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Fashion Revolution Day Events: San Francisco Bay Area

Fashion Revolution Day Events San Francisco Bay Area

On 24 April 2013, 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. That’s when Fashion Revolution was born.

On 24 April every year, Fashion Revolution Day brings people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes. We want fashion to become a force for good.

In San Francisco, California, where Wildlife Works corporate offices are located, we got together with a few ethical fashion leaders to organize and promote these inspiring events. Get involved! If you can’t make these events, take these steps to green up your closet at home!

Follow the West Coast USA Fashion Revolution Facebook page. These events are listed there:

1. Sunday April 23, 11am – 2pm : Revolution by Design: Stanford University
d.school 
416 Escondido Mall, Rm 169, Bldg 550, Stanford, California 94305
Team up to redesign the fashion industry with brands, fashion activist, systems researchers and consumers. Join concerned citizens at Stanford University’s d.school on Sunday, April 23rd [FREE ADMISSION] to understand and discuss the fashion production challenges we face and how we can overcome them together from a human-centered design perspective. More details.

2. Sunday April 23, 1pm – 4pm : True Cost Screening
Throckmorton Theatre: 142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, California 94941
Screening of True Cost (92 minutes) followed by a panel discussion on “how we wear our values,” led by Shamini Dhana, Associate Producer of True Cost movie and Founder/CEO of Dhana Inc.and planel discussion representing brands, consumers and customers. PLUS a special message from Andrew Morgan, Director of True Cost movie. Our creative director Joyce Hu will be one of the panelists.

3. Monday, April 24, 6pm – 7:30pm: Made in Cambodia Screening
1111 8th St, San Francisco, California 94107
California College of Arts, the Levi Strauss Foundation and Remake for the San Francisco premiere of Made in Cambodia, a film short by Asad Faruqi, the cinematographer for Oscar winning documentary short ‘A Girl in the River’ and ‘Saving Face.’ Keynote: Paul Dillinger (Head of Global Product Innovation at Levi Strauss & Company) on the future of ethical fashion. Panel Discussion: Learn how the Remake Journey to Cambodia, recently featured on NBC, has forever changed three graduating fashion students’ lives and affected their view on the fashion industry. More info 

4. Tuesday April 25, 6:30pm – 9:30pm : Re:Fashion Workshop
Handcraft Studio School : 10368 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito 94530
A night of “re-fashioning” fun and cocktails. We are partnering with some of the best artisans in the Bay Area to show you how to save your used or damaged clothing. You will walk away with three techniques in your arsenal: mending, natural dyeing, and embroidery.
Buy tickets here. 
$15 early bird
$20 regular
10 lucky early birds will get a free Wildlife Works Apparel t-shirt to dye at the event!

5. Wednesday April 26, 7pm – 9pm : Fashion Revolution’s Night Out  – Hayes Valley
Similar to NYC’s “Fashion’s Night Out”, this will be an evening filled with shopping, drinks, giveaways and discounts! As a part of Fashion Revolution Week, “Fashion Revolution’s Night Out” will exclusively illuminate ethical and sustainable stores!
Register here. 

6. Wednesday April 26, 6pm – 8pm : Party at Cuyana
Cuyana Showroom: 291 Geary St. 2nd Floor San Francisco
Evening party will feature an exhibition of the women who make our clothes, pre-monogrammed pieces from Cuyana’s archived collections and a curated selection of Soko’s artisan-driven jewelry. RSVP

7. Thursday April 27, 7pm – 9pm : Fashion Revolution’s Night Out  – Uptown Oakland
Similar to NYC’s “Fashion’s Night Out”, this will be an evening filled with shopping, drinks, giveaways and discounts! As a part of Fashion Revolution Week, “Fashion Revolution’s Night Out” will exclusively illuminate ethical and sustainable stores!
Register here. 

