Proposal for Kamungi Community Conservancy - The Vamping of the Ngiluni Dispensary
Nestling on the border of Tsavo East National Park (TENP) near Mtito Andei in southern Kenya are the remote villages of Ngiluni and Kamunyu - merged to form Kamungi for ease of reference. Kamungi is home to approximately 2000 people of the WaKamba tribe. Due to the remoteness of the area, the severe heat and lack of water, this marginalised community is failing to thrive.
The Tsavo Trust (TT) based within the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) is a field based, Kenyan not-for-profit conservation organization based within the Kamungi community, working towards improving the welfare of the local community, protecting wildlife and its habitat as well as promoting community engagement in conservation challenges in southern Kenya
The Trust was founded in 2012 by professionals from the conservation, wildlife management and legal fields, who have experience in the Tsavo region and an understanding of its ecological and socio-economic importance to Kenya. We are committed to working in partnership with governmental, nongovernmental, community and private stakeholders to attain a shared vision for a healthy, sustainable and increasingly prosperous Tsavo Conservation Area.
Living with meager resources, under very challenging circumstances and environment, the Kamungi community must travel many miles to receive primary health care due to the current governmental dispensary for the area being unfit for practice. Tsavo Trust aims to reduce the burden of diseases and health challenges confronting this community, while also strengthening their capacities to advocate for their rights, and to keep their women, children and young people healthy.
The Tsavo Trust plans to, reduce poverty through employment, education, healthcare, water projects, agricultural best practice and implement a volunteer program.
TT has identified the key needs of the Kamungi community which include:
- The provision of clean water
- Improved healthcare
- Provision of improved education
- Improved sanitation
- Reduction of human wildlife conflict
- Implementation of agricultural best practice
- Wealth creation
A leading cause for the failure of this community to thrive, is due to a lack of adequate healthcare. The TT’s Community Conservancy Program (CCP) has engaged with the Kamungi community with the long-term goal of establishing a self-governing community-led wildlife conservancy whereby the TT acts as a catalyst and steward for its development.
There are many issues that need to be addressed, however without a a primary healthcare facility, none of them can take full effect and reach full potential. Tsavo Trust is now taking an exclusive focus towards dramatically improving healthcare.
The Community and Conservation
The land tenure in this area is under the Ngiluni Settlement Scheme of 1974, which encompasses individually owned parcels of land ranging from 50 to 300 acres each.
Over the years, this community has struggled to make a living through farming their land due to the semi-arid climate that does not favor small-scale agriculture. This poor farming environment has lead to many cases of malnutrition. A lack of water in the area compounds both the issues of lack of sustainable agriculture and livestock farming, it also has an impact on sanitation. Poor sanitation and malnutrition all lead to healthcare needs, which cannot be adequately provided. Annual rainfall can be as low as 250mm. Proximity of the community to the TENP has led to Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) on a regular basis.
Because this community is socially marginalized and struggling economically, illegal extraction of natural resources (wildlife poaching, hard wood extraction and charcoaling) from inside the TENP by community members is commonplace. Historically, the WaKamba were expert bow and arrow hunters (often using lethal poison on their arrow tips). Due to the region’s poor economy, this tradition continues today, having a negative impact on Tsavo’s elephant population but also the community themselves due to arrests being made, leading to large fines causing family rifts and isolation – whole families are effected.
The conservancy will facilitate the creation of alternative livelihoods that improve and diversify income streams for the community and reduce the current pressure of illegal natural resource extraction within the National Park. Improved healthcare will be a key catalyst for change. It is worth noting that this region also serves as an entry point for illegal livestock incursions into the park and for “bushmeat” poachers who snare an indiscriminate variety and unsustainable number of wild animals. People also enter the park from here to fell hard wood trees for timber and for charcoal burning and woodcarvings.
The Kamungi Community Conservancy is owned and managed by the community themselves through an elected Board of Trustees, which again instills ownership and with this commitment.
The Tsavo Trust provides guidance, fund raising potential, governance and commitment to make the Kamungi Conservancy beneficial for wildlife and the people that live there.
Our ultimate goal is to incorporate the services of a clinic, pharmacy, laboratory and health education center into one facility in the village of Ingiluni, which will cater for both Ingiluni and Kamunyu villages combined (around 2000 people). The logistics of establishing a functional health clinic that is equipped and capable of handling the diagnosis and treatment of the most common illnesses affecting the people (i.e. illnesses caused by malnutrition, (i.e. malaria, typhoid fever, bacterial infections) indicate that it will take several months to accomplish our goals. Therefore, we are making this into a 2-step project.
