Category Archives: Arabuko-Sokoke Forest

Voice of the ASSETS child!

The ASSETS project has so far been the most reliable scholarship program in the north Coast of Kenya. It’s uniqueness knows no limit as it was tactically set to satisfy two needs at the same time. Apart from providing educational opportunities to some of the brightest minds in this region, It has successfully transformed the attitudes of  the locals regarding the protection of Mida Creek and Arabuko Sokoke Forest which are two extremely precious habitats threatened by human activities here.

ASSETS has been enjoying a great deal of both financial and material support from well wishers: Turtle Bay Beach Club,  Ocean Sports Resort, and guests who have been visiting our Eco-facilities; the Gede tree platform and the Mida Creek boardwalk and bird hide. Funds from these sources have been comfortably sustaining the project for the period it has been operational.

OceanSportsLogo530144_355772421177419_808597742_n

However there has been lots of economic uncertainties over the recent past that has weakened our financial sustainability as a project. School fees in Kenya have extremely risen leading to a subsequent increase in our budget. The tourism sector which we significantly relied on has deteriorated leading to consequent decrease in the number of visitors to our two Eco-tourism facilities at Gede and Mida, this has seriously compromised our financial sustainability.The number of  eligible students has also been rising leading to an expansion in our budget.This has been as  a result of the consistent campaigns among the communities on the importance of formal education .

 

ASSETS beneficiaries

ASSETS beneficiaries

As efforts are being put in place to deal with the situation,   we really need to stand up for next year’s beneficiaries  to ensure that we retain them at school.This project has been providing hope not only to the benefiting  families but to the society as a whole, it is a perfect manifestation that restoration of the lost beauty of nature is achievable! It is such a beautiful thing to see the enthusiasm and initiative taken by the be

neficiaries including their parents in spearheading the conservation efforts at the local levels. We want to heed to God’s call of caring for creation and empowering the communities we work with in the process. The ASSETS project represents hope to the African child, it is the ‘logo’ of opportunity and the symbol of empowerment.

 

Johnstone's graduation at AKAM

The ASSETS children have great potential if given the chance, they have a way of getting to the top and that is all thanks to your esteemed support!

The best Christmas gift you can ever give out this Christmas season is a donation to the ASSETS project to ensure that the it stays operational next year. We need to raise 2 million Shillings  by the mid of January 2014 to be able able to keep our students in school next year.

You can make a donation through www.arocha.org/donateassets

No amount is too small to make a difference!

Like us on Facebook at ASSETS_Caring for Children & Creation

Follow us on twitter at @ARK_assets

 

 

 

It’s PATIENCE yet again!

 

 Following the departure of Patience Malombo, Our ASSETS Volunteer on completion of her volunteer period with us, Patience Nyevu joins the team for a three month volunteer period to take up the position

Outgoing Patience

Outgoing Patience

 

Incoming Patience

Incoming Patience

 

Patience Nyevu was a student at Nyari primary school and then to Kombeni Girls secondary school between the years 2007-2011 and this is where she benefitted from the ASSETS scholarships.

After completing high school, she volunteered as a teacher at Nyari Primary School (her former school) for about one and a half years. In the course of this period, she applied for a teaching course where she secured admission at Kitui Teachers Training College. She however could not take the opportunity due to some financial constraints.

She joins the team as a general volunteer, but specifically stationed at the Kitchen learning how to prepare the delicious meals that we serve at Mwamba!

We wish the “Outgoing Patience” the best of luck in all her future plans, and thank God for the wonderful time we shared with her.

We also welcome the “incoming Patience” and look forward to having a great time with her as she takes this opportunity to learn and meet people from all corners of the world at Mwamba!

Follow us on twitter @ARK_assets

Like us on Facebook: ASSETS_Caring for Children & Creation

 

 

A unique Program, Great Results!

“A Pound, A Dream!” Campaign

 

It is our responsibility to care for God’s creation in whatever ways suitable. The well fare of the generations to come will significantly be affected by our activities today and how much effort we put into conserving and restoring nature. It is in relation to this call that A Rocha Kenya; a Christian Conservation Organization based in Watamu, felt the need to help in conserving the neighboring ecological hotspots. Here is a story by one of A Rocha Kenya staff showing how his association with the Organization has enabled him respond to God’s call and made Him feel really good about it.

Stanley Baya

My interest in nature led to my appointment as the wildlife club’s patron for the school where I was teaching. I had recently graduated from a teacher training college and just started working at Sawa-Sawa Academy in Watamu before I was promoted to be the head teacher of the school. This position reunited me with a long-time friend who was then working as Environmental Education Officer for Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. Mr Tsofa Mweni introduced me to A Rocha Kenya and to Colin Jackson, the founder.

In 2001, I took up an appointment as the Co-coordinator of the Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-tourism scheme (ASSETS). This new challenge was both exciting and overwhelming. It exposed me to the very high poverty levels in the area, which led to a very high school drop-out rate. In our first meeting with the project stakeholders, it was revealed by the District Education Officer that more than 90% of the students who graduated from primary school the previous year did not join secondary school. After conducting a rapid survey to get some baseline information, we found that many students did not even pick up their results and admission forms from the school, as they felt there was no hope of them joining secondary school anyway. This put a lot of pressure on the parents to exploit the natural resources around them, like cutting trees to sell as timber. The result has been the degradation of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek.