8. April 28, 6-8PM : In-House Production Discussion
Les Lunes 3027 Fillmore Street
CEO of Les Lunes, Anna Lecat, a serial entrepreneur and a pioneer of ethical manufacturing in China, hosts an open discussion on how Les Lunes ethically manages the manufacture high-quality products in their China-based workshop. Tickets

9. Saturday April 29, 10am – 11:45am : Ethical Brand Portraits 
Union Square
Silk Roll is hosting Iconic #whomademyclothes Portrait Session (10:00-11:45 AM) at SilkRoll studio in Union Square. RSVP here 

10. Saturday April 24, 11am – 4pm : Indigo & Shibori Dye Workshop
Walnut Creek Community Center
Lead by Jenny Fong, founder of Modern Shibori Tickets here

11. Sunday May 7, 11am – 6pm : Urban Air Market x Fashion Revolution and Demonstration
On May 7th, 2017, Urban Air Market is partnering with Fashion Revolution to give shoppers a way to meet the makers of their favorite local brands, find sustainable alternatives to irresponsible fast fashion apparel, and have their voices heard. Tickets 

*Fashion Revolution Selfie Booth Take a selfie in the Fashion Revolution photo booth and call out your favorite brand with the hashtag #whomademyclothes

*Refashion Workshop Give your old t-shirts new life with a fun re-fashion workshop hosted by The Loome.

*Fashion Drop-Off Cleaning out your closet? Bring your used garments to UAM and SilkRoll will give you points towards second-hand designer apparel.

*Sustainably Made Fashion Want to support transparency in fashion, but don’t know how? Meet brands that are making a difference.

Fashion Revolution

 

5 Steps to Green up Your Closet

5 Steps To A Sustainable Closet

Believe it or not, having a sustainable wardrobe is crucial to our planet’s health, and to yours.

fashion pollutes

According to surveys, most people only wear about 20 percent of the clothing in their closets. Coupled with the fact that the average woman has $500 worth of unworn clothing in their wardrobe and you can see that there is clearly a problem. Fast fashion has trained us to buy throw away fashion that’s worn once and thrown out. The average American tosses 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to 11 million tons of the stuff from our country alone. It’s time to convert to a sustainable wardrobe.

mound

Here’s our 5 step program to green up your closet.

  1. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET

The first step to living a sustainable lifestyle is to have less and consume less. Getting into your spring cleaning and embracing the sustainable fashion movement isn’t as scary as you think. And, there could be some serious mental benefits to cleaning out your closet.

If a clean house is a clean mind, many of us could be struggling to find that peace and clarity we all look for hope to find. In Marie Kondo’s best selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the author details one simple rule for clearing up everything in your life and home – gather everything of one category together (for example, clothes, books, etc.) and for each item, ask yourself this question, “Does it spark joy?”

The simple question and the simple answer that follows (yes or no) will then determine whether or not you should keep it.
main.original.640x0cTo make letting go of things easier, Kondo recommends that you thank the item for serving its purpose in your life, then let it go. That old gift you got from a friend that just didn’t quite suit you? Thank it for bringing a moment of joy into your life, then let it go. That dress that just doesn’t fit you right, but you were hoping one day would? Thank it for showing you what doesn’t work for your body, then let it go.

  1. DONATE, RECYCLE & REWORK

If you have a hard time of letting things go because you feel it is wasteful, worry not! H&M has a recycling program where they will take your old clothes and recycle them into other pieces of clothing. Other brands have similar programs, like Patagonia’s Worn and Wear initiative and others.

Failing that, there’s always a Goodwill or thrift store that’s sure to take your pieces. And if you’re strapped for cash, why not sell on websites like ThredUp and Swap.

rework clothing diy

And, taking this opportunity to flex your DIY skills, if there’s something you really love, say the fabric on a particular dress or shirt, you could always find a way to upcycle it. A shirt into a pillowcase or a dress into a new top, the possibilities are endless. Get inspired on Pinterest.

  1. BUILD A GREEN FOUNDATION

Drew Cook, Co-Founder of PACT, an organic cotton company, once said to me that they chose to work with basics because, “It’s the first thing you put on and the last thing you take off.”

We couldn’t agree more on the importance of building a sustainable closet using organic basics, undergarments, and layers. These basics are meant to be the building blocks for any outfit – casual or elegant, work or play. You’ll also find putting together different outfits and getting dressed for work easier than before as you use key basics that you love to set the foundation for all your looks.

Then, use trend accessories like scarves from Indigo Handloom or Soko that won’t go out of style.

ethical closet foundation

Here’s a starter list:

  • 100% organic cotton underpinnings and layers from Pact
  • 100% organic trend basics from Wildlife Works
  • Basic natural fiber trousers from Everlane
  • Update denim if needed – one slim fit and one boyfriend fit from eco denim lines.
  • Basic, neutral outer layers from Eileen Fisher or Slum Love that go with everything and last through the years
  1. INTEGRATE NEW PIECES INTO YOUR EXISTING WARDROBE

Once you have your foundation and a few key pieces to make your style your own, you can integrate them into your existing wardrobe and get creative on mixing and matching to make new outfits. Get ideas from style and fashion magazines or consult blogs online.

