|IntroductionDid you know that 85% of the tourism guides in the Masai Mara are not from the area? Only a handful of the local people benefit from the multi-billion shilling tourism business due to a lack of the required skills.The Koiyaki/Lemek project is an initiative to place guiding in the Mara in the hands of the local people – after all, it is there own ‘back yard.’ The school and wilderness camp is owned by the Koiyaki /Lemek community (Koiyaki Group Ranch is situated north of the Mara reserve).
Gametrackers are helping sponsor a local Masai student through the guiding school as we also believe that education of the local people is the key to Wildlife Conservation in Kenya.
Why Conservation in Mara?
The Masai Mara is an instant attraction to hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, particularly due to the Wildebeest Migration between July and August. This area has one of the highest densities of carnivore in Africa, as well as supporting a range of endangered species. This same attraction brings with it human and wildlife conflict, because lions and other predators attack livestock and the Masai kill or injure the carnivores in retribution.
Like everywhere else in Kenya, the population growth has increased the demand for cultivated land. The endangered African elephant poses a risk to local communities as they raid their fields, destroying livelihoods and threatening lives. This reduces local people’s tolerance resulting in the killing or injuring of elephants.
The threats to Mara are diverse and complex, and so are the solutions. As long as Mara remains a valuable source of income for the country, and community participation and benefit is ensured, we are sure to find sustainable solutions for the whole ecosystem.
Goals of Koiyaki guiding school and camp:
What do they learn?
In three terms of full time residence training of 8 weeks each, the students will cover the following diverse and interesting modules:
Students will learn to portray their culture in an interesting and educational way. This will include the role of a professional safari guide. They will also be taught to understand the cultures of their clients and to be able to cater for their different needs.
This will consist of studies of wildlife behaviour, including aspects such as names of species, habitat requirements, feeding habits, social structures etc.
This consists of communication and entertainment skills, perhaps one of the most important skills required for the professional guide i.e. the art of timing in the release of information, presentation and debating skills. Photography.
Statistics, ecological interpretation of the environment, habitat types, human/animal conflict and conflict management, zoning, land utilisation etc.
Ethno-botany, herbalism, ornithology, tracking skills, weather and seasonal cycles, wildlife and their habitats, migration, plant/animal interactions, astronomy, geology and history.
Camp management, intermediate eco-technology, eco-building skills, waste and water management, cuisine and presentation, sanitation, eco-tourism, communication equipment, basic vehicle mechanics, generators and solar equipment, alternative sources of energy.
First aid and fire control, evacuation, fire breaks and controlled burning. Psychological counselling after an accident. Evacuation procedure.
Students will be placed either in the company that sponsors them, or other safari companies. Each student will spend time working in every sector of tourism employment (i.e. not just guiding), as part of their training. After finalization students will undergo a 5 day basic computer course at Rekero Conservation as an Moneygram fees external course. (In residence at Rekero).