Before we can do anything we need to revamp the current Ingiluni Dispensary, which currently consists of a dilapidated building with a leaking asbestos roof, broken windows, no electricity and no water supply (aside from the dated water tank linked to the roof in order to catch rainwater – which not only holds inefficient amounts of water due to regular droughts but also holds water collected off an asbestos roof, which is not suitable for use).
Despite these major downfalls, after the right preparations are made to the building, we envisage this to be an excellent Health and Education Center for the Kamungi Community.
This proposal is for Step 1 and will include the following activities:
- Mobilising the community to fully participate in the project implementation. In mobilising the community, Tsavo Trust will conduct several meetings where it will be explained how the project will be conducted and the project conditions. The meetings well help create awareness and readiness for participating in the project implementation and ongoing management
- Formation of a Dispensary Committee (DC), which will be formed by the community and chaired by the community nurse
- Purchasing and transportation of building material – this activity will be done soon after funding is received
- Removing the current asbestos roof and replacing it with corrugated iron roofing (painted green), guttering and connecting a new 20,000-liter water tank for rain catchment
- Replacing the windows and doors
- Construction of verandah extension
- Painting/redecorating the inside
- To provide electricity using solar panels – Currently there is no electricity and the clinic is forced to operate using torches during nighttime emergencies. The nurse reports delivering several babies using torchlight. Electricity is also needed to run a fridge/freezer system for the storage of vaccines and other drugs that need to be kept below certain temperatures and an autoclave
- Fence three-acres of the property - currently there is only half a fence, however this fence should be taken down as it is old and will not be wildlife proof. It is important to fence the area as elephants, buffalo and other wildlife can cause for hazardous situations for patients and staff. It is also good to have added security where drugs and valuable equipment are stored.
The building repair allows the provision of primary healthcare, nurse and patient friendly treatment rooms, safe water collection and storage, waste disposal (incinerator), sanitation facilities and more; the provision of electricity, using solar panels, that is essential for the day to day needs of the clinic, will enable the Tsavo Trust to commence with Step 2 of this project, which is working towards our ultimate goal for Health Care in the community.
Funding and implementation for Step 2 will be handled separately once Step 1 is complete. Step 2 will aim to ensure a new dispensary is:
- A facility to support life in the case of emergencies and provide lifesaving first aid should a patient need transferring to a hospital. At this time, the clinic does not even have an oxygen supply – an essential in emergencies.
- A suitable facility for visiting specialists e.g.; Tsavo Trust would like to hold regular dental and ophthalmology clinics, bringing in specialists regularly to spend 2 -3 days treating patients.
- A training facility for medical staff and volunteers
- A suitable place to hold family planning and other health related educational workshops.
- A place where the medical staff and volunteers are guaranteed salaries and recognition for their selfless work and commitment.
- Tsavo Trust will coordinate the entire project while seeking technical advice from the experts.
- Experts in solar energy will be contracted to install electricity.
- All locally available materials for the refurbishment work, (stones and sand will be collected by the community).
- Tsavo Trust will initiate and partake in community meetings and training initiatives needed to form the DC committee as mentioned above.
The community have been involved fully in identification and approval of this project. They will participate effectively during implementation of project activities. TT will ensure that all people from varying backgrounds have the opportunity to contribute to the identification of problems and solutions – community leaders and influential individuals, the elderly, women, children and many others. The community have also volunteered to collect all locally available materials for the development work, namely wood, stones and sand. They will also provide much of the labor needed for the renovation of the facility. The established DC will play a leadership and coordination role in the process and will consist of 4 community members (men and women), 2 from Ngiluni and 2 from Kamunyu. Their roles will be to represent the beneficiaries, coordinate the provision of materials and administer the overall implementation.
The refurbishment of the Ingiluni Dispensary will not only serve to improve the health and wellbeing of community members, a basic right that they so deserve - it will also help them to feel less marginalised and inspired to take care of themselves and family members. In addition, less time will be spent away from employment due to travelling far distances, which could take days, to receive simple primary healthcare that should otherwise be provided for on ‘the door step’.
By renovating a building fit for medical practice Tsavo Trust, will as part of its long term plan for healthcare in the community, organise specialized workshops, where experts in the fields of dentistry, opthlamology and family planning can be held. Currently, this is impossible for the simple reason that a suitable facility for these professionals simply does not exist.
With thanks – The Tsavo Trust on behalf of the Kamungi Community
Further information coming shortly.