As world leaders gathered in Madrid to discuss how to deal with climate change, people in Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan were reeling from severe floods that have devastated many areas in the region since October. Torrential rainfall across East Africa has swollen rivers and inundated villages, causing an estimated total of 250 deaths, according to media reports. Thousands are homeless after their homes were damaged or submerged in floodwater. Crops and livestock have been washed away by the deluge.
African countries contribute little to climate change, emitting minimal greenhouse gases blamed for much of the climate change and global warming. The continent, however, bears the brunt of climate change in the form of floods and recurring droughts.
A UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report released in November warns that unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 per cent each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Failure to curb greenhouse gas emissions is expected to continue affecting global weather patterns with more extreme events such as floods, droughts, typhoons, and cyclones ravaging human settlements.
”It’s not a question of whether we’re waiting for the effects of climate change,” said John Roche, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in East Africa. “It’s happening. The balance of vulnerability here is such a thin thread between crises. This is a region that has many, many crises, and now the actual flooding is just exacerbating and playing on those vulnerabilities.”
Dr. Emmanuel Ndiema and Christopher Powles will address the Society about their ongoing work on Mt Elgon and how archaeological research has recently led to exciting information, new to science, coming to light on the ‘cave elephants’ of Mt Elgon. It is well known that these elephant visit Kitum Cave in Mt Elgon National Park to mine salt, penetrating 150 meters into the mountain. Remarkably, it is only now coming to light that Kitum is
not alone and that an extensive network of at least 12 caves is used by elephants.
Emmanuel and Christopher will describe a programme of archaeological excavations and how that led them to visit the remote area of Mt Elgon where these caves are. This programme has the potential for establishing the region’s cultural and environmental history and highlighting the role of tropical highlands as a refugium in the face of climate change both in the past and the present, so furthering our understanding of current challenges facing conservation and community livelihoods. Then they will introduce the Mt Elgon Elephant Project (MEEP) and what the Society, they and others are doing to investigate and mitigate the human-elephant conflict that is tragically killing local people and posing a real threat to the survival of this unique elephant population.
DR. EMMANUEL K NDIEMA is a Senior Research Scientist and Head of Archaeology at National Museums of Kenya. Dr. Ndiema was born and raised on the slopes of Mt Elgon. His research focus is on human cultural responses to long term climatic change. Specifically, he is interested in the causes, processes of livestock domestication and the spread of pastoral livelihoods in eastern Africa.
CHRISTOPHER POWLES is a University of Oxford zoology graduate whose grandfather lived on Mount Elgon and was the founder and first warden of Mount Elgon National Park. He was born in Nairobi, now lives in the U.K. and returns to Kenya regularly for his work and to visit Mt Elgon. He is the Chairman of the Mt Elgon Foundation which is being registered in the U.K.
6.30 P.M: Bar and canapés
7.00 P.M: Lecture starts
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In 2018, the Kenyan government imposed a moratorium on timber harvesting in all public and community forests ‘to allow for the recovery and audit of forest resources in Kenya,’ a knee jerk response to an alarming drop of water levels in all major rivers in the country.
This flailing attempt to ban logging in order to save Kenya’s water towers has had a number of implications: swathes of mature trees planted for commercial use in the Baringo, Marakwet, Keiyo, Kericho counties and the Mount Kenya region – valued at about Ksh 30 Billion – are rotting in the plantations. This significant loss of revenue to the Ministry of Environment and the Kenya Forest Service has led to serious budget cuts and compromised the agencies’ capacity to deliver critical environment management projects including the Nairobi River Cleanup exercise.
Additionally, the gap in local supply of timber forced the market to respond in an unnatural way; leading to over exploitation of farm trees and harvesting of immature trees in neighboring countries of Congo and Tanzania; essentially contributing to degradation of other forest ecosystems in the region.
Fortunately, the timber moratorium lapses this November and the Kenya Forest Working Group (KFWG) – an independent government watchdog for sound forest practices in Kenya, proposes that it be dispensed with altogether. Instead, KFWG proposes strengthening of local enforcement agencies and local governance units to curb illegal and unchecked logging.
Additionally, KFWG suggests that the ‘Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme’ (PELIS) currently under threat of being scraped, instead be reviewed and improved and that issues of corruption within government agencies be dealt with firmly.
If you would like more information about the Kenya Forest Working Group, please visit https://www.kenyaforests.org/
At one of Kenya’s most endangered lakes, community control over the natural resource offers residents new income, infrastructure and dignity.
