One of our core conservation functions includes capacity building and technical advice to local communities. In this regard, we conduct an intensive outreach programme consisting of lectures, video shows and public discussions on hirola conservation. We also conduct educational seminars, meetings and workshops in the villages within the range. Our education programme involves the following approaches to create awareness among local communities:
School outreach programme
The aim of the programme is to teach school children the importance of hirola and other wildlife in the area. Therefore, our team occasionally visits schools in the hirola range to give lectures, promote the developments of conservation clubs, demonstration nurseries and give the students gardening skills. Our educational outreach programme at present covers the schools shown in the map below:
Herders for hirola
Herders for Hirola is a network of Somali pastoralists (made up of herders, hirola conservation groups and local scouts from the area) who have united to save hirola within it is natural rage. Somali herders make up one of the most neglected groups of people in conservation management in Northeastern Kenya. These young men spend more time in wildlife areas than anyone else in the community, yet are rarely involved in decision-making with respect to wildlife conservation. To address this gap, we founded the herders for hirola in early 2012 to ensure long-term community involvement.
As of August, 2012 the programme started with a network of 20 herders from all of the hirola range including Galmagalla, Sangailu, Ijara and Bura areas. Herders receive training on basic wildlife ecology, conservation, communication, security issues, and the value of wildlife. Over time, herders are trained to collect data and use GPS, allowing us to map wildlife sightings throughout the hirola range. Each Fortnight, the herders meet as a group with HCP staff to report on wildlife sightings, incidents of human-wildlife conflict (poaching, predation, etc.), community awareness meetings, and livestock issues. In turn, herders receive lessons in English and Kiswahili, as well as a small monthly food stipend and meals during the weekly meetings.
In the coming months, we hope to add more herders to the programme and continue to expand this network of conservationists. We evaluate the programme to improve herders going forward and to make sure it is the best it can be. Through this programme, we are hopeful that wildlife will have a secure future among the local people in this part of Kenya. Want to help? Please donate so that we can continue to engage these herdsmen.
To disseminate our work, we hold regular meetings with local elders and community members to share the plight of hirola and also disseminate findings from our ongoing work.