Use Pintrest to explore outfit ideas and save your favorite ones.

  1. FOCUS YOUR FUTURE BUYING

When looking at what to purchase to add to your wardrobe in a sustainable way, take into consideration that some fabrics are just more eco-friendly than others and some brands are more ethical than others. Get some serious tips from Wear No Evil. Here are our recommendations, listed from eco closet starter to eco super star.

  • Avoid Blends: there’s very little technology to recycling blends, so there’s no where for your cotton-poly blend shirt to go once you’re done with it other than the landfill.
  • If you like the feel and utility of synthetic materials, choose pieces made from recycled or repurposed synthetic fabric.
  • Thrift and buy second hand: there are so much previously loved clothing that you can save from filling the landfill.
  • Opt for Natural fibers: these have the least amount of toxins and are biodegradable, so better for Mother Earth, too.
  • Choose Organic, natural fibers: about 16 percent of the world’s insecticide and 7 percent of pesticides are used to grow conventional cotton. It’s not just bad for your and the planet, it’s also harmful to the growers and processors who have to handle this material. Choose organic.
  • Fair trade/fair labor brands: fair to you, fair to the person who made it.
  • 100% transparency on entire supply chain: from cotton boll to your doorstep, there are companies striving to create the best processes for everyone involved. Help support these companies and tell the fashion industry that you want to know who made your clothes.

Some of our favorite brands and shops not mentioned above:
Raven & Lily
People Tree
Amour Vert
Modavanti
Accompany
Kaight NYC

fashion revolution

 

 

Offset Your Carbon Footprint with Wildlife Works

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

Wildlife Works’ offset purchases go directly to protecting our 500,000 acre forest conservation project in Kenya and the thousands of elephants that migrate through the area. Without your carbon credit purchases, the forest would be destroyed and many of the elephants and other endangered wildlife in the area would be poached. Learn about our anti-elephant poaching program.

Before we started our forest carbon project in 2009, the Kasigau Corridor forest was being depleted by 2.5% every year. Almost 250,000 acres of forest would have been destroyed by 2029 without offset customers like yourself. Learn about Wildlife Works’ job-creation conservation strategy with REDD+ offset credits and our impact.

We are committed to saving our world’s trees because deforestation is responsible for 10% – 15% of all global warming emissions. If we can stop deforestation globally, it would result in 30% of the emissions reductions needed to maintain our global temperature increase below 2 degrees C.

offset my carbon footprint with Wildlife Works

HOW DOES CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT ME?

Destroying trees releases gases into our environment which traps the sun’s heat and greatly hampers Earth’s ability to stabilize our climate. The effect of climate disruption comes in the form of unpredictable and extreme weather patterns such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods in all parts of the world, creating resource shortages.

In developed countries, this causes a growing list of increased costs of living expenses including:
– higher food, energy, and water costs
– increased home insurance premiums
– threats to housing which stresses city public works’ services
– increased health risks like allergies

Check out this interactive article on how climate change impacts different parts of the world.

In poorer countries, the effects are catastrophic and unrecoverable. Communities are being displaced, livelihoods are destroyed and more people die of hunger.

how does climate change affect me

WHAT CAN I DO?

Climate change is an overwhelming issue and our dependency on the urban way of life makes it difficult to reduce our energy consumption to a minimum.

Offsetting your carbon footprint to provide the financial support necessary to stop deforestation is the most direct and sizable impact you can make to combat climate change.

For an individual living in the U.S., the cost of offsetting one year’s carbon footprint is just $180. With Wildlife Works offset credits, you can be assured that all the money goes directly to running our conservation project without any middleman brokers.

You can do this one thing and make a direct impact right now. OFFSET YOUR CARBON FOOT PRINT

Next, in addition to reducing your day-to-day energy consumption, you can put your money where your values are. Buy from socially and environmentally responsible businesses and demand more transparency from others. We only have one Mother Earth, let’s keep her thriving for the next generation and those to come!

offset my carbon footprint with Wildlife Works

11 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

With the planet warming at unsustainable rates, it’s imperative now more than ever that we each take responsibility for reducing our carbon footprint. Everything you do, from the clothing you wear to the food you eat, contributes in some way to greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are 11 ways you can reduce your carbon footprint:

1. Eat less red meat and dairy products.

The world’s insatiable demand for red meat makes up about 9 percent of the world’s contribution to climate change, about one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions for the US agriculture industry alone. Through forests destroyed to create grazing grounds for cattle, to food grown specifically to feed cows, to the methane released by these ruminants, to the mismanagement of their waste, beef and milk are two of the highest carbon-footprint foods one can consume. Just switching from beef to chicken reduces your carbon footprint by 75 percent.

