In a forest ecosystem, living things are interdependent, and they are also dependent on water, light, temperature, space, topography, soil type, chemicals, nutrients and other factors. If something in an ecosystem changes drastically, for example, if there is a sudden change in weather or even cutting down forests for development or agricultural purposes obviously reduces their biodiversity.
A Rocha Kenya joined the David Ngala, two KFS rangers, Mvera wa ASSETS parents and the beneficiaries themselves for a snare walk in Arabuko sokoke forest. The purpose of the snare walk was to create awareness and to help remove any snares they come across and take action on any other illegal activities.
We dint observe any active snares but we saw two old snares (probably 3months old), logging of trees for timber and building. It was a productive walk for the Mijomboni parents and beneficiaries had firsthand experience of what poachers have turned our forest into.
We are hoping and praying that the word will spread, the destruction of our forests to stop and conserving it to be our passion.
It’s amazing how many hearts one can touch by simply giving. Through A Rocha Kenya’s ASSETS program hope has been restored and dreams have come true. Chipande, a group of parents of the students who have benefited from ASSETS program gathered together to prepare a nursery bed.
Chipande is one among many of the clusters of villages in the same neighborhood formed by parents of those students who have benefited from the ASSETS program. The parents belonging to these clusters meet regularly at the schools to cultivate the trees seedlings that will later be distributed.
The students will cater for the tree seedlings until they are ready to be distributed. Wouldn’t you want to touch a child’s heart today? Put a smile on his/her face? …these children are our tomorrow’s future!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:16.
We do thank the Lord for providing for us in countless astonishing ways! Secondly you; each one of you for your noble contribution in sustaining and rescuing the ASSETS project, restoring hope for the community and for nature!
Recently the ASSETS committee held the final assessment meeting and 27 new students were admitted into the scheme. As it stands now, 501 students have received bursaries through the ASSETS scheme, 378 students successfully cleared their secondary school while current beneficiaries add up to 123. It is indeed quite encouraging to us that the number of our “ambassadors” out there is increasing!
We were privileged to meet these new kids during the beneficiary days and happy is an understatement! They gained a lot from the inspirational talks, information about the concept of ASSETS, the environment around them, climate change and what they can do to help.
We do hope and pray that the Lord will continue providing for us so that we can reach out to even more members of the community here impacting their lives in as many ways possible. Long live ASSETS!
On this bright Tuesday morning, the ASSETS team boards Kiboko; the truck all packed and ready for the ASSETS beneficiary camp. The beautiful scenery of the forested landscape coupled with the sweet scent of budding flowers made the ‘cruise’ to Bogamachuko; our first stop quite short and exciting! It was fun identifying different species of trees and birds as the road closely meandered along the forest edge offering just a glimpse of the treasurer encompassed within the 420km2 of dry coastal forest!
ASSETS beneficiaries from Kahingoni and Bogamachuko were all seated and waiting for us as we drove into Bogamachuko school compound. We then proceeded to Malanga then Nyari, Mijomboni and finally Mida where we able to meet all beneficiaries from the nine schools.
All through we strengthened their understanding of the ASSETS project whilst assessing progress of the different clusters of Muvera wa ASSETS; the beneficiaries association. The level of enthusiasm was extremely encouraging as some of the attendees were not even beneficiaries! We seized the opportunity to urge them to conserve the local natural resources around them; Mida creek and Arabuko Sokoke forest for their own sake. Mzee Suleiman a resident of Mida also an ASSETS committee member took to the stage with his rib-cracking but quite educational narratives to instill the conservation message in the best way possible. We also had separate sessions with the students challenging them to make the best out of this opportunity. Led by Daniel and Patience who were both successful beneficiaries of the project and now on further studies; we inspired them that regardless of all the difficulties, nothing that could stop them from achieving their dreams!
At the end of it all, parents vowed to adopt all the alternative technologies taught to them through Muvera wa ASSETS as well as working together to protect the forest by reporting to us of any illegal activities. The students on the other hand promised to be our ambassadors in their respective schools apart from making the best out of the scholarship opportunity!
Assessment of new ASSETS beneficiaries is underway with Festus taking a center stage in this. We glorify the Lord that 33 new students from the school that participate in the ASSETS project were able to reach the cut-off mark!! It is tough as we have to visit all the 33 families in such a short span of time but we thank the Lord for the motivation and hard work in the ASSETS team.
