Shompole Community Trust Wins UNDP Equator Initiative Prize
Representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in collaboration with Ms Elizabeth Lwanga UNDP-Kenya Resident Representative presided over an award ceremony that honored two organizations.This was done on 18th September 2007. United Nations Development Programme UNDP Equator initiative recognized the communities for their efforts in the field of conservation in Kenya. Shompole Community Trust, the winners received USD 30,000 whilst the Kipsaina Crane and Wetlands Conservation Group (KCWCG) the runners up,received a certificate.
Shompole Community Trust
Since 1979, the Shompole Ranch, spanning over 62,000 hectares of Kenya’s grasslands and savannahs, has been dedicated to preserving and restoring the local environment. Re-emerging and thriving wetlands and the establishment of a 10,000 hectare wildlife conservancy have resulted in a three-fold increase in animal populations which have in turn attracted an increasing number of tourists. Shompole community members are employed as ranch operators and game scouts. Revenue from ecotourism has been invested through the Shompole Community Trust in protecting and restoring the environment, as well as in funding healthcare services, education, water supply, and school fees. The Trust, a legally recognized corporation, is owned by the Maasai people and benefits over 12,000 people by addressing issues of socio-economic development on behalf of the community. http://www.shompole.com
Kipsaina Crane and Wetland Conservation Group
The Kipsaina Crane and Wetlands Conservation Group (KCWCG) formed in 1990 as a partnership of local communities to conserve and restore the Saiwa Swamp National Park in Kenya. Through protecting and restoring wetland areas, this initiative has ensured that neighbouring communities have access to a reliable and clean source of water year round. To avoid continued damage to existing wetlands, KCWCG has introduced sustainable practices such as the harvesting of exotic species as opposed to indigenous trees, the distribution of livestock fodder as fertilizer, and the adoption of organic farming techniques. As a result of the conservation group’s efforts, community members are now engaged in new types of business such as beekeeping, eco-tourism, and agro-forestry. These efforts have resulted in a fivefold increase in the grey crowned crane population as well as increased income from honey, fish, and produce sales.