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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Friends of Shimoni Forest

The FSF tour guides
For the last couple of months I have been working with one of GVI’s partners, a community based organization known as Friends of Shimoni Forest. The group’s main aim is to support the conservation of Shimoni Forest. They do this through raising awareness of the deforestation levels, actively working alongside KWS participating in forest patrols and taking part in reforestation initiatives. The conservation work that FSF does is funded through tourist days out that FSF organize and lead. It has been a priority of FSF to advertise what they are able to offer tourists and so we have been working hard on a brochure to put out along the South Coast.

One of the home stays 
FSF’s main tourist attraction is a guided trail that takes you through the heart of Shimoni forest and to local places of interest such as the highly respected Kaya’s. 

The preparation work involved meeting with the secretary of the group, Athumani Fahadili, weekly to go over ideas about the content and layout of the brochure. The meetings were an excellent way of not only communicating new ideas but they gave Athumani the chance to use a computer an essential skill that all locals are eager to improve upon.
Hassan in his FSF t-shirt
One of the important selling points FSF felt that they needed to really push was the opportunity for tourists to stay in a Homestay. This is a unique experience where tourists can really integrate with the community by staying with a local family who provide all of their food and allow them into their own home. It was therefore important to establish which families were prepared to offer a Homestay and what type of living conditions tourists could expect. Athumani organized an afternoon where we went and looked around the Homestays which was such an experience in itself and I wasn’t even staying with the families. The friendliness of the host families was amazing and you could tell how much they really wanted the Homestays to start taking place. Not only would FSF be making money from the tourists but the host families would have another much needed income for themselves.
Children of Shimoni 

Seeing how much the both the local community and the conservation of Shimoni Forest would benefit from higher levels of tourism in the village makes you realize what good work Friends of Shimoni Forest are doing and hopefully once this new brochure is out it will kick start a new wave of opportunity for the local people.

Hannah Riddle- Community Intern 



Matt Nuttall said...

Keep up the good work! Say hi to Athumani for me! Matt