Lake Ol’ Bolossat, Central Province’s only natural lake, is home to a wealth of bird species including the endangered grey crowned crane, attracting tourists and researchers interested in different migratory birds coming from as far as Europe and Asia.
As a source of Ewaso Nyiro River, Lake Ol’ Bolossat also supports a large population of people, livestock and wildlife that live downstream in the northern Kenyan arid and semi-arid areas of Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and Garissa.
Before intervention by the East African Wild Life Society, the beauty and economic benefits of Lake Ol’ Bolossat were at stake due to overgrazing, quarrying and encroachment on riparian areas.
Locals received little benefit from tourism that was controlled by a private minority group, thus only a handful were incentivized to conserve the natural resource. Lake Ol Bolossat’s wildlife populations plummeted as pollution and droughts increased, with doubts arising on whether the lake would survive the next 15 years.
Previously, discussions on community-led natural resource management in Lake Ol’ Bolossat area had been limited or non-existent. In response, the East African Wild Life Society, with funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) came onboard to assist the community establish the Lake Ol’ Bolossat Community Conservation Group; going a step further to undertake a comprehensive community capacity building program that would see residents of Nyandarua County trained on climate-smart agricultural practices and supported in initiation of said initiatives.
In order to ensure effectiveness and sustainability of the conservation group, the East African Wild Life Society had the Lake Ol’ Bolossat Community Conservation Group registered and licensed; successfully lobbying for the creation of a legal framework by the Nyandarua County Government to enhance coordination and collaboration between the County Government, National Government and residents of Lake Ol’ Bolossat in a benefit sharing scheme.
Now, the Lake Ol’ Bolossat community and wider Nyandarua area residents are assured of improved access to clean and safe water, regular water supply for their farming activities and diversified means of earning a livelihood.
If you would like to be part of EAWLS’ success stories, please visit https://eawildlife.org/membership/ to view our membership categories.
Presenting the 6th Edition of the Forest Challenge
The East African Wild Life Society Leads the Way in Sounding the Alarm for
Kenya’s Forests and the Dangers of Deforestation
NAIROBI, KENYA – For the 6th year in a row, The East African Wild Life Society – in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) – is hosting The Forest Challenge, an annual event meant to raise awareness amongst Kenyans on the importance of forests and the threats of deforestation.
Kenya’s forests are on a rapid decline with deforestation taking place at a rate of 0.3% each year due to pressure from increased population, wood fuels, building material and other land uses. The Forest Challenge, the premier annual forest conservation event in East Africa, seeks to reverse this trend by increasing awareness on forest conservation while helping to protect and manage the degraded forests of Kenya’s water towers.
The Forest Challenge is a fun, competitive and challenging obstacle course through Kereita Forest (part of the Southern Aberdares Water Towers block) which aims to sensitise Kenyans on the need for forest conservation while helping to protect and rehabilitate over 600 Ha of degraded montane forests in Kenya’s water towers.
This year, the Forest Challenge has partnered with several companies including UAP, Madison Insurance, Micro Enterprise Support Trust, Safaricom PLC, PKF, Total Kenya, Royal Media Services, Sunworld Safaris, RSA Kenya as well as the Kiambu County Government in order to achieve this noble ambition.
In attendance this year will be Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr. Julius Kamau, CEC Environment Kiambu County, Hon. David Kuria and over 500 participants from different corporate and environmental organizations.
Members of the Media who wish to attend this event should contact email@example.com, | +254 (0) 701 980575
November 1st, 2019 marked the beginning of a massive restoration exercise of the Maasai Mau Forest following the lapse of a 60 day evacuation notice for (illegal) settlers in Kenya’s largest endangered water tower.
“Reclamation of the degraded Maasai Mau has been very successful with 96% of the illegal settlers having left voluntarily,” said Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko.
Speaking during the launch of the 10 million Maasai Mau reforestation program, where he led the planting of over 200,000 seedlings, CS Tobiko disclosed that 35,000 acres of the critical water tower had now been reclaimed. He thanked the community for voluntarily moving out of the forest noting that their cooperation ensured the exercise was carried out humanely, in a bid to protect the rights of both upstream and downstream populations as well as the rights of future generations.
The CS added that through aerial seeding technology, 3.5 million seeds of the planned 20 million seeds had been planted in the vast Mau Forest. “This is just a fraction of what we intend to do considering the level of degradation and destruction experienced in the Maasai Mau Forest”, said the CS.