2. Reduce how much single-use items you purchase and throw out.

Every year, 58 billion disposable cups are thrown out in the US alone. They also use about 50 billion plastic water bottles in a year. Not only is this creating waste (when not recycled), plastic is made from crude oil and can only be recycled a finite number of times. Use a re-useable shopping bag when you go shopping (not just for groceries, for clothes too!), take a re-useable to-go cup when you order coffee in the morning, bring a to-go container with you when you want to eat out, and reduce the amount of store-bought beverages you consume. If you do buy commercial drinks from the store, opt for aluminum, the most energy-efficient material to recycle, or glass, infinitely recyclable through its lifetime. Get inspired by Beth Terry’s “My Plastic-free Life.” 

3. Purchase sustainable food that’s responsibly grown.

Purchasing locally grown food means that there was less transport, and therefore greenhouse gas emissions, used to get that food to your plate. Getting your locally made products means the same. Especially when you purchase in bulk and from a farmer’s market, where processing, packaging, and storage is left out. Also, when buying mixed source products, like granola, think about where all the raw materials came from. Things like cacao, coffee, and coconuts have to travel a long way to get to you, if you don’t live in the tropics.

4. Avoid fast fashion.

It takes over 200 tons of water to produce 1 ton of fabric and in many countries, the safe management of the toxic byproduct of the fashion industry is unregulated. The joke goes that in China, you can predict the next season’s trends by the color of the river. Cheap clothes mean cheap processes that are harmful to the planet and the people who make your clothes. Rather than purchasing cheap clothing and fast fashion pieces that you’ll soon grow out of, go for meaningful pieces and purchase things that can last your lifetime (or at least until you wear it out). Make an effort to donate your clothes and buy from thrift stores when you want something new to wear. While you’re at it, check out our 5 step program to green up your closet.

5. Unplug and switch off.

Helping to reduce your energy consumption is an important way to reducing your footprint. Do so by switching off and unplugging any electronics that you aren’t using, reducing the amount of heat and air-conditioning you use, and using as much natural light as possible by rising and getting to sleep early. This will also save you money.

6. Plant perennial trees and plants.

Some plants absorb more CO2 than other plants. Find out which plants grow well in your area and help capture the most greenhouse gases. Generally speaking, new saplings absorb more CO2 than older trees (although the latter store more CO2 than the former). Also, be mindful of how your garden by collecting rainwater and grey water from your household to water your yard.

7. Reduce the amount of waste you create.

This includes everything from clothing to single-use plastic bottles to food that’s gone bad. Purchase only what you need, donate second-hand items to charities, and reuse any containers purchased from the store. About 40 percent of food from the US food supply goes to the landfill. Start composting at home and reduce the amount of waste that has to be collected and processed at your house.

8. Opt to dine-in rather than eating out.

Even when compared to a single-person eating at home, dining out is still more impactful to the environment than cooking at home. With 58 percent of Americans dining out at least once a week, this is a hefty increase in greenhouse gas emissions. From energy needed to run a venue to food waste and packaging, the restaurant industry has a lot to answer for its impact on global climate change. Eating at home is not only healthier but also better for the planet and your wallet.

9. Avoid purchasing beauty products with petrolatum.

Petrolatum is a byproduct of the oil industry. It’s derived from crude oil and unfortunately not a sustainable product. Not to mention, it can be contaminated with other chemicals and doesn’t actually hydrate your skin. Unfortunately, you’ll find petrolatum in everything from facial moisturizers to body washes.

10. When you travel, travel slowly.

If you do want to travel, it’s better to take your time and get to your destination in the slowest way possible, using public transportation when possible. Buses, subways, and trains are great options to get to where you’re going. And, once you’re in your destination, stay for a while rather than changing hotels every other day. More on how driving compares to flying here.

