STORIES FROM THE RANGELANDS
SEPTEMBER 2020 ISSUE
Dear ATCNews Readers,
This quarter has been one of creating a new normal for NRT’s operations and support to member community conservancies. For the first time in our history, we held our August board and council of elders meetings completely online, and continue to conduct training courses and meetings in community conservancies with reduced numbers and heightened sanitisation procedures where there is no online alternative.
I hope you enjoy this edition of the NRT Quarterly, which covers NRT Trading’s successes in BeadWORKS, livestock and even tourism despite the challenges of a global pandemic, as well as our expanded radio education programme, livestock recovery collaborations, and some positive oryx news from Nakuprat-Gotu.
Thank you for your continued interest in, and support of, NRT, stay safe.
Chief Executive Officer, Northern Rangelands Trust
Launching #10Guardians! Meet Wildlife Veterinarian Stephen Chege
“Twenty years working as a veterinarian, but my heart still breaks when I see wildlife die right on my hands,” — Stephen Chege, Wildlife Veterinarian.
We brought you 10Women, then 10Morans, now we bring you 10Guardians! 10 stories from 10 wildlife guardians across the NRT member conservancy landscape – from wildlife vets to conservancy rangers, elephant caretakers to turtle patrollers. First in the series is north Kenya’s wildlife vet, Steven Chege. Working across the NRT member conservancies thanks to support from San Diego Zoo Global, Chege has had an extraordinary patient list; from elephants with gunshot wounds and lions with infections, and once a black rhino who needed life-saving eye surgery.
Spotlight on Sera for World Rhino Day
“We sang, danced and the elders prayed and blessed the rhinos”
On World Rhino Day – September 22nd – we looked at how Sera started as a means to bring peace to an area plagued by conflict, and turned in to the first community-owned black rhino sanctuary in East Africa.
Aerial Count: Increase in Nakuprat-Gotu Oryx
The results of an aerial count conducted in Nakuprat Gotu in July 2020 revealed a 10% per annum increase in the population of Beisa oryx in the area. An estimated 880 individuals were counted, compared to 709 individuals in 2018. However, livestock numbers had also increased five fold since 2018, necessitating the need for the Conservancy to address potential resource-competition threats.
Peace & Security
Samburu, Maasai Elders Help Recover 47 Stolen Cows
Peaceful dialogue between Samburu and Maasai elders coupled with joint efforts by the police and rangers from Naibung’a Community Conservancy have ensured the safe return of 47 head of stolen livestock from Tiamamut village in Laikipia. //Read more.
Representing Kenya; Losas Lenamunyi Nominated as Field Ranger Finalist in the 2020 Rhino Conservation Awards
Losas Lenamunyi was once caught up in cycles of livestock theft and inter-community conflict. Today, he the Commander of a rapid response ranger team, and was nominated as a Field Ranger Finalist in the 2020 Rhino Conservation Awards. Read Losas’ incredible story here.
Wildlife Ranger Challenge
In September, the NRT 9-6 rapid response team joined rangers across Africa to train for the Wildlife Ranger Challenge, a 21 km race with one goal: to raise money to support thousands of rangers and protect iconic wildlife. //Find out more, and how to get involved.
News from NRT Trading
A Livestock Lifeline
Income loss, market closures, lower consumer spending — just some of the impacts of COVID-19 on pastoralist communities. That is why many NRT member conservancies requested the services of the NRT Trading Livestock-to-Market business (LTM) during the first six months of this year. Click here to read how LTM has supported around 3,500 people in conservancies through COVID by purchasing 1,764 head of cattle, generating KSh. 4,608,800 ($ 43,479) in conservation contributions.
BeadWORKS in Sydney
NRT Trading’s BeadWORKS is now part of the Taronga Zoo Sydney’s African Savannah precinct, officially opened by Australia’s Minister for Environment Matt Kean earlier this year. Central to the precinct is the stories of BeadWORKS women from some of the nine NRT member conservancies connected to the programme. Guests will be able to support community conservation by purchasing the handcrafted BeadWORKS products, which continue to diversify family income in northern Kenya.
Good Feeding for Better Market Prices
To achieve better market prices for herders and pastoral communities in northern Kenya, Northern Rangelands Trust-Trading (NRT-T) conducted a pilot project on better feeding practices in partnership with Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy. //Read more.
Koija Starbeds Opens in Naibunga
Naibunga Lower Community Conservancy has opened Koija Starbeds. Located on the edge of the Ewaso Nyiro river in Laikipia, each room is set up on a high platform with a bed designed to roll out onto the verandah, so guests can sleep under the stars. Revenue from Koija will support Naibunga Lower Conservancy’s community development programmes. Contact The Big North for more information.
Photo by Natural High Safaris: View from one of the ‘star beds’ at Koija.
Melako Bandas Open for Business
Melako Conservancy have launched their self-catering bandas, set in the shade of doum palms and acacia trees on a stunning sand river. A great getaway for family and friends – the bandas have an open area living room, fully furnished kitchen and two ensuite bedrooms with three beds in each. Revenue from the bandas will support Melako’s community programmes. Contact The Big North to find out more.
Melako Bandas provides the perfect setting for a family getaway.
Tidal Change for Women Fishers
Women fishers from Pate Marine Community Conservancy in Lamu received two fishing boats in August, as part of a programme to improve women’s access to fishing. The handover occurred alongside the opening of two temporary octopus fishing closures. Pate is the first community in Kenya to implement such closures, which are resulting in larger catches for fishers, better market prices, and the conservation of critical marine habitat. //Read more.
Education through Radio Project extends to Marsabit.
The ‘Education through Radio’ project was launched in Isiolo earlier this year, in response to the closing of schools caused by the pandemic. It is a partnership between NRT, the Ministry of Education, Isiolo County Government and the Parents and Teachers Association, and brought lessons to thousands of students through the airwaves. In August, the project was extended to Marsabit, in collaboration with Radio Jangwani, to bring lessons to more students six days a week.
- NRT Half Year Report 2020. Click to download.
- Transformational Leadership & Management Training. Training of trainers to scale up NRT’s transformational Leadership and Management Programme and support conservancies on their journey to self-reliance. //Read more.
- Nine Samburu County Community Conservancies Sign MOU With County Government and NRT. NRT, Samburu County Government, and all the nine community conservancies in the county (Westgate, Sera, Kalama, Nkoteiya, Meibae, Ngilai, Naluwon, and Kalepo) have today signed a five-year tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide a formal framework for structured, effective and efficient collaboration and drive forward collaborations in the development and strengthening of technical cooperation in community-led conservation in the county. //Read more.
With thanks, as always, to our donors, working partners, and supportive County Governments.