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Embiti Toilet

Sanitation and hygiene in schools contributes to better health and educational outcome among school going children.  But just for a moment, imagine attending a primary school with no toilet!   This has been the situation at Embiti Primary School near Sand River Mara since the school was founded six years ago.

That was until last year when a very supportive group of young people staying at Sand River Mara, the Young Presidents Organisation (YPO), visited the school. Having seen the school and talked to the staff and students, the YPO group decided to donate US$ 1,000 towards a toilet project.

We are now thrilled to report that we have overseen the successful construction and completion of 4 toilets and 1 urinal for the children and staff. On a recent visit to the school, the toilet facilities were just about to be completed, and the staff and students are delighted with the improvement in their facilities. It is thanks to generous donations such as this one 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.

The relationship between wildlife, environment and the communities of East Africa is a fragile and complex story. Natural habitats are under constant threat from development, farmer’s crops and livestock destroyed by wildlife and as demand for space gets greater, these conflicts will increase.

At Land & Life we’re all driven to build a positive future. And that’s why our Wildlife Warrior Program is so important. You might remember us introducing you to the program last month, and Sharon, one of our successful Warriors who will make such a positive difference to the future of her community.

The excitement is building for the future warriors as they get closer to finding out who will be chosen to go forward, and over the last two weeks, there’s been a beehive of activity.

Exam time is in full swing. Working with school staff, students at Esiteti, Kachiuru, Engilae, Ura Gate and Ololomei Primary Schools have now sat their Wildlife Warrior Scholarship exam. It hasn’t been easy but then we need to make sure we only choose the most dedicated and passionate students to go forward.

Our Project Coordinator David Mbugua traveled to Tortilis, Kitich and Elsa’s to deliver the exams in the respective schools. At EPC the managers sent camp guides to administer the exam on our behalf. “It’s been hard work but also a lot of fun” said David. “It’s wonderful to see how much the students want to be part of the scheme and help build a fantastic future for where they live”.

And for us and the students, the hard work doesn’t stop there. The L&L team in Nairobi now has to mark and grade all 50 of the Wildlife Warrior exam papers as we await the end of year results for all those who took it. Of the 50 students only 10 – 2 from each school – will be lucky enough to be awarded the scholarship in January 2017.

But luckily for the Warriors, it’s not all hard work. To reward them for their dedication and energy, we organized for students from two of the schools to take part in game drives.

On Thursday and Friday last week, 30 Wildlife Warriors from Embiti Primary School near Sand River got to experience a game drive at the Maasai Mara National Reserve and 6 Wildlife Warriors from Esiteti Primary School took part in one at Amboseli National Park, followed by a visit to Tortilis camp for lunch.

The children loved the experience and many of them got to see up close for the first time the amazing animals they learn about in school.

We’ve got huge hopes for our future Wildlife Warriors and whoever goes through, we know they’ll share our passion and dedication for protecting wildlife and helping communities grow sustainably.

As our Wildlife Warrior Program approaches the end of term, we wanted to share some highlights with you.
This term’s theme was The Importance of Forests, focusing on:

  1. Types of forests
  2. Various terms associated with forests like afforestation, reforestation and deforestation
  3. Causes and impacts of deforestation
  4. How to protect forests

Thanks to all the camp managers and guides who have generously supported this term’s theme by giving engaging and inspiring talks at our supported schools.

The newest highlight of the Wildlife Warrior Program is the Debate Competition, which has already taken place at Ura Gate Primary School near Elsa’s and Ololomei Primary School near Elephant Pepper Camp (EPC). Huge thanks go to Patrick & Sophie at EPC for taking the time to preside over the competition at Ololomei, and to Elsa’s guides who supported the competition at Ura Gate.

Next week, the Debate Competition moves to Esiteti Primary School near Tortilis and Engilae Primary School near Kitich. We are also holding a Poster Competition at Embiti Primary School, the newest entrant to the Wildlife Warrior Program. We are particularly delighted to be hosting a group from the Young Presidents’ Organization during the Poster Competition, so they can see the Wildlife Warrior Program in action. You will find photos of their visit and the competitions on our website and social media pages after next week.

Recently, as part of our partnership work with the Ngilae community near Kitich, we held a two-day Bee Keepers’ training event. During the event, which trained 12 members of the local community, Mr. Kenneth Kaburu of African Beekeeper Ltd. gave a lecture on beekeeping using the Langstroth beehive. This training was a key moment in the project, as it brought together a range of people from Ngilae, all of whom want to improve their livelihoods through beekeeping.

Boy with posterWe have recently launched the Wildlife Warrior Program at Embiti Primary School near Sand River Mara (SRM).

Our Project Coordinator David Mbugua, together with SRM guides Jonathan, Mohamed and Daniel, visited the school to give a talk based on our current theme for the term, ‘The Importance of Forests’.

The day was educational and good fun – Jonathan was a real hit with the children, bringing out lots of smiles and enthusiasm as the pupils answered his questions. We held a small drawing competition for the young pupils, which involved drawing a realistic tree on the blackboard. The winners were rewarded with pencils, courtesy of the Land & Life Foundation. A team from the Mara Cheetah Project also joined the group’s visit, complementing our activities by talking to the young pupils about the importance of wildlife.

The day prepared the children for our Poster Competition, to be held in the last week of July. We look forward to inviting some SRM guests to join the judging panel, giving them the opportunity to get involved in our work with the local community.

The highlight of the visit was seeing the joy on the youngsters’ faces when they heard that the Poster Competition winners will go on a game drive in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and visit Sand River Camp.

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