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.