Helping Communities To Coexist With Elephants


Lillian Wanja/Save the Elephants

Date Published

Participants of the third ToT display STE’s HEC Toolboxes issued to them at the end of the training on 18th August 2023. © Kent Ngibuini/Save the Elephants.

Following the successful launch of our Human-Elephant Coexistence (HEC) Toolbox on World Elephant Day last year, we embarked on a significant milestone this year by conducting our inaugural Toolbox Training of Trainers workshops in Tsavo, Kenya.

Representatives from diverse communities across Kenya gathered at our Sagalla research centre to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to teach others how to live more in peaceful coexistence with elephants. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Sagalla hills, the training sessions took place in April, July, and August and were led by our own team of HEC experts from Save the Elephants.  

Victor Ndombi, STE’s Community Livelihood, Education and Conflict Reduction Officer, leads a session on use of chillies as an elephant deterrent method during the second Trainer of Trainers Workshop held at our research centre in Tsavo, Kenya, from 18th to 20th July, 2023.

Each session provided participants with invaluable first-hand experiences on how to practically apply many of the 80 methods found in the Toolbox. These included tips and advice on how to build beehive fences, cultivate alternative crops such as sunflowers and chilis, as well as use metal strip fences, watch towers and noise cannons to help divert elephants away from farms, water points, and homesteads.

Tsavo farmers, including Nashon Mwagharo, Jones Mwakima, and Titus Mwawasi, actively participated in the training sessions, offering profound insights into how the Toolbox has enabled them to coexist more peacefully with elephants while safeguarding their livelihoods. Participants had the opportunity to visit the farmers’ lands, witnessing first-hand the tangible impact of the Toolbox on the lives of local farmers.

A farmer explains the working of beehive fences to participants of the second Trainer of Trainers Workshop during a field session to his farm in Tsavo, Kenya.

Participants in the three-day long sessions included team members from the African Conservation Centre and Rombo Wildlife Conservancy, Born Free Foundation, Mukutan Conservancy, Naibunga Conservancy, local communities from conflict-prone areas in Kasigau, Taita-Taveta County,  and Save the Elephants’ Rapid Response Unit (RRU) team from Samburu.

The training seamlessly blends theory with practical sessions, providing participants with a better understanding of elephants and the root causes of conflicts. We eagerly anticipate the training’s impact and the widespread adoption of Toolbox methods within communities spanning Kenya and the broader African continent.

To find out more about our elephant-friendly deterrent methods showcased in our HEC Toolbox, click here.