In the heart of Kamungi Conservancy, a marginalized community battles against the odds, striving to protect wildlife habitat while transforming their own lives. Meet Felister Nduku, a dedicated member of Kamungi Conservancy and an unwavering advocate for community-based conservation. Amidst the challenges faced by the local communities – inadequate rainfall, water scarcity, human-wildlife conflict, food insecurity, abject poverty, and lack of economic opportunities – Felister stands tall, a symbol of determination, resilience, progress, and triumph over adversity.
With over 385 households and a population exceeding 2,500 people, Kamungi Conservancy is situated on the northern boundary of the majestic Tsavo West National Park, a vital ecosystem in Kenya.
Felister’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of strong and effective community led conservation and development initiatives. Thanks to the thoughtful interventions of Tsavo Trust, Felister’s household has directly experienced tangible change, breathing new life into her family’s existence. With access to Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) training and certified drought-resistant crops, Felister defies the challenges posed by unpredictable rainfall. In the last season alone, she harvested an impressive 270 kilograms of cowpeas and 10 kilograms of pigeon peas, ensuring her family’s sustenance for an entire five months. Armed with newfound knowledge and resilience, Felister represents the unwavering spirit of Kamungi Conservancy.
Photo 1: Shows Felister Nduku harvesting pigeon peas at her farmland on 26th June 2023
Addressing the pressing issue of water scarcity head-on, Felister’s life took a dramatic turn when a water pan fitted with a dam liner entered the scene. Now collecting up to a staggering 56,000 liters of surface run-off water, Felister harnesses this invaluable resource for daily chores, livestock care, and nurturing tree seedlings. The results are evident on her thriving farmland, adorned with over 100 neem, lemon, and orange trees, each signifying the potential for a better future.
Photo 2: Shows Tsavo Trust Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and Kamungi Conservancy Chairperson during a monitoring activity at Felister’s water pan on 9th June 2023
Human-Elephant Conflict once plagued Felister’s community. Recounting the memories of a devastating raid by 25 elephants on her three-acre farmland in 2015, an event lasting a mere 15 minutes. But thanks to Tsavo Trust’s Elephant exclusion fence, the threat has significantly reduced. Determined to protect her crops, Felister replicated Tsavo Trust’s ingenious 10% Fence Plan, securing four acres of her land from wildlife intrusion while allowing space for wildlife and livestock to coexist harmoniously.
As Felister reflects upon the profound impact of Tsavo Trust’s interventions, she highlights their critical role in preventing illegal and unsustainable extraction of natural resources. The once rampant acts of wildlife poaching, hardwood extraction, and charcoaling have been resolutely curbed, kindling a renewed sense of hope for the future.
The projects and interventions undertaken by Tsavo Trust in Kamungi Conservancy have already begun to bear fruit. As community members witness the tangible benefits of wildlife conservation, a newfound spirit of coexistence permeates the air. This progress lays a solid foundation for further collaboration between conservation organizations and the local community, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for both.
Felister Nduku’s inspiring journey encapsulates the remarkable transformation unfolding within Kamungi Conservancy. Her unwavering dedication, combined with the unwavering support of Tsavo Trust, serves as an awe-inspiring example of how safeguarding wildlife and uplifting communities can seamlessly intertwine. With each success, Felister and her fellow community members pave the way towards a more harmonious and sustainable future.