It’s a scorching hot day in Mwatate, in Wildlife Works’ project area, and the region continues to suffer from the current drought. A group of youth and women known as Malezi Bora sit quietly and attentively on the benches in the open air for a discussion about environment conservation.
It is just another working day for Protus Tetweni Mghendi, an Assistant Community Relations Officer at Wildlife Works. The 35-year-old husband and father of one is very passionate about the environment.
Mwatate area is similar to many other rural places in Kenya where residents are dependent on charcoal production, bush meat poaching and unsustainable agricultural methods to meet their survival. Deforestation is also a global problem threatening the existence of wildlife and their ecosystems around the world. But thanks to a weekly Climate Change Discussion Group, Protus has the opportunity to educate this community against the dangers of deforestation and bush meat poaching. The program targets youth groups, school children and women’s groups throughout the project area, creating dialogue and encouraging dynamic thinking about environmental conservation.
“My job involves creating awareness in the schools and the community about climate change and general conservation, and creating feedback between the community and Wildlife Works,” he explains.
Here, Protus explains to the youth and women the importance of conserving the environment. He makes it clear to them that global warming is real and affects everyone. Through an interactive discussion, the group learns about the disadvantages of slash and burn agriculture, and the alternatives available.
Before joining Wildlife Works in 2014, Protus was working with Catholic Relief Services until his contract expired leaving him without a job. It was then that he saw a position advertised at Wildlife Works online for an Assistant Community Relations Officer, applied for it and the rest is history!
Protus grew up in a humble home in Mghange village in Wudanyi location, which has a population of approximately 3,000 people.
“I was brought up by my late grandmother who taught us to be respectful, humble, hardworking and trustful,” Protus narrates. He then attended St. James Primary School in Mghange and proceeded to Kenyatta High School Mwatate. Protus has a Diploma in Community Development and Counseling from Mombasa Polytechnic and later upgraded to a Bachelors degree in Development Studies at Mount Kenya University.
According to Protus, his biggest accomplishment during his time at Wildlife Works has been to enable the community to understand the REDD+ concept. “I have also developed a great passion for environmental conservation,” he says.
The essence of Wildlife Works’ REDD+ conservation energy is to create jobs. Protus Mghendi is living proof that environment conservation and job creation goes hand in hand at Wildlife Works.