Fortunately though, some of our guests at Mwamba who happen to strongly support the ASSETS project offered to join in one of the field trips. The day started early with a trip to Mijomboni primary school where assessment for that day was to be done.
The couple had an eventful day practically experiencing how it takes to be the ASSETS coordinator! They were able to see the tree nurseries that ASSETS beneficiaries keep, and the new farming technique “farming God’s way” in their farms.
They also seized the opportunity to remind the locals on the need to protect the natural resources around them, adopt the new alternative technologies that are taught to them through Muvera Wa ASSETS and finally to lay their hopes in the Lord regardless. The trip was relatively rewarding and at the end of the day, they were blessed with madafu to cool off from the scorching hot sun!
We hope and pray that the exercise will go smoothly and be a blessing to all those we will be able to reach out to…
Mother Teresa once said that, ‘We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love’…
These words may seem to be just another piece of those philosophical compositions but not until you hear Signe’s story…
She is a Swedish girl who; together with her parents have visited Watamu’s Turtle Bay Hotel a few times where they got to learn about our work at A Rocha Kenya.
She vowed to start baking cakes for sale all so that she could help more children to go school through the ASSETS project. It has been over one year now and she has stayed strong!!
Her case got me thinking of how much love this young girl has in her heart that she keeps tiring herself to help kids she barely knows to go to school!!
She is definitely not employed neither does she have an income but she uses the little skills she has to help where she can. It inspired me from that day that I do not need millions to make an everlasting change in someone’s life.
After reading her letter, I could not help but write back to her so she knows how amazing her contribution towards the ASSETS project is…
“My name is Signe wiklund I’m 14 years old and I have two brothers Axel 15 and Einar 12 years old. My mom is Kikki and my dad is Daniel. We live in kungsbacka Sweden!
We have visited Kenya, Watamu, twice and the last time my mum and dad helped to clean the beach and met a lady who talked to them about A Rocha. When my parents came back to the hotel after visiting A Rocha center they told me about it and I liked that you help family’s to farm, children to school and the whole environment! So when someone came from A Rocha to our hotel Turtle bay beach club that evening I decided that when I get back home to Sweden I wanted to do something to help! So because I love to bake, that is what I do, I will bake and then sell the cakes at my school cafe and the money I get I give to A Rocha! I love to do something to help and I also love to bake! So that’s great! Thank you A Rocha for helping me to help!
/ Signe Wiklund”
Signe and her family…
Greetings from the warm beaches of Watamu…
My name is Daniel Kheri and I live in Watamu close to Turtle bay hotel where you stayed during your holiday.
A Rocha Kenya helped me pay my secondary school fees through the help of good people like you who raise money and donate to them.
A Rocha Kenya helps children that live close to Arabuko sokoke forest and Mida creek to pay secondary school fees.
This helps their parents to stop destroying the forest and creek to raise money for school fees.
These two places are home to thousands of beautiful birds and young turtles and if people continue destroying them, then the birds and the turtles will not have a place to call home anymore.
More than 500 students have benefitted so far and they are helping A Rocha Kenya to conserve these two habitats. A good number of them have been lucky enough to join University and get good jobs after they graduate so that they won’t have to depend on the forest and creek anymore for their livelihood.
Through the help of A Rocha Kenya I completed my secondary school and am now lucky to be in university; currently am on my school holidays helping A Rocha to raise more money so that other children can also go to school.
I would like to thank you on behalf of all the other students for your kindness and baking cakes to raise money for our school fees.
I can now use a computer and do many other cool things; I have also learnt to care for the environment, all this because I go to school!! There are other really cool kids out there who still need our help so that they can also go to school!
You are a great person and God will bless you for what you are doing!
Pass my regards to your brothers Axel and Einar.
Thank your parents for me too for allowing you to help us”
Coordinating a project as great as ASSETS can get a little scary sometime going by the amount of hope laid on us by thirsty young minds yearning for school apart from nature itself that we view to conserve in the long run!I must however thank the different stakeholders involved since things would be impossible were it not for them. Muvera wa ASSETS categorically, has been pivotal in effecting fruitful conservation initiatives at the local level.
Recently I visited the association members from Malanga and the site of their beautiful casuarinas seedlings; healthily dancing to the rhythm of the wind truly moved me.In this part of the world, this is certainly the driest period of the year and it must have taken them immense efforts to accomplish this. It got me thinking about how transformed their attitude towards the environment is; truly encouraging…! In less time than it takes to tell undoubtedly, we will have a completely ‘green community’ bordering the ‘greenest’ forest in the whole of Eastern Africa.
