Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fundraising for Friends of Shimoni Forest

Those of you that have been following our blog will hopefully have begun to appreciate just how lucky we are to be working in Shimoni forest with its diverse, beautiful, globally important, rare and vulnerable wildlife. You have hopefully also been following the story of Friends of Shimoni Forest, the community-based organisation that we formed in November 2007 to reach out to the villagers of Shimoni and Anziwani and encourage conservation at the local level.

Sadly you will also have been made aware of the threats that face Shimoni's forest and the alarming rate at which the community are losing their natural resources and wildlife such as the Angolan black and white colobus are losing their habitat.

But their is reason to be positive; Friends of Shimoni Forest have undertaken a few patrols and the local administration has banned power saws in an attempt to limit illegal resource exploitation. We have also put Shimoni forest on the map with community-based eco-tourism guided forest walks now listed in the latest version of the Lonely Planet.

To support these positive strides forward we have launched a fundraising page on JustGiving for the Global Vision International Charitable Trust (GVI CT) to provide financial support to Friends of Shimoni Forest. We hope this will help compensate community members for loss of earnings when they take time our to patrol the forest, enable them to develop their eco-tourism with improved trails and information and finance training for alternative livelihoods such as bee-keeping that will relieve socio-economic dependence on unsustainable resource use such as charcoal-burning.

The most exciting initiative will be the Friends of Shimoni Forest School Fund (FSF-SF for a snappy abbreviation!); we hope to provide scholarships for some of Shimoni's brightest children to access secondary education and in return they and their families will be asked to give something back to Shimoni forest - be it joining forest patrols, planting trees or promoting environmental awareness and conservation amongst their peers.

So how can you help? Take a look to the left of this blog and you will see a link to our JustGiving page where donations can be made to GVI CT . Every little really does help so spread the word and help the colobus remain a part of the Shimoni community!

In just one day, I am amazed at the support we have received and wish to thank former expedition volunteers Kate Blackwood and Becky Law as well as Rich Hill for their generous donations in getting the Friends of Shimoni Forest fundraising off the ground - we will certainly keep you updated on how the money is spent and already I'm looking forward to a brighter future for Shimoni forest and all those, both wildlife and people, that depend on it!
Thank you, Corti