Act Today for a Better Tomorrow: Kicheche, Kenya
The Long Run is not a fundraising platform. Still, during this challenging time, with the halt in tourism putting livelihoods and ecosystems at risk, we’re sharing our member fundraising campaigns that are most urgently in need. Here we talk to Kicheche about its Covid-19 Conservancy Guardian Appeal.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Kenya?
There has not been a large number of cases, but lockdown has had a devastating impact on employment and livelihoods. There is no government scheme to support unemployment. Wildlife and people are at risk.
What are the consequences of this for your commitment to community and conservation?
Conservation is funded by tourism almost entirely, and therefore the wildlife habitat is threatened because landowners have lost their revenue stream. Communities rely a lot on tourism revenue, too, for employment, land rental, local purchases, selling handicrafts, and hiring vehicles, which all disappeared overnight. This means wildlife and ecosystems are at risk, which is perpetuated by the fact that there are no guests to act as policing eyes and ears on the ground. With fewer people out in the field, the area is more vulnerable to poaching or bushmeat hunting. The self-sustaining conservation and tourism model is essentially in shut-down mode while lockdown persists.
Kenya’s Community Conservancies are a sustainable model of wildlife conservation and a benchmark for tourism. 25% of our revenue funds the guardianship, protection, and maintenance of 250,000 acres of the finest wildlife habitat in the world, but since the global collapse in tourism, that funding has sharply declined.
Without donations, the ever-lurking menace of poaching, bush-meat hunting and encroachment cannot be kept at bay. Currently, our Conservancies of Mara North, Olare Motorogi, Mara Naboisho and Ol Pejeta are most in need of support.
What are your biggest fears?
Prolonged shut-down could cause irreversible damage to the conservation-tourism model because landowners will go back to different land use and camps will collapse and close.
Can you give us examples of how the money raised to be spent?
Money raised through our Conservancy Guardian Appeal will ensure that we can continue critical conservation work on the ground by providing ranger salaries, fuel, and vehicle maintenance. More information about how the money will be spent and how many acres your donation will protect can be found here.
What guarantee would you give to people concerned about where their donations might go?
Donations will go directly to the conservancy (not Kicheche) where all funds are audited multiple times a year.
Here are a few words from David Nchoe, Guide at Kicheche Mara Camp
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your family and community?
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected my family because we now have a lower income. Life has also changed for the community, which currently receives a 50% conservancy fee. Schools have closed and markets, too.
What are your biggest fears?
My biggest fear is that this has a lasting impact on the world’s economy and therefore on tourism. If the pandemic is prolonged, it will take everyone working in the tourism sector a very long time to recover.
How is Kicheche supporting you during this time?
During this closure period, we are still receiving 50% of our salary, which is a lifeline.
To support Kicheche’s Conservancy Guardian Appeal, please go to https://kicheche.com/conservancy-guardians/
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