11. Offset your carbon footprint.

It’s inevitable that most things you do release greenhouse gases, so offsetting your carbon footprint are one of the surest ways to make sure your livelihood is carbon neutral. Did you know that deforestation causes up to 15% of all global warming emissions? If we can stop deforestation globally, it would result in 30% of the emissions reductions needed to maintain our global temperature increase below 2 degrees C. Buying carbon offsets that come from forest protection is one of the most direct and sizable actions you can take to combat climate change. Depending on your country of residence, this can be as little as $30/year to $180/year. Offset today.

offset your carbon footprint with Wildlife Works

Injured Elephant Gets Treated

On Jan 28, 2017, Keith, our anti-poaching pilot went on a morning aerial patrol flight, after a tip off there was potentially a charcoal camp on northern Taita ranch, Kenya.  At about 7:30am we spotted a lone bull in the thickets below us, it had a very large cyst on its right side, just above its back leg.  

Keith then messaged the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who brought KWS vet Dr. Poghon by road from Voi.

With the gyrocopter keeping visual on the injured elephants location, the ground team attempted to get close enough to the elephant to tranquilize it.

The thick bush made it impossible for the ground team to even get a clear sighting of the bull, so the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust sent a chopper to collect the vet on the ground and get a clear shot with the tranquilizer gun.

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The vet operated on the cyst, concluding it was an arrow that had caused this poor animal all this pain and stress.  The elephant was treated, and put back on his feet with a clean bill of health.  

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This goes to show how important aerial patrols are for elephant protection. A big thank you to all the hard working men and women of Wildlife Works, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service.  

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Baby Elephant Rescue

On November 2, 2016, our ground team received a call from a goat herdsman that a 5-year old elephant was roaming close to her farm alone for hours.

Our Rangers immediately reported to the scene and called @dswt to arrange airlift transport to their Nairobi orphanage in a few hours time. Meanwhile, the rangers kept close eye on the baby girl elephant by keeping down wind and out of site as not to frighten her away.

elephant rescue

When it came time to prepare her for the transport, it took a team of 12 to secure her down as she struggled with fear of her capturers. After treating some minor wounds, we successfully lifted her onto the plane.

Head ranger Eric explained that this baby elephant most likely got lost from her herd as opposed to being orphaned from a dead mother because of where she was found. Her herd probably ran quickly from human clamor to scare them off and the baby was left behind. đŸ˜„ Our air patrol confirmed that no herd was nearby anymore. It was highly unlikely that she would be reunited.

We are happy that we were able save this little girl’s life. đŸ˜â€ïžThank you David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for giving her a second chance!

A Message for 2017 from Our Founder Mike Korchinsky

January 18, 2017 – This week, America will pass the baton of power over to a new administration. I think it is fair to say that regardless of the eventual outcome of Donald Trump’s time in office, the history of remarks that he and some of his closest advisors have made in the past are genuine cause for concern within the international climate community.

However, it is also now clear that the rest of the world will not have their resolve to tackle climate change weakened in any way whether or not the US continues to participate in a leadership role on this critically important issue.

Here at Wildlife Works, we are accustomed to overcoming challenges in the work we do, as most societies have a long history of valuing the destruction of forests for “economic gain”. We are amongst a very small but growing vanguard who are beginning to prove the case for forests being more valuable alive than dead.

As a result we tend to wait until challenges become real before worrying too much about how we will overcome them. I see the election of Donald Trump no differently. We must wait and see what specific challenges his election poses to our work, and then rally our colleagues, partners and supporters to overcome those challenges, just as we have overcome so many challenges before.

His election does nothing to weaken our resolve, nor our belief that our work is of critical importance to the future of forests, wildlife, and rural communities.

Furthermore, I do believe that the truth will prevail. Because of the now increasingly widely understood role of forests in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, our work will continue to be acknowledged to be of great importance to everyone including Donald Trump. So please join me in celebrating the recent progress we have made highlighted in this newsletter, and look forward to many more newsletters to come.

Thank you!

Mike Korchinsky

wildlife works founder mike korchinsky

Fair Trade USA Committee Uniform Donation

Last week, members of the Wildlife Works’ eco factory Fair Trade Committee had the pleasure of making a trip to two local schools within our project area. As part of the eco factory’s Fair Trade USA certification, each of our Fair Trade USA certified clients contribute a ‘premium’. This is around 5-10% of the overall production cost which is paid directly to our factory workers.

fair trade USA fashion Students at Itinyi Primary School holding up their new school uniforms

Our Fair Trade Committee then decides how this money is spent. This time, they allocated a portion of their premium to the community for worthy causes. (Read here stories about how our employees have been using their Fair Trade money for projects such as education for their children and home improvement.) In instances where money is given to the community, education is a top priority.

