the table.

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For more information please see the Land & Life website or Facebook page, and to make a contribution to the Wildlife Warrior Program and help more bright students benefit, please make a donation here.

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More Books for Ganako Primary

Ganako Primary School in Karatu, Tanzania has once again received a generous book donation. This donation came from  from Ken Kurzweil and Suzanne Sunday who visited The Manor Ngorongoro earlier in the year. Thanks to their generosity, Land & Life was able to purchase 260 text books and 10 teacher’s books for the school.

The books were delivered to Mr Lembris the Headteacher on Monday October 2nd, and handed out to students to have a look at. Everyone was delighted, and sent great appreciation to the donors.

Ganako, which had absolutely no books at all when we first visited in March, now has 10 or 20 copies of each subject for every year, from Standard 4 through to 7, and once the Ministry of Education completes the new syllabus and publishes the new books, we hope to complete the set and get books for the other years as well.

The school committee have asked for our help in building a kitchen. The existing structure is built of wooden planks and poles, and is extremely basic.

From this they try to feed nearly 500 people and it is both awkward, unhygienic, and costly in terms of use of firewood. On our recent visit, Mr Lembris took us to see a nearby school which has a clean brick built kitchen housing a huge fuel-efficient stove capable of catering for 600 students. We are in the process of obtaining quotes, and will be moving forward with the construction shortly. Once again the funds for this have come from Ken and Suzanne, and we are so excited to be helping the school with this exciting infrastructural development.

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Groundbreaking Ceremony at Esiteti Primary

Exciting times at Esiteti Primary in Amboseli, near to Tortilis Camp. Thanks to a generous donation from the A E Reimann Foundation, a large-scale construction project is underway.  Two large classrooms accommodating forty students a-piece are being constructed, complete with full rainwater harvesting system. The classrooms will be added to the existing school buildings and will reduce the current pressure on the school, where students are crowded in and the designated computer lab is being used as a classroom instead.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Thursday 21st September and was attended by many of the school students as well as representatives of the school committee, the Headmistress Mrs Phides, Candy Smith manager at Tortilis Camp, Hannah and Steve from Land & Life and of course the contractors Cosmos Ltd.

After a ceremonial prayer and words of welcome from the headmistress, the contractors formally broke ground, and then everyone had a turn including students and teachers! It was a lively and exciting event and everyone looks forward to watching the progress as the classrooms take shape. We expect completion before the end of the year so watch this space for updates!

It is thanks to generous donations from visitors, made to address real urgent needs within the communities, that the Land & Life Foundation is able to continue to make a real difference to the lives of communities living in and around wildlife areas. Thanks for all your support,  everyone!

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Mwaroni Primary joins the Wildlife Warrior Program

We are delighted to announce that we have found a new partner school to participate in our Wildlife Warrior program.  Mwaroni Primary School is located in Diani Beach, Kenya, just a fifteen minute drive from Elewana’s Afrochic. With 631 students currently enrolled, and 20 teachers, Mwaroni is a lively school with a lot going on.

Mwaroni Primary has an active wildlife and environment club already, which is busy planting seedlings in the school nursery ready to plant out around the school grounds. The club is led by enthusiastic teachers Mrs Joyce and Mrs Mwamba. The Wildlife Warrior Club will work with the school environment club and we hope to help the children to go on some exciting field trips to nearby Mombasa.

Existing tree nursery

Wildlife club nursery

Tuition block

Semi-complete classroom blocks

Land and Life will also be raising funds for the school to buy a photocopier, and then provide much needed repairs to the girls toilet block which currently has no doors. Anyone who would like to help with these projects, please see our Ways-To-Give page and let us know your donation is for Mwaroni. You can also visit the school yourself, any time you find yourself relaxing in Diani.

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Wildlife Warrior Program kicks off in Tanzania

We are over the moon to report that in July the Land & Life Foundation launched the Wildlife Warrior Program in Tanzania. The first Wildlife Warrior session took place at Ganako Primary School in Karatu, near The Manor Ngorongoro.

Firstly, a donation of 150 text books was made to the school. This was greatly appreciated, because the school previously had no textbooks at all, and had been borrowing from other schools to hold classes. We also provided assorted stationery, notebooks and so on. This was all made possible by generous donors both international and local, and also by staff members of Elewana and Sopa who, you may recall, undertook the world famous Kilimanjaro Marathon in February to raise funds.

Following the donations, and after signing an official MoU with the School Committee, we held the first Wildlife Warrior Club conservation education session on the benefits of conservation. The session was facilitated by Lucy Evarest of Shanga Foundation, who kindly agreed to assist with this exciting event. We signed up 59 students to the Wildlife Warrior Club, and will be issuing membership cards to all the children shortly.

Ganako Primary School

The event was a great success and both the school and the wider community were delighted. The MP for Karatu, Cecelia Paresso, came to Ganako to observe the session and offer thanks for the efforts being made by Land & Life. We would like to thank Shanga for their support, and Rodgers, Assistant Manager at the Manor Ngorongoro, for his time and effort.

We hope to return to Ganako Primary with some more fun activities soon, and are looking now at Zanzibar and Arusha to start up activities there. Watch this space for more updates!

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A well deserved game drive!

Late last month, six children from Ololomei Primary School near Elephant Pepper Camp were delighted to win last term’s Wildlife Warrior Program Poster competition. The six drew a very creative and impressive poster that captured the theme ‘Living with Wildlife’, and presented the poster as a team, discussing the many themes of human-wildlife conflict from the unique perspective of young people living on the border of a wildlife-rich conservation area. All of the students produced wonderful posters, of course, and the winning team were proud to have been chosen from such a high standard of selections.

