In February 2018 Alia Moller joined our team. She has been putting together excellent monthly reports for our funders and stakeholders. In April 2018 we have decided to put each monthly report on our website for the public, as well as our supporters, to see the work Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest are doing to protect this amazing forest.
On Thursday 5 December a group of 40 from the Mount Kenya Trust visited the forest. The group was welcomed at the Gede entrance, by three members from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Guides Association (ASFGA), in their recently donated uniform; Kenya Forest Service (KFS) acting ecosystems coordinator, KFS Gede forester, Kenya Wildlife Service’s (KWS) Sargent Tinga, KWS education officer and the Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest’s (FoASF) scouts, liaison officer and field and administrative manager.
After a short briefing the group walked through the forest to the Arabuko swamp, learning about its unique plants and wildlife. At the swamp Sammy Safari – FoASF committee member gave a talk on the forest adjacent communities and projects that have been implemented to halt their need of capitalising on illegal products from the forest. Sammy gave the group some freshly harvested cassava crop from the Songa Mbele self-help group.
Members were driven back to the KWS education centre for presentations. FoASF liaison officer gave a presentation on the work FoASF is undertaking in the forest. The short educational film, created with funding from African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, was shown at the end and received a wonderful reaction from the audience. This was followed by a short talk from Local Ocean Trusts (LOC) project manager Justin Beswick. The Mount Kenya Trust ended the visit by showing their film and giving a presentation on their incredible and broad work. Thank you to KWS and KFS for facilitating the trip and providing rangers and briefings and to LOC and Mount Kenya Trust for involving the forest and FoASF in their expedition.
The Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke’s 10 scouts, liaison officer and field and administrative assistant, visited the Bio-Ken snake farm, Watamu to refresh their memory of the many species of snakes found in Kenya and how to responsibly respond to snake bites.
Clare Taylor and head handler Bonnie covered the dos and don’ts of snake bite treatment and practices and how to handle these situations if encountered when on patrol in the field.
Thank you to the Bio-Ken team for the trip and for the incredible work you do saving lives of so many.
In August 2018 funding was received from Blue Marmalade Supermarket, Watamu, to rent two acres of land by the Arabuko swamp, on the edge of the forest.
Sammy Safari, FoASF committee member and project manager, planned to use this land to grow crops; offer seeds and cheap produce to the forest adjacent communities and to provide a place for people to learn about permaculture and biodiversity conservation issues.
The land was ploughed and planted with maize, green grams and cowpeas. The green grams and cow peas were planted as cover crops and nitrogen fixers to enrich the soil in humus and to provide nitrogen support to the other crops planted there.
In December 2018, the crops began to produce their first harvest and seeds. Maize and cowpeas were sold for 200/- per two kilograms to the local communities (usually sold for 480/- and 500/- respectively in the local stores). Sales of green gram and cowpea seeds started in January, with some being set aside for replanting during the long rains in March. The seeds were also sold at a lower than retail price, to encourage the forest adjacent people to plant their own food and resist the need to harvest illegally from the forest.
The main challenges included unpredictable rains, pests and disease. The long rains arrived two months late and in June 2019 there was an outbreak of disease which devastated the green grams, maize and moringa crops. Sammy Safari informed and consulted the agricultural extension officers from Msabaha research centre in Gede, who stated that the same problem was being observed this season in the area. He advised that the plot be reploughed to stop the spread.
Green gram and cowpea seedlings were set aside for planting in the short November rains. In September 2019, Sammy Safari personally renewed the lease on the two-acre plot. Heavy rainfall in October/November has left the farms near the Arabuko swamp flooded and so the seedlings have not been planted. Sammy hopes for a more productive 2020.
Thank you to Blue Marmalade for their support and moreover for their recent donation of 10,000/- on a monthly basis.
In October FoASF received funding from Nature Kenya for the purchase of 35 fence posts from Komaza in Kilifi. The posts were delivered and handed over to KWS on 22 November.
Important Biodiversity Areas (IBA’s)
An induction workshop on monitoring Important Biodiversity Areas (IBA’s) coastal region was held on 13 November at the Jamii Villas. The workshop was facilitated by Nature Kenya and National Museums of Kenya (NMK).