Itinyi and Marasi primary schools are two local schools that were targeted by the Fair Trade Committee as particularly at risk and in need of assistance. Between the two schools, the committee donated over 100 school uniforms to vulnerable children ages 6-14.

FT USA Fair Trade fashionThe head master and Alfred, the head of the free trade committee, distribute school uniforms at Itinyi Primary School

The Fair Trade Committee visited both schools to hand over the uniforms and meet the children. During their visit, each member of the Fair Trade Committee spoke directly to the students and their parents about how they were able to donate these items.

Through explaining about Wildlife Works, including how the eco factory is responsible for job creation and describing the importance of fair trade production, the committee showed these families the benefits of community organization and mobilization.

By protecting the environment and community through making clothes within a fair trade framework, the committee now has the resources to donate these uniforms where the school would otherwise have gone without.

In instances like these, due to local customs, it is important to assure the families that these uniforms were given strictly as gifts and that nothing was expected in return.

fair trade USA Alfred and the rest of the committee distribute uniforms at Marasi primary school.

Both school visits were tremendously happy occasions. It was wonderful to see the excitement on the students’ faces when they received their new school uniforms. For many of them, it had been a long time since they received a new uniform and nearly every student had some kind of rip or tear in their clothes.

Wildlife Works strives constantly to work within the community to build strong and active families that can become vehicles for change. By bringing together the parents and students when donating these uniforms, the Wildlife Works Fair Trade Committee further promoted the idea that education should be valued and that parents must be a part of the process of enabling each child to reach their full potential.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-37-49-pmStudents at Mirasi primary school try on their new school uniforms.

It is these weekly community events, which often go undocumented and without discussion, that make Wildlife Works a strong social driver here in the Kasigau Corridor. Within a community that has decided to place environmental conservation at the forefront of their lives and careers, we see repercussions that run deep within the community. How wonderful to witness everyone benefiting, even the students at Itinyi and Marasi primary schools. Huge congratulations and thanks to our Fair Trade USA certified customers (such as Threads 4 Thought!) for committing to fair trade and our employees for delivering such a great and necessary donation!

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-38-06-pmParents were present at both schools to witness the donation of the uniforms and share in the excitement with their kids

Empowering young girls through GLOW training

Wildlife Works is committed to supporting community projects as we feel these can be the most important tools to developing self-sufficient and self-governing communities. One of our main focuses is on education, especially for women and girls.

This past weekend, a sexual health and sanitation session for young girls at Kiteghe Primary School within our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project area in southeastern Kenya was funded through Wildlife Works. This program is called GLOW (Girls Leading Our World), and is run by Monica, a local Kenyan lady who volunteers her Saturdays to run this training session in local primary and secondary schools across Taita Taveta County.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-11-56-41-amMonica writes essential goals for girls attending the training

50 girls over the age of 12 attended the event. Each girl was selected to serve as a peer educator to pass along the teachings to two others in the school. The session was held on a Saturday morning and the girls showed up eager to learn. The day started with a review of issues that were important to know, from child pornography and prostitution to female genital mutilation and incest. The girls scribbled feverously in their notebooks as soon as they were given a new concept and asked questions and voiced their concerns.

Oohs and ahhs and quick inhales of breath could be heard throughout as the girls learned terms that were often harsh and scary. A common theme was the concept that girls should avoid relations with boys so as to fully focus on their studies. Currently at Kiteghe Primary School, five girls from the school are pregnant. Once they have their children, it is unlikely these girls will resume normal studies.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-11-56-50-am50 girls above the age of 12 attended the training

After the morning session, two of the seminar leaders, Monica and Happiness, began a discussion of sanitation in which they showed the girls how to properly clean themselves. Amid some giggles and laughter, the instructors demonstrated how to insert a sanitary pad into a pair of underwear. This demonstration was very important in expressing to the girls the normality of a woman’s menstrual cycle, and aimed to reduce the stigma associated with it.

In Africa, the biggest cause of absenteeism from school for girls is due to girls being on their period. Seminars like these are important in educating young women and giving them the tools they need to attend school all month long.

