Building conservation champions through community engagement.

Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservancies Association dedicated its efforts towards creating environmental awareness in the scenic village of Zongwani, nestled within Teri B in Sagalla Ward, Taita Taveta County.

This village lies adjacent to Teri B Community Land and the recently gazetted Mgeno Wildlife Conservancy.

The community sensitization meeting held by TTWCA, in partnership with IFAW, through the “Sustainable Management of Amboseli and Tsavo landscape” a project funded by USAID-Kenya, served as a vital platform to engage with the residents and enlighten them on the various interventions being implemented in their region.

With a focus on key projects aimed at enhancing their livelihoods, TTWCA took the opportunity to address the importance of community partnerships and development. The establishment of community partnerships seeks to empower adjacent communities like the Sagala people as well as promote sustainable conservation of the abundant natural resources in the area.

In light of the recent gazettement of Mgeno Wildlife Conservancy, Mr. Peter Ndong’a, the manager of the conservancy, shared insightful strategies being put in place to ensure that both shareholders and community members benefit from the conservancy’s initiatives.

Mr. Ndong’a highlighted the significance of job opportunities created by the conservancy, along with the incorporation of nature-based enterprises such as pasture production for economic empowerment. These measures play a crucial role in curbing overreliance on illegal activities such as poaching and charcoal burning, providing alternative sources of income that contribute to climate change adaptation.

As a result, the conservancy’s wildlife habitat receives better protection, ensuring a thriving ecosystem.

Among the attendees was Mr. Keke, a member of the Teri B Community Land management committee, who praised TTWCA’s efforts in educating the communities of Taita Taveta County about conservation.

“We highly commend TTWCA together with her partners for prioritizing community engagement and sensitization in their conservation agenda, ” said Mr. Keke.

Miss Janet Kipele also echoed his sentiments, emphasizing how the sensitization sessions have been an eye-opener for many residents.

The meetings have successfully fostered an appreciation for community conservation and demonstrated how collaboration between the community, TTWCA, and conservancies can create a harmonious coexistence the wildlife.

During the forum, the participants had an opportunity to share their needs and priorities with TTWCA. This open dialogue allowed the organization to understand the community’s aspirations better and also envision ways to mobilize resources for implementing such essential projects. Some of the much-needed projects in the area include; the construction of water pans to ensure ample water provision and the introduction of the gala goats which aligns with the area’s unique climatic conditions.

As the day came to a close, a sense of hope and unity filled the air. The community members were determined to embrace sustainable conservation practices and work hand in hand with TTWCA and conservancies to safeguard their natural heritage while improving their livelihoods.

Through these enlightening community sensitization meetings, TTWCA continues to build bridges and empower local communities in the pursuit of harmony between humans and wildlife. It is a journey toward a future where thriving ecosystems coexist with prosperous human societies—a vision that all present in Zongwani Village are eager to bring to life.

Community Sensitization