I leave Malanga and head towards the south-western end of the Arabuko sokoke forest, a village called Nyari. A peculiar site welcomes me though; a very clear path into the forest despite the electric fence!! Maybe or maybe not, someone uses this opening to smuggle timber out of the forest.
Normally, I would be extremely disturbed by such a site, having had to get hold of the Kenya Forest Services guards to report this; but then on second thought…! I stop my relatively old but rather responsive Yamaha DT motorcycle to call the chairman Muvera wa ASSETS Nyari branch, I explain what I had seen and speed off to my office in Gede to attend to other offices matters; am all glad though because undoubtedly my laments are in the right hands.
Wednesday 29th of January 1130hrs near Arabuko sokoke forest and Mida Creek:
What would be the most valuable form of wealth would you wish to leave to your child?
Looking at it in a local perspective, many Kenyan parents would go for higher education.
Most families here fraught below the dollar mark thus physical wealth would automatically be out of the question.
Higher education therefore stands out to be the only opportunity towards a ‘break out’ from the poverty cycle,as one is likely to find decent employment upon graduation.Unavailability of these educational opportunities could be quite frustrating with dreams shuttered and futures uncertain.
Providing school fees through secondary school, the ASSETS project is an inspiration to even greater personal development in addition to the primary goal of instigating community participation in conservation.Congratulations to two ASSETS beneficiaries Lennox Kirao and Grace Neema who despite all the odds are set to graduate from Pwani University later this year.
Kirao pursuing B.S.C Environmental Science has kept close ties with A Rocha Kenya volunteering with our Research & Monitoring programme.
Kirao went to Malindi High School where he received the ASSETS bursary.
Grace Neema who went to St. Johns Girls Secondary School Kaloleni will be graduating with a B.A in English Literature.
Your kind donations towards the ASSETS project have not only given them a prospect to excel in life but also set them as role models in their villages.
All the best to these two young scholars!!
Turtle Bay Hotel has been one of the most consistent supporters of our work as A Rocha Kenya. True to what it is popularly referred to “Kenya’s responsible resort”, the hotel works commendably well in improving standards of living of its neighboring communities.
An annual event referred to as The Turtle Bay Christmas Charity Auction is normally organized by the hotel with the sole aim of raising funds to cater for various needs that face the Watamu community. Responding to our call for funds to sustain the ASSETS project, the 2013 version was dedicated towards our ASSETS fundraising campaign. On the 28th of December 2013, different commodities ranging from tour trips to sports kits were up for grabs as the hotel guests went to battle with the highest bidders carrying the day.
A total of 258 000 ksh was raised by the end of the day all dedicated towards the ASSETS project. Sincere gratitude to the management and Turtle Bay guests for this amazing gift to the ASSETS child.
A big thank you to everyone of you also for your kind donations so far. As we wrap-up our fundraising campaign you can still ‘touch a child’s heart’ by making a donation. See:www.arocha.org/donateassets
Remember to Choose ‘Kenya, ASSETS bursaries’
Eco-tourism has been the main source of funding especially for our community and conservation work. Funds collected from our Eco -facilities have been pivotal in the sustainability of our projects. However breaking down of the Gede Ruins Tree platform was one problem that wrecked our minds in the last quarter of 2013.
Coming down the tree platform
We desperately tried to have it fixed soonest possible so as to beat the December deadline when tourism would be at its peak but that was to be in vain! Repair operations started but on a rather small scale due to the lack of a steady source of funds to sustain that.We closed the year with a prospect of funding from the Watamu Rotary Club but the facility was still closed.
During the first Monday morning meeting of the year, we sat together as a team to share our joys, success and aspirations.We then joined hands in prayer but the most common “phrase” in every one’s prayer was that of the tree platform repairs.
Gede Ruins Tree Platform
Later that same day our staff members Stanley and Daniel set out to meet a couple, adamant supporters of our work, Bill of the Watamu Rotary Club and his wife Cassandra. “Fingers crossed” we waited hoping for the best as they had shown some interest in funding the repair operations.
We could all read the glee in the faces of Stanley and Dan as they drove back into the Mwamba compound (where we are located). Finally The good Lord had answered our prayers and the repair operations had been fully funded by this couple. The tree platform should now be operational by the end of this month.
A big thank you to Bill and Cassandra for standing by us in our time of need. May you find favor in the Lord