One of the main events of the day was a lesson on how to make your own reusable sanitary pad by sewing together pieces of towel, cut outs from plastic bags and cotton scraps (provided from our eco-factory, thereby reducing waste and becoming something useful!). Using a needle and thread, each girl sewed her own pad, which for many was her first one. The design is one used by Wildlife Works and other organizations that has proven to be successful in serving as a pad that can be cleaned and reused.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-11-56-58-amOne girl completes her handmade, reusable pad

After creating their own sanitary pad, the girls were given a gift of two pairs of underwear that had been donated through Wildlife Works to be distributed at the seminar. It was great to be able to show these young girls how to manage their period through creating their very own sanitary pads using commonly found materials.

This program is one of several here in the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project area that works to enable girls to take charge of their own lives and education. Next year, Monica and the other instructors are hoping to expand the program to boys.

These sessions are largely funded by donations to Wildlife Works. Please get in touch with our Conservation Office Manager, Cara Braund at cara@wildlifeworks.com if you are interested in contributing to a similar girls or boys seminar.

Moses – Head of Data Collection for our rangers

Moses Lorewa is Head of Data Collection as part of the 85 Wildlife Works rangers that patrol our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in southeastern Kenya.

He is the eldest child in a pastoral family of seven children, from central Kenya. Upon finishing school in 2004, Moses worked in construction for a few years to make ends meet but knew this wasn’t his calling. He first came to the Tsavo ecosystem in 2007 to work as a scout for Southern Cross Eco Safaris who ran Gala Rock Camp, an old lodge within the Wildlife Works project area. Although Moses didn’t have any experience of working in the bush, he had grown up surrounded by livestock so he had the mind for working with animals.

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-1-32-39-pmMeet Moses!

Through his job at Gala, Moses gained extensive knowledge of the land and wildlife within the Wildlife Works project area, and even worked alongside some of our rangers, as he used to be part of the anti-poaching patrolling team. A few years later, in 2010, Wildlife Works was expanding our ranger team – Moses jumped at the opportunity.

Today, Moses is Head of Data Collection for the ranger team. Within each of our seven ranger camps across the project area, one ranger is responsible for collecting data every day on the wildlife, the land and any incidents within their designated zone. It is Moses job to collect and collate all the data at the end of every month and pass along the information to the Wildlife Works Biodiversity Team. This data includes information such as elephants, lions or birds seen, poaching snares found, or incidences of deforestation for charcoal production.

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-1-33-08-pmHere is Moses on the job, helping out at a community event

Moses says one of his favorite parts of his job is working together with the community, although this is also one of the most challenging aspects. He says that getting to the level of understanding about the importance of animals and trees and how to benefit from them takes a long time. An essential element of being a Wildlife Works ranger is to create awareness within local communities, but not create animosity. Moses comments that, “it’s challenging to create awareness and also sympathize about why people need to poach or produce charcoal. These people might be my neighbors and could go behind my back.”

It is thanks to the hard work of our rangers like Moses that Wildlife Works is able to protect the forests and wildlife of our project area.

Moses was one of the rangers present on the fateful date that our team was attacked by armed poachers. When we sat down to speak with him about his role at Wildlife Works, Moses recounted his memory of the incident which he had actually just written about in his personal diary.

Nearly five years ago, poachers opened fire on our unarmed conservation rangers who were patrolling Rucking Wildlife Sanctuary killing one and critically injuring another.

Moses recalls, “it was a time when poaching was really high, and Somalis were killing lots of elephants here. My team was out in the bush and we came across two footprints in the dirt, and tracked them from morning till 4 pm. We were really tired so stopped to take a break.”

Moses said things happened very quickly. “We heard gunshots. I found myself on the ground. Are we shot, I thought? I was really confused.” The Wildlife Works ranger team had tracked the poachers so well that they’d come across them very unexpectedly and they’d opened fire.

Luckily, our team had Kenya Wildlife Service rangers with them at the time – they are armed and authorised to shoot in situations like this – who fired at the poachers to scare them away. 

Two of our men were shot that day; Moses was the third man in line, so feels like he was saved. He said this experience, very early on in his time at Wildlife Works, made him emotionally invested in his job here. “Working with armed poachers needs a lot of courage.”

Since this incident, Wildlife Works has reviewed and revised how our rangers track poachers, ensuring that the safety of our men and women is put first. It it due to their heroic commitment that we are able to keep the wildlife safe from the threats of poaching. 

Read more about this incident here. 

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.