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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Step at a Time - GVI's achievements in Kidong

Every time I return to the Taveta region I spend over five hours on a bumpy bus ride from Mombasa. For me, this journey is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the work we are doing in the Taveta region. GVI has been working in the Taveta region, on the border of Tsavo West National Park, for almost four years now. I have spent over two years working in the region. Hundreds of GVI volunteers have worked on the programs in Tsavo West. I’m lucky enough to get a chance to reflect on the achievements of GVI in the Taveta region on an almost weekly basis, but, for many of the people who have really made these achievements possible - volunteers, former staff, and current staff from around the globe – the progress of projects may not be so apparent. So I thought an update on the communities we work with was a little more than overdue. The next three blogs will present summaries of GVI’s achievements in the communities of Kidong, Kasaani and Mahandakini to date. Let’s start with Kidong where the focus has been on establishing an Eco-tourism Centre to provide sustainable alternative livelihoods for the ex-poachers from this community.

--Marlo and Joseph Build the Walls of the Restuarant--

Over the past four years volunteers in Kidong have:
• Taught community to make recycled paper from elephant dung which is now used to make postcards and soap labels.
• Soap making lessons delivered to Kidong – they are now producing Aloe Vera Soap, Neem Soap, Coconut Soap and Honey Soap for sale to tourists and in local markets. These soaps are now being sold in tourist lodges in Kenya and a store in the UK.
• Trained tour guides on bird identification and general hospitality skills.
• Constructed information panels for the Eco-tourism Centre.
• Taught accounting to the caretaker of the Eco-tourism Centre.
• Deliver cooking and hygiene lessons to the cooks at the Centre.
• Trained waiters and waitresses on service skills and English phrases for tourists.
• Designed a package tour for tourists to visit the Eco-tourism as a means for the people of

--One of the Information Panels for the Eco-tourism Centre--

Kidong to generate sustainable alternative incomes.
• Constructed an open air restaurant for the Eco-tourism Centre.
• Built a water recycling system to recycle grey water and subsequently irrigate a small scale farm to grown produce for the restaurant at the Eco-tourism Centre.

--The Completed Restuarant in Kidong--

I would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved in these projects and to the people who have continued to financially support these projects through Just Giving and GVI Charitable Trust, including Amy and Dave Fiebelkon, Becky Law and Jennifer LeClair.