Today, however, with over 450 students having been supported by the ASSETS eco-bursary scheme, it is evident that the trends are changing. The transition rate of children taking up secondary school places has very visibly improved and hope for the future almost restored. This renewed hope has influenced a change of attitude and behaviour among the students and parents who benefit from the program. An independent survey established that there is quite a significant improvement in understanding about the role of the forest and the creek in sustaining the livelihoods of the local people.

I am really proud of this program that has made it possible for over 200 students to attend universities and diploma colleges. It makes me feel that ASSETS was a step in the right direction towards redeeming the local people and creation.

This is just some of the many stories that A Rocha Kenya staff and associates have to say about the ASSETS project and its effect to the community. Currently we are on a 3 month fund drive dubbed “A Pound, A Dream!” campaign, aimed at raising funds to sustain the ASSETS projects.

Look at it, just by saving one pound a day you will be able to pay for a child’s school fees for a whole school term, better still you will have played your part in caring for God’s creation. (The writer is actually a successful graduate of this project currently in University)

You could be part of this noble mission and give a child an opportunity to achieve their dreams by making a donation online see:

http://www.arocha.org/int-en/you/donatespecific.html?d=KE-ASSETS. Make sure to choose “Kenya; ASSETS bursaries.

To donate to our bank Account please emails us on: mwamba@arocha.org for our details.          

ASSETS- The Theatre of Dreams

 

Our prime objective at A Rocha Kenya is not only to conserve and care for nature but also to help the communities living around us in the best way we can. We care and work with the communities living around us, because the community forms part of the core principles that we at A Rocha believe in. Through the ASSETS project we have provided an opportunity for the African children to nurture their dreams some soaring to greater heights than we could have ever thought.


Johnston Fondo.
Johnston is one of the most outstanding ASSETS graduates of all time. He hails from Boga where he attended his Primary School at Bogamachuko and was a beneficiary of the project between the years 2007 to 2010 at Lenana School. In fact he was in the same class with our ASSESTS Liaison Intern both at Boga and at Lenana School.

After successfully completing his high school at Lenana, he was lucky to secure a scholarship to pursue an International Baccalaureate diploma at The Agha Khan Academy in Mombasa. He graduated from Agha Khan in August 2013 and two weeks later he was on board Kenya Airways to Canada. He had won a scholarship to study Investment Banking at the University of British Columbus (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. Finally, a dream comes true!

This is just a single case among many of how hopeless African children have been rewarded with a chance to realize their full potential through education. Just by visiting our tree platform at Gede Ruins and the boardwalk at Mida creek you can help pay secondary school fees for a child and maybe be part of a mission to send another child from the neighborhoods of the Arabuko Sokoke forest to the Oxford or Harvard University who knows!!

Be part of this noble mission and give a child an opportunity to achieve their dreams by making a donation online see: http://www.arocha.org/int-en/you/donatespecific.html?d=KE-ASSETS. Make sure to choose “Kenya; ASSETS bursaries”.

Johnston’s graduation day at Agha Khan.

ARABUKO-SOKOKE FOREST DOUBLE TREAT!!

A while ago, A Rocha Kenya team of Katana, Andrew, Stanley, Ayoti and Silas, Nick (a volunteer from England) and two guests at Mwamba went to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest with the hope of catching a glimpse of the very elusive,endemic and endangered Sokoke Scops Owl. This was under the brilliant guidance of Mzee David Ngala.

David Ngala, also often referred to as ”professor” Ngala due to his uncanny knowledge of and passion for the forest met the team at the entrance to the forest before hoping onto Kiboko (A Rocha Kenya’s pickup truck). He kept the team entertained on the way by telling hilarious tales of the origin of his native tribe and his encounters in the forest.

After the drive that took about forty minutes under the “turn right” turn left” keep going straight” instructions by David Ngala,the driver, Andrew, was finally asked to stop.The team got off the truck and the cool air around them was palpable with excitement as the anticipation to catch a glimpse of the owl mounted.

Then the search for the owl began! Of course David Ngala already knew of its whereabouts and their hope therefore was that it would still be where it had been spotted. Using their hands as shields against the low hanging branches; on and on they went, deeper into the forest.

After about twenty minutes of bowing, hoping and walking, Ngala suddenly signaled everyone to stop and be as quiet and still as possible. He shone his flashlight in the branches high above them and VOILA!! there it was-the Sokoke Scops Owl!!!. What an incredible sight!it was the cutest animal to behold and gave one a sudden urge to cuddle it. Its big yellow eyes stared back unblinkingly at the camera and its talons could be seen clinging onto a branch. The sight was priceless! especially for Stanley who despite the fact that he had grown up around the forest,it was his first time to see a Sokoke Scops Owl. It was high up among tree branches so getting a perfect shot was a challenge.

Sokoke Scops Owl on the night – by Nick Gardner

The walk back to the main track started a while later. This time it was in search of  of the Golden-rumped Elephant-shrew. Unfortunately, after a long while none was spotted and everyone had to admit defeat. Ngala couldn’t hide his disappointment though.

He said that none could be spotted because their population had rapidly depleted over the past few years as a result of poaching. Otherwise, given the period within which they had been searching, they would have seen at least four!!!!

Later, the team was ready to head back to Mwamba. Little did they know that the forest had a second treat in store for them that was as elusive as the Sokoke Scops Owls – elephants. Though the forest has elephants, they are very difficult to find and one has  to rise up very early with the hopes of catching a glimpse of them as they go to drink water in swamps. Which unfortunately hardly ever happens. So for the team to spot not one but two of them was just priceless.

It was indeed a double treat….Arabuko-Sokoke Forest style!!!