Addressing the media on site, the Kenya Forest Service Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau noted that KFS’s mandate includes forest protection and restoration and called for increased partnership with forest adjacent communities to enhance rehabilitation efforts.
In her remarks, the East African Wild Life Society’s Executive Director, Nancy Ogonje, applauded the recovery of encroached forest lands and the rehabilitation of seriously degraded regions in the Mau escarpment, stating that it is a step in the right direction to support the Mara-Serengeti ecosystems, which are critical to the economies of both Kenya and Tanzania. “We are in support of the government’s initiative to grow trees in the Mau and other degraded forest lands in Kenya. We also call upon all stakeholders and the general public to support efforts of restoring the Mau forest. The East African Wildlife Society through the Forest Challenge rehabilitation program provides an opportunity for any interested party and individuals to participate in the restoration of Kenya’s water sheds, including the Mau Forest.”
The smiling faces captured in the Imre Loefler University Talks’ banner sharply contrast with the sombre faces of the University students filing into Strathmore University’s Main Auditorium. These students mean business- they are here to have a say in their future and ultimately, the future of the planet.
2019 will be remembered as the year young people took to the streets around the world to fight for their future. Inspired by Greta Thunberg and other outspoken teens, millions of young people have been making headlines to raise global awareness of the dire consequences that a lack of sustainable environmental practices and climate change could have for their generation’s future.
Meanwhile, more quietly, but also right here in Kenya, young people have been charting that future as they help their communities adapt to the changes already happening.
The Imre Loefler University Talks launched on September 25th 2019 by the East African Wild Life Society and Konrad-Adeneur Stiftung Foundation, aim to guide and nurture these efforts, with insightful panel discussions ranging in topic from ‘Corporate social responsibility to green business’; ‘Sustainable Development Goals Implementation in a profit driven world’; to ‘Supporting youth in conservation enterprise’.
“Why the focus on youth? In essence, because youth are setting today’s (consumption) trends and will be tomorrow’s decision makers. There are 2-3 billion new consumers—most of them young—expected to come on line in urban settings around the world. So it is critical to work with youth to make more sustainable living and lifestyles ‘the new normal’.” -Garrette Clark, Sustainable Lifestyles Programme Officer at UNEP.
The last of this series of talks will take place on November 22nd, 2019 and we invite you to witness the rise of an environmentally conscious generation.
It’s that time again when we tag our friends/colleagues along to interact with nature, brave the elements, test our fitness, and compete for the title of ‘Forest Champion’, all for the noble cause of raising funds for the rehabilitation and restoration of key water catchment forests in Kenya.
Here are a few hacks to make sure you’re maximizing fun and minimizing impact during your #Forest Challenge Experience:
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
- Your e-ticket.
- Running shoes that you don’t mind trashing.
- Change of clothes, sandals and a towel are highly recommended.
- Cash for parking and additional money for beverages and food.
- Sealable plastic bag if you want to keep keys, phone and money on you while you race.
- Blanket to spread out for friends and family (spectators) who you’ve brought along to cheer you on!
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
EVERYTHING will get muddy, so make sure you don’t wear your favorite running attire.
We suggest wearing:
- Light, quick drying running shorts and running shirt
- Older pair of running shoes. They’ll be all muddy at the finish, and you can donate them if you wish
- Socks you don’t mind throwing away (or being brown from now on)!
Sunglasses are nice, but make sure to hold on tight when in the mud and water.
Cameras are a blast, but make sure they’re waterproof!
Have a crazy costume? That’s fine, as long as your clothing does not put anyone (including yourself) in danger.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE?
Forest Challenge participants must at least be 14 years old to race. Any participants younger than 18 need to bring a parent or legal guardian on race day to sign a waiver.
There are a number of activities for spectators including with more accommodating age limits:
- Zumba dancing
- Treasure Hunt
- Ball games
You will need an ID no matter your age to register at the information stand.
WILL I HAVE TO SWIM?
No. Any water that you may need to cross will be no more than 3’-4’ deep.
WILL THERE BE WATER AND AID STATIONS?
Yes, the course will have aid stations along the course with water only. Snacks will be available at the finish line.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS?
Really? You’re worried about getting wet? The Forest challenge will continue if it’s raining, snowing, or whatever! We do everything we can to put on the challenge in nasty weather but if participant safety or the venue is threatened by the weather, we may have to cancel. Sorry, there are no refunds due to weather.
