In ARK, we believe that every community has a responsibility to their environment. It is in this spirit that we build the capacity of communities and facilitate them to initiate activities that sustainably utilize their environment.
Beyond the white sands and coral reefs of the Malindi-Watamu coastline lie Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (ASF) and Mida Creek. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the largest remnant of a dry coastal forest which originally stretched from Somalia down to Mozambique. It therefore contains an unusually high number of rare and endemic species, including one Globally Endangered and five Globally Threatened bird species. Mida Creek harbours important mangrove forests with a high diversity of species. It is of international importance for some of the water bird species it supports, is a key spawning ground for several fish species and a feeding ground for young turtles. This makes it one of the most important regions for conservation in mainland Africa, and Mida together with Arabuko-Sokoke Forest have therefore been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
However, the future of these coastal habitats hangs in the balance. Every day a number of direct threats face the forest and creek, in particular illegal logging, poaching, over-fishing and pressures for land-clearance.
The Malindi-Watamu coastline is one of Kenya’s main tourist attractions, generating money and income from arguably the world’s largest industry. However, local people have benefited very little from international interest in the area.
For this reason, A Rocha Kenya established the Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Ecotourism Scheme (ASSETS) in 2001 with funding from the United Nations Development Programme Global Environmental Facility and in conjuction with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Forest Service and the Ministry of Education, Malindi & Kilifi Districts.
The project provides eco-scholarships for secondary school children living adjacent to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek. The project also helps to protect the environment as all beneficiaries take part in conservation activities including tree planting, snare removal from the forest and environmental education.
Funds are generated for the eco-bursaries through the local tourist industry (hotels and travel agents), national and international donors (including tourists) and the eco-tourism facilities developed by A Rocha Kenya and its partners at Mida & Gede Ruins.
Read more about the impact of ASSETS and our plans for the years ahead.
Community Forest Associations have sprung into advocacy action after a series of trainings with A Rocha Kenya and working as well as walking (literally and figuratively).
Having completed their trainings by mid-June 2014, the three CFAs- Gede, Jilore and Sokoke, which cover Arabuko Sokoke Forest were challenged to raise their voices for the forest and speak against the illegal activities taking part in the forest by engaging in various advocacy initiatives geared towards relieving the immense pressure the forest is facing especially from illegal loggers.
A Rocha Kenya started a Farming God’s Way (FGW) programme in 2014. FGW is a form of conservation agriculture that is based on biblical teachings, proper management and appropriate technologies. Many farmers are experiencing deteriorating yields as a result of poor farming practices and above all, a lack of Godly attachment and involvement in their work. FGW seeks to bring the farmer closer to God, understanding and acknowledging Him to be the first farmer, as well as respecting and implementing God’s main commission to man; taking care of His beautiful land and creation. Christians are urged to heed the call of the Lord, to humble themselves and seek His face so that He can heal their land.
Farming God’s Way in Dakatcha.
FGW was introduced in five communities within the Dakatcha woodland where habitat destruction is at the highest levels in 2014. The aim was to improve farmers’ livelihoods by increasing yields, income and turning them away from destructive practices such as slash and burn farming, poaching and the serious threat in charcoal burning.
A Rocha Kenya conducts FGW trainings at its Karen (karara) office in Nairobi and Gede office at the coast. The trainings which run for two days are usually advertised in our social media platforms.