Wildlife Works in collaboration with Amara Conservation, an NGO promoting sustainable livelihoods through education, organized an environmental film festival for the communities surrounding our project area in Rukinga.
WW Community Relation Officer Joseph Mwakima organized the program along with local teachers, the chairman of Location Carbon Committee (LCC) and the leaders of 5 villages in Kenya (Marungu, Mwatate, Mwachabo, Mwatate and Sagalla). The three-week-long program visited 13 different primary and secondary schools and traveled to 9 different communities.
Using the Amara Mobile Film Unit, the team was able to show three different conservation films from the African Environmental Film Foundation (AEFF). The first film, “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” showcases the current threats posed to both humans and animals by the illegal international ivory trade. “Wanted” also illustrates the financial benefits that rural communities can gain from sustainable, wildlife-based tourism.
The second film, “Black Rhino on the Brink,” travels back thirty years to cover early attempts to save the Black Rhino from extinction. It contains footage from Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The film illustrates how people in different countries have worked together to save this seriously endangered animal. Although the number of Black Rhinos has plummeted to a fraction of their original numbers, they are slowly climbing back up due to the efforts of many people, some of whom have given their lives to protect these animals.
The final film “Mizoga,” (which means carcasses in Swahili) was written by the Born Free Foundation and produced in 2004 in Kasigau by students from Kenyatta University of Nairobi, Kasigau community members and Wildlife Works rangers, including our Head Ranger Erick Sagwe. The film has not yet been added to the AEFF’s list of conservation films, but was chosen for this festival due to its emphasis on protecting the environment and its use of the Swahili national language, which many residents understand better than English.
7,565 people attended the festival, making it a huge success! The goal of this program was to sensitize the community towards REDD+ projects and large wildlife species, as well as to open discussions and highlight the important role of wildlife in the ecosystem.
After watching the films, many residents and teachers talked about starting environmental clubs within their community. We are thrilled with the success of this endeavor, and plan to schedule more events for the future!