Komba SafarisInspiring Kenyan Children to Respect Nature
Keywords: Tree planting, Environmental Education
Website Link : Website.
Komba Safaris is a visionary partnership to inspire respect and responsibility for our environment in the schoolchildren of Kenya – the future stewards of Africa’s wildlife heritage. This unique approach to connect children to nature is the result of a collaboration of experienced organizations that understand the intrinsic value of wildlife conservation messaging. Komba Safaris educates students through outdoor learning by taking them to areas of wildlife importance where they are taught how to conserve and appreciate wildlife. The safaris expose students to common environmental challenges and how they can be addressed.
Komba Safaris is a pilot project spearheaded by Rotarians in California (Rotary E-Club of the West, Rotary Club of Los Altos) and Kenya (Rotary Club of Gachie-Nairobi). It was inspired by the United Nations Environment Programme,(UNEP) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and is being implemented by the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya(WCK). The WCK’s key program has selected 20 primary and secondary school wildlife clubs from the Kibera slum area of Nairobi, the largest urban slum in Africa and recently added Nanyuki, in the Laikipia Conservancy.
UNEP provides a kid’s pack with comics and postcards from its Wild for Life campaign, its world’s largest lesson plans introducing the global goals for sustainable development, an education pack on plastic pollution in Swahili and access to videos on the ‘Wild For Life’ campaign. UNEP will also provide communication about combatting wildlife crime to achieve social and behavior changes.
During one safari, the children helped plant trees at the Giraffe Centre to commemorate the ‘International Forest Day’ on 21st March, 2019, and then learned about forests including the problem that the Mt. Kenya forest was on fire for a long time. Children had the opportunity to touch baby elephants, and learned why these magnificent animals have become so endangered that sometimes they needed to be rescued and cared for away from the wild.
At WCK, the children participated in a question and answer session, winning Komba magazines and books. Rachael Blair, the Rotary E-Club of the West, USA, who has nurtured this innovative partnership with UNEP, sweetened the children’s learning by sharing chocolates. The children also learned about briquette making – as an alternative to using firewood for cooking and charcoal making, a leading cause of deforestation and habitat loss. The children went for a nature walk, watched a documentary about forests and wildlife, and lastly, visited the Animal Orphanage and saw the lions, a highlight of their day.
George Njagi, Manager of AFEW/ WCK Special Projects, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, summed it up, “Komba Safaris are not just safaris but life changing adventures particularly to the young children that are visiting . . .[weekly]. . . The opportunity that we are giving them is something special that they never thought [would] ever happen to them. George praised Rachael Blair’s vision and her many contributions to the program, and thanked members of the RC of Gachie-Nairobi, Jacob and Garry, for their continuing support.
Rift Valley Adventures recently joined as a new partner. One of their Co-Founders, Dipesh Pabari, is also the genius behind the Flip Flopi, a demonstration project of building a sailing boat completely from recycled plastic. Dipesh and his team will be hosting students from one of the Nanyuki area wildlife clubs on a very special Komba Safari to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, home to the last 2 surviving northern white rhinos.
Here’s the link to a moving video about the Komba Safari in action, and hear the reactions of the students in their own words.
For more information and to support the Komba Safaris Project, please contact Rachael Blair, Rotary E-Club of the West, rachael.blair (at) oxfordalumni dot org or Clari Nolet, Rotary Club of Los Altos, cnolet8 (at) gmail dot com.