Monthly Archives: January 2016
For over a year now, Dr Lucy King’s Elephants and Bees Project Team have been holding Environmental Education Lessons with year 8 students at the Kileva Eastfield School to help teach them about wildlife and how to conserve and protect it. Below is a report by Mikki Koot and Chloe Lucas, two of Lucy’s interns, describing how they took the class on a field trip to see and enjoy as much of their local wildlife as possible, and to celebrate the end of their KCPE exams. The report has been reprinted in full from the Elephant & Bees blog site.
Let me take this opportunity to thank once again the Elephants and Bees Team for the great work they’re doing, and the Disney Conservation Fund for funding such trips.
Adventures Outside The Classroom
By Mikki Koot and Chloe Lucas
Elephants and Bees Project Team
Save The Elephants
For many of the children at Kileva Primary School, Mwakoma village is their entire world. Since January 2015 interns volunteering with The Elephants and Bees Project have been working with class 8 teaching them about the project, environmental conservation and expanding their global awareness and horizons. Every Wednesday afternoon we head up to the school tucked away behind the research camp to work with these engaging and bright children. In the second week of November, the pupils in Class 8 sat their KCPE exams which determine which secondary school they can attend. Sitting these exams marked an important milestone for the village as they are the first class in the school to have reached this level. To celebrate this special occasion we decided to take the class on a field trip.
On Friday morning, the class, made up of 16 pupils, arrived excitedly at The Elephants and Bees Research Centre. Before leaving for the field trip we showed the pupils several camera traps and explained all the ins and outs and what we use them for at on Elephants and Bees Project. You could see a vague grimace of understanding, but not quite grasping the concept that this little box would take photos of everything that moved in front of it. After getting into the cars we made our way to the first stop; Nashon’s farm.
Nashon is one of our Mwambiti beehive fence farmers and even going to Mwambiti by car, for some of the children, is a real treat. At the farm we showed them the beehive fence and were able to show them some elephant tracks remaining from a previous crop raid. Nashon’s farm is also the location of four of our camera traps so we could put the pupils newly learned knowledge to the test. They helped us collect the SD cards, check the batteries and time and date, while the photos were downloaded onto the field laptop. They were all extremely interested in the camera and eager to help in every way possible.
Once the photos were downloaded onto the laptop everybody huddled around to see the screen. We were really lucky and had caught some raiding elephants on camera which they absolutely loved seeing! However, the photos that got the most laughs were ones that had been taken as we approached the cameras and everyone was able to spot themselves on screen. After seeing their grimace change from somewhat understanding, to fully understanding what camera traps entail, we headed off through the bush to our next stop; Sagalla lodge.
On arrival at the lodge we were met with a delicious lunch. Just in time as it started pouring with rain. While we were having our lunch and waiting for the rain to pass we compiled a list of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, trees, plants and flowers we could possibly encounter on our bushwalk. Shortly after the rain stopped we all huddled underneath a very large Acacia mellifera where one of our three bush guides began talking. With grief in his eyes he explained to the pupils that trees like the one we were standing under would soon disappear from the African landscape due to the charcoal industry. He continued saying that these trees might be good for cooking your food, but that they are much more useful to us living than dead. Besides the fact that we could make tea from their bark, some acacia roots have medicinal values curing anything from a stomach ache to a fever. Their flowers provide pollinators with nectar and pollen and they provide much needed shade for farmer’s crops and cattle as well as for the farmers themselves.
As we continued our bush walk we came across numerous bird species, ranging from the iconic Eastern Yellow-Billed Hornbill and the Von der Decken’s hornbill to the Spotted Eagle-Owl and the smaller, very beautiful African Paradise Flycatcher. We came across baboon tracks, a dead dik dik who had fallen prey to a jackal only hours before, common routes travelled by elephants and at the end of our walk a beautiful sand snake. Instantly the kids jumped in fear all huddling in a group keeping a safe distance from the snake.
Knowing this snake could cause little harm to humans, we took a moment to discuss snakes. Are all snakes dangerous to humans? What role do snakes play in the ecosystem? And why should you not kill every snake you see? Killing snakes is commonplace for the people in this community and has been done for years. There are a handful of extremely venomous snakes living in this area, such as the notorious Black Mamba, and lacking the knowledge as to exactly what they look like people are likely to kill every snake they find, thinking they are keeping their family and cattle safe. Unfortunately the exact opposite happens.
One consequence of snake killing is an uncontrollable increase in the rodent population. Rats and mice scurry away left and right when walking into a house of a local. Rodents are known to carry and spread diseases which can cause serious illness. Even more worrying is that in the North of Thailand, India and even South Africa, where the population of snakes are being decimated, there have been cases where rats as large as full grown Maine Coon Cats have eaten newborn babies.
The pupils gasped in disbelief hearing all these new facts about snakes. We hope that learning about the importance of snakes is just one of the many pieces of information learnt throughout the day that the pupils will pass onto their family and friends helping the whole community to gain wider knowledge about the importance of the natural world.
One our way back to camp the pupils were thriving with excitement. They had a great day filled with seeing all the wonders of nature on their doorstep. We would like to give a big thanks to Disney Conservation Fund for their field trip fund which made this adventure possible and to Sagalla lodge for being so welcoming.
