Monthly Archives: November 2013

Kileva uses carbon credits to construct new classroom

Kileva Eastfield Primary School is thrilled to announce the construction of its new classroom, thanks to proceeds from their conservation efforts.  The stone and iron structure is able to accommodate 40 students, and was built using funds from the sale of carbon credits in the Kasigau REDD+ Project.

The new construction is especially welcomed by school-going children, who previously walked up to 6 km to access neighboring primary schools.  This long trek was through wildlife-dense landscape and made even more treacherous by the early morning hours in which the children were traveling.  Apart from being dangerous for pupils, the frequent journey between villages was a source of constant conflict between humans and wildlife.

The foundation of the Kileva primary school at Sagalla

The foundation of the Kileva primary school at Sagalla

According to Johnstone Mwamondo, a manager at the Sagalla Conservation and Development Forum, the construction of the classroom is a major step towards the completion of the school as a whole, which currently admits students up to Standard Six (equivalent to 6th grade in the US).

“We, the people of Kileva, are proud of the achievement.  It is through hard work conserving forests that the new classroom has been constructed.  We trust that through continued conservation of our forested areas, we will be able to implement even more projects like this,” says Mr. Mwamondo.

More progress on the Kileva school

More progress on the Kileva school

The Kileva community borders Sagalla and Mgeno Ranches, which the community works to protect from deforestation and degradation under the REDD+ Project.  This is a bold, but vital, step for a community that has been extremely reliant on the surrounding land for its livelihood.  Upon the realization that their activities on the land were both illegal and unsustainable, the community agreed to join Wildlife Works and help with their conservation efforts.

After two years of being part of the REDD+ Project, the community knows first hand the benefits of conservation.  Apart from the Kileva Eastfield Primary School, there have been several other projects launched and completed in the greater Sagalla area, such as the construction of classrooms in several other schools including Kajire Secondary School, Mwambiti Primary School, and Mchange Pre-school.

The finished school in Kileva

The finished school in Kileva

Furthermore, after receiving payments from the selling of carbon credits, a community based organization and locational carbon committee agreed to set aside more than $11,000 for the construction of classrooms at the aforementioned schools.  They were also able to disburse scholarships to the most vulnerable children in the community through Wildlife Works Carbon Trust Fund.  So far, more than 610 students have received scholarships covering part of school tuition and 9 have received full scholarships.  In total, the community has spent $53,658 on scholarships and sponsorship.

Kileva primary school

Kileva primary school

There is no doubt that Kileva has a bright future, thanks to their decision to to enrich the land around them.  Their children have a better chance at education, and their community is more sustainable.  We hope our legacy can continue in more African communities so there can be more emphasis on conservation and making Kenya a better place for future generations.

Welcoming Mai Ndombe in the DRC to the Wildlife Works REDD+ Portfolio

As the largest Sub-Saharan country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has a vast array of environments, peoples, wildlife, and politics. The province of Bandundu, located on the west of the country, is the most densely forested province and is highly coveted by the lumber industry.  It is currently home to many animal species such as man’s closest relative (and cousin to the Chimpanzee), the endangered Bonobo.

Photo by realanimalslife.com

A Bonobo. Photo by realanimalslife.com

The region is also home to many other animals such as forest elephants and leopards, as well as an abundance of diverse and rare native plant species.  These animals and forests, not to mention the local peoples, are under threat due to the increasing demand for high valued timber from the lumber industry, and their unsustainable forest practices.

Photo by end-newswire.com

Wenge Tree. Photo by end-newswire.com

Logging companies desire this area largely due to its high density of Wenge trees – a highly valuable and beautiful tree – where in the Mai Ndombe region it is the most abundant in all of central Africa. Following logging, a cascade of events ultimately leading to deforestation, threatens this region as it has affected so many others in DR Congo. Compounded by intensive and unsustainable hunting, agriculture, and other pressures on the land, the area is in need of protection.

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Kids playing in the water at Bosongo Village in the project area

Thankfully for both the environment and the people of the area, Wildlife Works has acquired the “exploitation rights” (including the rights to the carbon), of two large logging concessions in the province adjacent to Lac Mai Ndombe. Instead of being logged, Wildlife Works has created a “conservation covenant” on the concessions totaling nearly 300,000ha of forest land. This is a little larger than the size of Luxembourg.

The area is now protected for the duration of the 30-year carbon project. Historically this area has been a habitat for an array of forest types, plant species, animals and habitats. It is also home to over 30,000 Congolese who work hard to survive their version of the difficult African lifestyle.

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One of the two schools the project has built located in the village of Lokanga.The chief of the village stands at the center of the photo.

In December of 2012 the project was awarded the first ever CCBA and VCS accreditation in DR Congo. Wildlife Works began selling offsets which will fund the further development of many activities for forest protection and betterment of livelihoods in the project and surrounding areas.  The project has already accomplished many things in a short time including the construction of two schools, the implementation of a mobile medical clinic, distributed school supplies, and established several agroforestry sites and demonstration gardens to help diversify and improve nutrition in the area.

A young lucena for agroforestry plots

A young lucena for agroforestry plots

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting new Wildlife Works Carbon initiative.