A well deserved game drive

The winning students were awarded with a game drive to Mara North Conservancy and a brief tour of Elephant Pepper Camp.They were accompanied by two of their teachers and by the look of things they really had a really grand time! A special ‘Thank you’ to Patrick and Sophie for organising this outing for our warriors!

 

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Tales from the Mara

Winning Poster - Ololomei

Last week I visited our supported projects at the Masai Mara.  My first stop was Ololomei Primary School near Elephant Pepper Camp (EPC) where I met the children and teachers and donated some textbooks to the school. Together with one of EPC’s guides Boniface, we held a Wildlife Warrior Poster competition based on this term’s theme “Living with Elephants”.   The posters were quite impressive but there can only be one winner, so we chose group number 5 who had produced a great picture which showed all elements of the complex living with wildlife challenges faced by the community – the elephants, the manyattas, the maize being eaten by elephant, the cattle under threat from predators, the tourists on a  game drive, the dams where the water is held and which attract elephant – a  great poster!  The winning group will go on a game drive on Tuesday 28th March and will thereafter have tea and biscuits at EPC – watch this space for photos and maybe some interviews with the children.


Aitong Health CentreI also had an opportunity to visit our supported health facility at Aitong Town. Thanks to the mounting support of donors the health centre has a recently completed maternity wing, with spacious facilities and new equipment. However it is lacking in power at present and therefore is not in use, which I found very disappointing. We would like to help with this situation and over the next month or two we hope to send an electrician to see how we can rectify this problem.  We also plan to scale up our annual medical camp scheduled for November, which provides free medical and dental care to the community. This year we hope to partner with like-minded organisations to expand our impact, and  we are looking at the possibility of introducing the National Health Insurance Fund to the community as well as bringing in a wide range of medical specialists. We will keep you updated as we go along.


My last stop was at little Embiti Primary School just outside the gates of the Maasai Mara Reserve and supported by Sand River Mara. The school has 115 students from nursery up to Class 4, and the top two classes impressed me by their memorising the Wildlife Warrior pledge!

Watch the video:

Here we have provided funding for the school’s first and only toilet block, which is about to be finished. I am delighted about this as it will make a real and immediate impact on all students and staff at the school who currently have no toilet facilities at all.

I brought printed colouring sheets for the youngest children with pictures of the wildlife of the Mara, and large sheets of poster paper for the older Wildlife Warriors, and set the Warriors a poster competition on the topic of “Our Favourite Wildlife”. The winners will be taken on a game drive in the Game Reserve and be treated to a picnic lunch by SRM guides and managers.

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Wildlife Warrior Program – the past month

Over the past month, we have conducted a range of Wildlife Warrior activities in our supported schools.

This term’s theme has been “Living with Elephants”. We decided to choose a positive theme to engage with the children, and provide real ideas and examples for the children and communities on how to coexist with wildlife.

Our project coordinator David has been busy, visiting the schools and showing  the children conservation videos which highlight the challenges and solutions of living with elephants. The children were enthralled, and David was excited to learn that for some of them this was their very first video!

After the videos David held a question and answer session, and led a discussion on elephants and living with wildlife. The reaction of the children showed that this was a worthwhile effort, as based both on their responses to the questions asked and their own questions they had learned a lot. The teachers were not left out as they had a lot to learn as well.

The children are now in groups and drawing posters based on the termly theme. In a few weeks poster competitions will be held at each of the schools, judged by a panel of staff and guests from the nearest Elewana property. The winning groups will be awarded a game drive to the nearest conservation area and get a chance to visit the nearest camp or lodge for a treat!

We have also given all teachers a small token of appreciation for all their efforts in supporting the Wildlife Warrior activities in their schools. In total, we have given teachers incentives worth USD 580.

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This Christmas help us keep their wishes alive

Christmas is here and, in keeping with the season, I want to share a story packed with hope and good news. And I hope you’ll make more stories like this come true.

Elosy is 15 years old. She lives with her mother and younger sister in a small village near Elsa’s Kopje neighboring the Meru National Park. Her father was killed by robbers 8 years ago and now her mum is the sole provider.

Her mother runs a simple grocery shop but what she earns barely pays for rent and food. This story is all too common in rural communities across Kenya.

Elosy dreams of being an electrical engineer. With the help of her school, she’s working hard to make her dream come true. She knows it’s only with hard work and determination that she can live a better life.

It’s rare that families can afford to give their children the chance of a life that we take for granted. Education in Kenya is out of reach of most rural communities, meaning a life of poverty and hardship for so many children.

But you can help children like Elosy. So far, the Land & Life Foundation has given 19 youngsters the chance to fulfill their dreams through our Wildlife Warrior Scholarship program. We still have 8 more children who desperately need funding and next year, we’re hoping to change even more futures.

Remember a time when someone helped your wish come true? This Christmas, make that person be you.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • $100 will just about cover a family trip to the cinema, but that same amount will send a pupil on conservation training, vital to their education
  • $200 might buy you a dinner for two, but it can pay for a child to receive tuition for a whole term
  • $600 gets you a scuba diving trip, but it also pays for someone like Elosy to attend school for an entire year

Please show your gratitude this Christmas and join us today to grant youngsters like Elosy their wish and a promising future.