Kileva Foundation Annual General Meeting (AGM)
6th December 2015
- Cliff Evans (Chair)
- Stephen Taylor (Treasurer)
- Ruth Barnett
- Paul Burbidge
- Gavin Coates
- John Craft – by Skype
- Jane Evans
- Mark Harris (Marketing and Communications Director) – by Skype
- Jocelyn Sewell
- Alison Ainge
- Damien Ainge
- Anne Hodgson
- Spencer Hodgson
1. Review of 2015 and Approval of Documents
1.a Trustees Annual Report
Cliff presented the Trustees’ Annual Report to the Charity Commission for the period 1/11/14 to 31/10/15.
Main Achievements during the Year
- Kileva Eastfield Primary School, Mwakoma Kenya
- Educational supplies (books etc) provided.
- Furniture provided.
- Lunches and water provided.
- Uniforms provided.
- Electricity connected to all school buildings.
- Salaries of 2 teachers and 1 security guard paid.
- College fees paid for teachers.
- Repairs to buildings due to termite damage
- Renovation of classroom floors
- Kileva Medical Dispensary, Kirumbi Kenya
- Medical supplies provided.
1.b. Receipts and Payments Accounts
Cliff presented the accounts for 1/11/14 to 31/10/15.
In the last year just under £22,385 income was received and £17,699 was paid out leaving £9851 in the cash fund (including £5,165 balance carried forward from last year). As the income is less than £25,000 there is no need for an independent examiner of the accounts. The reason there is a higher amount in the cash fund this year is that building costs were much less in 2015.
Thanks to all individuals for their continuing donations and groups such as Rotary International, U3A and Comptel Corporation.
The AGM approved the Receipts and Payments Accounts which will be sent to the Charity Commission.
2. 2016 Objectives
2.1 Kileva Eastfield School
The charity is committed to regular payments to cover the cost of salaries for one teacher and a security guard, lunches and water, communications, transport, extra exam papers, school outings/competitions and building maintenance.
The trustees discussed other potential expenditure next year including:
- Books, uniforms, sports shirts
- Kileva Connect Club budget
- Secure library & computer room
- Education grants
- Secondary school
2.2 Kileva Farm
The charity is committed to continuing to fund the the Kileva Permaculture Farm which was set up at Eastfield School this year in partnership with The Permaculture Institute under the leadership of Joannah Stutchbury. This project is teaching the children and their parents how to enrich the poor soil using organic matter, and how to plant a variety of food crops together which should considerably increase food production. The farm is off to a good start and the outdoor classroom is established with a grass roof. Children and parents have taken to the project with enthusiasm.
2.3 Kileva Connect
Cliff presented a new initiative for discussion. He suggested the establishment of special interest clubs at the school in different subject areas which could help to connect the children in Kenya with special interest groups in the UK. The benefits to the children would be to broaden their education beyond the prescribed school curriculum and allow them to pursue other interesting subjects (and hopefully be fun). At the Kenya end it would require a leader for each club. At the UK end, it would require a UK co-ordinator for each club who could then try to find ways to connect to (and possibly get financial help from) groups in the UK with the same interests.
There was much discussion about this idea. The possible interest areas were discussed. The increased level of involvement and time required by trustees was considered. Finally it was decided that Mark Harris would look at ‘Games and Sports’, Stephen Taylor at ‘Wildlife and Environment’, Jocelyn Sewell at ‘Health and Fitness’ and Cliff Evans at ‘Scouting’. The visit in March 2016 will give an opportunity to talk to teachers and children at the school to find out if they are interested in this venture.
3. Retirement of existing Officers and Trustees
In line with clause 18, sub-clause 3 of the constitution, the existing officers (Cliff Evans, Jane Evans, and Jocelyn Sewell), and the other Trustees, (Damien Ainge, Alison Ainge, Paul Burbidge, John Craft, Mark Harris and Stephen Taylor) retired.
4. Election of Officers and Trustees for 2015/16
The following officers were elected:
- Chair Cliff Evans
- Treasurer Stephen Taylor
After considering the information from Cliff that most small charities have fewer trustees than us, and following the discussion about Kileva Connect, the following trustees were elected:
- Paul Burbidge
- Cliff Evans
- Mark Harris
- Stephen Taylor
Jocelyn Sewell will continue to provide secretarial help, and the others will become Friends of Kileva who provide support to the charity whenever possible. Furthermore, once details of the Kileva Connect scheme have been discussed with the Kileva Eastfield teachers and parents, particularly during the forthcoming trip to Kenya, then the Friends of Kileva can assess if they would like to act as one of the Kileva Connect Co-ordinators, and therefore apply for re-election to the Board of Trustees.
Action CE: Discuss with the four retiring trustees who were not present at the meeting whether they would like to be involved as a UK co-ordinators for Kileva Connect.
5. Any Other Business
- The 2016 visit to Kenya is planned for 18/3/16 – 26/3/16. As all seven participants were present, the travel arrangements and itinerary were discussed.
Action CE: Inform Lucy King and Joannah Stutchbury of date of visit. Send itinerary details to Kilele and Margaret.
- As always the trustees would like to thank the Kileva Eastfield School committee, teachers and parents in Mwakoma for their hard work in making the school so successful. However in particular they would like to thank Margaret Kiriro and Godwin Kilele because without their continued dedication and commitment, the work of the Kileva Foundation in Kenya would not be possible.