WHAT IF I GET HURT ON THE COURSE?
Because we know how awesome our participants are, we do have volunteers roaming the course at all times in addition to the medical tent at the finish line.
If you do get hurt, and are around an obstacle, there will be a volunteer or a medic there that has direct communication with the event directors and we can send one of our medical teams to your location. If you are not around an obstacle, please tell a fellow participant to let the next obstacle volunteer or medical teams know and we’ll get help to you ASAP.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FINISH?
It depends how hard core you are! The obstacle course is 8k but is WAY more fun and will take longer than your normal race. Just add 20-30 minutes onto your normal 5k race time.
The ticket price includes:
- Transport to and from Kereita Forest
- A healthy, filling snack
- Participation in the obstacle course
- Sponsors 10 trees towards rehabilitation of the forest
HOW DO I REGISTER/BUY A TICKET?
- Click here to view categories and pricing.
- Choose how many registrations you would like to purchase.
- Purchase your ticket via Mpesa or Visa Card.
HOW DO I JOIN OR CREATE A TEAM AFTER PAYING?
If purchasing less than 5 tickets (a team), no worries! A team will be created for you on the event day at Kereita, upon registration at the information stand.
Will you be our next Forest Champion?Register today!
Deep in Kereita Forest, not far from the scenic Rift Valley view point, the venue of the most anticipated forest conservation event to ever be held in the region is beginning to take its final form.
The Forest Challenge’s 8km route has already been mapped, all 13 obstacle courses are just about set up and participating teams are gearing up to compete for and win the title of ‘Forest Champions’.
Aready, vendors are jostling for the best places to pitch their stands to best serve the over 700 expected Forest Challenge participants.
In a little over 2 weeks, the East African Wild Life Society will lead some of Kenya’s most conservation forward corporates in driving the agenda that is rehabilitation of the Mau water towers by planting and growing over 20,000 tree seedlings.
”We are excited to partner with a number of corporates this year to drive the Forest rehabilitation agenda in Kenya and this Forest Challenge is poised to be the biggest yet,” Gideon Bett- Team lead, Forest Challenge.
Royal Media Services has partnered with the Forest Challenge to lend their significant media sway to amplify the event to an even larger audience, supplementing the visibility we’ve enjoyed from strategic billboards mounted around Nairobi by our partners.
The Concord Hotel will wine and dine the wining team, while Base Camp explorer is offering two lucky Forest Challenge attendees a complimentary stay at their surreal Maasai Mara Bush Camp.
Archery, horse riding and rover rides will be on offer at discounted rates for spectators courtesy of ‘The Forest” .
Don’t be left out! Bring your family, friends and colleagues for this memorable event for a good cause and let’s Get Dirty For A Reason!
Click here to get your tickets today!
The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) through its flagship event “The Forest Challenge’’ has participated in efforts to rehabilitate some of Kenya’s most degraded water towers over the past six years.
One of the water towers that are in great need of restoration is the Maasai Mau Forest, a key catchment for the Mara and Ewaso Ngiro rivers. The forest has been badly degraded, mainly through human activity, over the years. The Mara River basin stretches through the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and Tanzania’s Serengeti plains, before it drains into Lake Victoria.
The Forest Challenge gives participants a unique opportunity to interact with nature by taking part in competitive yet fun activities in the Kereita-Aberdare Forest. The aim is to raise funds for the reforestation project.
Through its ‘Call to Action’, EAWLS has been able to rally support and participation from the government, the private sector and individuals to contribute towards forest restoration activities to achieve the national target of at least 10 per cent forest cover in Kenya.
Corporate support and participation in environmental conservation efforts have gone a long way in addressing some of the ecological challenges we face as a nation.
Proceeds from the Forest Challenge have so far been used to grow 6,000 trees in more than 15 acres degraded forestland. This year, EAWLS through the Forest Challenge aims to raise funds to rehabilitate at least 600ha of forest degraded lands in Kenya’s water towers.
With just two months left until this year’s Forest Challenge at Kereita on November 30, several corporates, including Safaricom, have already come on board to support the event through various participation categories that include sponsorship, participation and in-kind support.
The East African Wild Life Society is looking for more partners in the Forest Challenge 2019. The Society invites all concordant partners to take part in the Forest Challenge and make a difference one tree, one acre, one forest at a time.
The Forest Challenge Proposal can be found here.