Rise of young eco-warriors


Nancy Odweyo, Assistant Conservation Education Officer

Date Published

Last year we featured the story of Chalo Juma, a 10-year-old Samburu boy who, while herding his father’s goats, accidentally unearthed a sizeable piece of ivory. As he was not attending school at the time, Chalo’s friends informed him of STE’s conservation lessons in their school and referred him to Daud, our Field Education Officer. Both Daud and Chalo visited the Kenya Wildlife Service Samburu station where he handed the ivory to an official.

Prior to Chalo, the education team had visited a partner school in 2015 with the intent to award one Mark Lesamana: while herding, Mark had discovered an elephant carcass with its ivory intact. He promptly reported this to his teacher who got in touch with our staff and KWS officials. As luck would have it, Mark yet again, stumbled upon fragmented pieces of ivory in December last year and presented them to the school.

Propelling this sort of attitude change is at the center of our conservation lessons. For over five years, our mobile education programme has traversed the Northern landscape preaching the love for elephants and encouraging peaceful co-existence between communities and wildlife. Our “Living in Harmony with Elephants” lessons have reached over 500 students. Our analysis from 2016 is out and we couldn’t be more proud. Pre-evaluation survey showed 8% of students (N=167) disliked and feared elephants, this reduced to 2% when we conducted a post evaluation test early this year. The number of students showing admiration and respect for elephants has risen from 58% to an encouraging 72%.

Students like Mark and Chalo are the reason Save the Elephants continues to feel motivated to conduct its conservation education activities. We are proud to be a part of the larger conservation community impacting and imparting good conservation practices among young people in the North.

This year, we want to focus on a more inclusive curriculum, integrating newer challenges facing African elephant populations, bringing students on board and encouraging them to be a part of the solution and hope for the future of their environment and heritage.