Getting to know Daniel Munyao: Wildlife Works EPZ Factory Manager

In our latest who’s who profile series, we caught up with Daniel Munyao, production and quality control manager at the Wildlife Works EPZ factory as part of our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. Daniel was born in Machakos County and recalls his early life as a constant struggle for survival. He frequently went to school hungry and without shoes on his feet. At a young age, Daniel was forced to stop attending due to the high financial stress it put on his parents.

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Daniel is a proud supervisor at Wildlife Work’s eco factory

Fortunately soon after, a humanitarian organization called World Vision that had begun to form a presence in the area, was sponsoring young people to study vocational courses in a local polytechnic attached to the village’s school. Although he had no distinct career path in mind, Daniel decided to enroll in the program to study textile tailoring. Daniel remembers, “When I was in Primary School, I had a friend whose brother was a tailor, and we would spend most of the weekend at his tailoring shop. This made me fall in love with tailoring.”

Daniel at EPZ factory checkin some finished t-shirts

Daniel discussing finished tees with his workers

Once he was through with his training, Daniel set out for Nairobi in search of employment. He started as a tailor in a local clothing factory, as well as working as a shoe mender. Eventually Daniel joined Tinga Tinga Clothing Limited where he rose in the ranks to become a senior supervisor after 10 years.

In September 2002, while reading the newspaper, Daniel came across an advertisement to become a manager at Wildlife Works EPZ clothing factory, which at the time employed less than 10 seamstresses. Due to his passion for wildlife conservation, Daniel decided to apply for the position. Eleven years later, Daniel is still an integral factor in the day-to-day running of the factory.

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Daniel aspires to be a fashion designer one day

When asked about his future plans, Daniel has one thing to say: “I would one day love to see the words, ‘Designed by Daniel Munyao’ on a major clothing label, I would love to learn fashion design!” It is evident by the success Daniel has gained relative to his humble background that he is capable of anything he puts his mind to. Daniel attributes his career growth to patience and the ability to face challenges head-on, as well as to his friend’s brother, and mentor, with whom Daniel constantly measured his progress and growth.

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About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

Kenyans tell poachers to keep their “Hands off Our Elephants”

On the 24th of August, after enjoying a period of relative peace, armed poachers struck Rukinga Ranch part of our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, slaying a male elephant for its valuable tusks. Within days, our rangers made another gruesome discovery at Amaka Ranch: two more elephants amid rifle cartridges.  A short time later, when two additional elephants were killed for their tusks at Washumbu Ranch, the entire camp was left shaken.

Wildlife Works Rangers hold an elephant tusk left behind

Wildlife Works Rangers hold an elephant tusk left behind

Conservationists and Kenyans alike are infuriated by the ruthless massacre of endangered wildlife, such as the estimated 2,500 elephants that call the Kasigau corridor home. Recently, Kenyans participated in a sensitization campaign on twitter and other media outlets urging poachers to keep their “hands off our elephants.” The campaign is the initiative of WildlifeDirect, a charitable organization founded by Dr. Richard Leakey. A politician, paleoanthropologist, and conservationist from Nairobi, Dr. Leakey is the son of prominent archeologists and has spent his whole life crusading for wildlife in Kenya.

Kenyans have shown an immense support for the “Hands Off Our Elephants” campaign, specifically on social media sites, where comments are largely aimed at those governments in Asia where the sale of game trophies is especially thriving. High profile corporate and government officials, including Kenya’s first lady Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta and the executive officer at Kenya Airways, Titus Naikuni, have also shown their support for the campaign.

Rifle Cartridges found with the elephant carcass

Rifle Cartridges found with the elephant carcass

An active online petition seeks to have President Uhuru Kenyatta amend the Kenyan law to include stiffer penalties for those found committing crimes against wildlife. Until recently, very few of those caught in poaching-related cases were actually imprisoned and fines that were imposed remained at a minimum.

However, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has threatened to impose sanctions on Kenya and other countries in the ‘Gang of Eight’ for failure to adequately protect endangered wildlife. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were identified as the source countries for illegal ivory in a one-week conference held in Bangkok in March. The Philippines and Malaysia were named as transit countries for illegal ivory, with China and Thailand specified as main destination countries for these shipments.

An injured elephant

An injured elephant

If the CITES sanction comes into effect, the three East African countries stand to lose the most as they could be banned from all economic activities related to the trade of wildlife products from the CITES 135,000 list of endangered species.

This is one of many reasons it’s important that poachers, and the countries that house them, are held accountable for their crimes against wildlife before intelligent and majestic animals, such as the elephant, are completely wiped out of the Kasigau Corridor.

Every one of us can do something to ensure that the killing stops and the demand for ivory ends. It all begins with you and I. Pledge to never purchase ornaments made from ivory. In addition to the previously mentioned petition to the Kenyan president, say no to ivory by signing the petition at iworry.org. Sign the petition to stop the demand for ivory at change.org. Raise awareness on the plight of the African elephant. Support wildlife groups who work to protect animals and curb poaching. Help us spread our message.

 

WHAT IS WILDLIFE WORKS?

Protecting + Forests + Wildlife + Community since 1997.

Wildlife Works is the world's leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world's forests.