The workshop provided an overview of the IBA monitoring framework in Kenya and within the different Government agencies as well as guidance on how to correctly fill in the Basic Monitoring Form (BMF) highlighting the various conservation activities conducted in the various IBA sites.
Thirty-five participants from KWS, KFS, Nature Kenya, NMK, County Government, FoASF, Kaya Forests, Community and Mida Creek Conservation Group (MCCG) attended the workshop.
Community conservation awareness meeting
On 19 November, FoASF liaison officer Joseph Kanundu attended a meeting organised by FoASF committee member Sammy Safari, raising awareness on the conservation of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. The area assistant chief, KWS Sargent Tinga and 50 members of the local community attended the talk.
Planting with the Kenya Forest Service
On 1 November FoASF liaison officer attended this year’s KFS short rains planting launch at Pwani University College, Kilifi.
Participants included representatives from KEFRI, KFS, Pwani University, the Kenya navy, Kilifi county and Gede CFA. A total of 4300 seedlings were planted. Thank you to KFS for organising this event.
On 21 November, KFS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Services, Youth and Gender Affairs through support from the Malindi Muslim Society and Uwezo, planted 500 indigenous tree seedlings in the Magangani area.
Participants included KWS Arabuko, FoASF liaison officer and the Gede CFA. Speeches were given by KFS Assistant Ecosystems Coordinator, Elvis Fondo and the guest of honor – the permanent secretary from the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs.
CThe Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest are looking to recruit a field and administration manager to administer and help run the Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.
The post is on a one-year extendable contract with a three-month trial period starting in mid-February 2020.
For a detailed job description and more information please see the attached document
Please apply to email@example.com with your curriculum vitae and two references, which will be taken up.
The closing date for applications is Friday 3 January 2020 with interviews in mid-January 2020.
Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest
The Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is a non-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It looks to support the forest management team and specifically the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and its partners in addressing the problems the forest has.
This includes stopping illegal logging which unfortunately is prevalent: stopping illegal poaching of animals: to help with the upkeep of nature trails, roads, sign boarding, picnic and camp sites, and assisting with education projects.
The winners of the Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke/Kilifi Gold Triathlon education programme awards: Christine Salama Charo her teacher Samson Kazungu Chengo from Girimacha Primary School, Aisha Nyamvula her teacher Agnes Kananu Njuri from Bambakofi Academy, Selina Sifa Kahindi; her teacher Patricia Nyale; from Mkongani Primary School visited Tsavo East National Park on Monday 4 November.
The team left KWS Gede at 5.50am arriving Tsavo East National Park at 7.45am had breakfast and started their six-hour game drive. They saw much wildlife including lion, elephants, crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, gazelles, zebras as well as many birds and other flora and fauna. They also learned facts about the Sabaki River. The students and their teachers all agreed that this had been an unforgettable experience and were very grateful to the organisers.
They were accompanied by KWS researcher at Gede, Lynn Njeri Njuguna, who was the initiator and behind the education programme sponsored by the Kilifi Triathlon with help from African Fund for Endangered Wildlife says she is delighted nearly 1400 children from 37 schools from around the forest had been brought into the forest.
Ker and Downey Safaris donated three tents to FoASF in October. These tents were handed to the KFS Jilore station, who plan to spend more time camping inside the forest and patrol from there.
Thank you to Ker and Downey for their generous donation and in particular to Paolo Parazzi and to Julia Horne for arranging for her driver to pick two up and deliver them to Malindi.
A cassava processing machine and solar drier were procured in September with funding from AFEW. Both machines were delivered to the forest and officially handed over to the Songa Mbele self-help group in October.
The group started harvesting and selling their cassava crop in September, the raw cassava was sold to the forest adjacent communities for 20/- a piece.
Using the machines, the cassava crops are now being processed to make flour, which can be used for making cakes, chapati, ugali and other staple foods. The group plan to offer an area for the local communities to learn about cassava planting and processing. These machines will be made available to all.
Members of the group have already been approached by a number of small businesses, which are interested in outsourcing the various cassava products. They plan to sign agreements for selling the cassava products and continue to provide an alternative source of living to the local communities.