The final part of 6
Closing the curtain of the Changemaker Series is a highlight of two 2022 Eco Warrior Awards Recognitions. They stand as excellent icons and encouragement to focus on a specific area of need with intention, consistency and diligence as tourism, conservation, and communities continually interlink.
BEST COMMUNITY TOURISM INITIATIVE IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
This category aimed at celebrating community tourism initiatives that are making efforts in promoting local community development. This could be through effective stakeholder engagement, community involvement, good governance, and implementation of community development projects. In addition, it sought to highlight best practices in the management of community tourism initiatives as a driving factor for transformation at the community level.
The community owned and run Il Ngwesi Eco Lodge, received special recognition in this award category.
The proceeds from the tourism activities at Il Ngwesi Eco Lodge, located in Il Ngwesi Conservancy Laikipia, are channeled to the community through development projects. The seven villages in the group ranch are the beneficiaries of the projects. In each of the villages, the projects have put up a primary school, a reliable water point for the school, and a health clinic for all i.e., Ntalabany Dispensary.
The Il Ngwesi community approves all key decisions made in project management during their annual general meetings and intermittent gatherings. The leadership team is elected based on representation from all seven villages, following guidance from the Community Land Act 2016. Women are encouraged to take on leadership roles, with prominent positions such as Vice Chair and chair of the development sub-committee held by women.
The lodge is governed by committees that include community representatives, with delegated mandates. The main committee is the Il Ngwesi Community Trust, which oversees natural resources and community matters. The Il Ngwesi Company Limited manages the community tourism business and other income-generating projects. The community plays a significant role in the governance of natural resources in the Il Ngwesi landscape. The lodge’s leadership is guided by the community constitution and 5-year strategic plans.
In a village, a secondary school has been established to provide education to all students in the community. The project has received significant support from donations and partnerships. One of the initiatives is an education support program, which provides quarterly bursaries to students in high school, college, and university. Over 1 million Kenya shillings have been offered in recent years, encouraging the students to pursue and continue their education.
The Days for Girls Chumvi Self Enterprise sewing center at the ranch offers women an alternative source of income and economic engagement. It features a display space for sewn products, a children’s rest area, and a soap-making activity that generates income. By providing these opportunities, the ranch helps diversify livelihoods in a primarily pastoralist community and empowers women to support themselves financially.
In 2020, the lodge focused on developing women’s leadership by training over 20 women as trainers of trainers. They also established a girls’ center that produces sanitary towels for schoolgirls in the community. Additionally, the lodge contributed to microfinance for women in the community and connected persons with disabilities to county health and NHIF programs, resulting in some receiving national disability cards.
See here the Il Ngwesi Experience.
The eco-lodge has partnered with the Northern Rangelands Trust to assess and develop a water supply for the conservancy, with the goal of improving water access for nearby villages. Il Ngwesi has also initiated a sustainable bio-gas energy production project within the community to reduce reliance on firewood for energy. This project began in 2022.
Interact with Il Ngwesi Eco Lodge
The Kenya Tourism Board sponsored this award category.
2. BEST ACCOMMODATION FACILITY IN SUPPORT OF MARINE CONSERVATION
This award category aimed to recognize the accommodation facilities on the Kenyan coast that are involved in actions, projects, initiatives, best practices, or campaigns inclined towards conserving marine life and ecosystem restoration within their areas of operation.
The Serena Beach and Resort Spa received special recognition and was awarded for their remarkable efforts in marine conservation.
Serena Beach Resort & Spa runs a Turtle Conservation Program to protect sea turtles that face extinction due to nest losses caused by tidal flooding, predators, and human activities. The program focuses on providing a safe haven for sea turtles to nest and transfer eggs from insecure nests to their hatchery. Since the program’s inception in 1993 to June 2022, 573 turtle nests have been protected, and 74,089 eggs have been secured at the hatcheries, with 63,217 turtle hatchlings released into the Indian Ocean. The species involves are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and Olive Ridley Turtle. They responded to the alarm raised by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and other ecological reports that turtles faced extinction due to the loss of nests. Destructive fishing practices are a significant threat to sea turtle survival, but the resort’s outreach training has raised awareness among fishermen. The program has helped maintain the ocean ecosystem and preserve biodiversity, including seagrass beds, sea sponges, coral reefs, and jellyfish populations.
Serena Beach has been promoting environmental responsibility and marine conservation by taking conscious efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Initiatives like transitioning to dispenser bottles, replacing plastic straws with paper straws, eliminating single-use plastic bags, and using glass recyclable mineral water bottles have resulted in a significant reduction of plastic waste. Additionally, they have created awareness about the threat of marine debris and the importance of conservation through a human-size chess board themed around Marine Life Vs Life Cycle of a Butterfly. Furthermore, they offer Architectural, Cultural & Conservation Tours as Guest Activities, publish children’s books based on Serena’s conservation activities and conduct monthly beach clean-ups.
Serena Beach has implemented a community participatory program that provides education and financial incentives to fishermen and the community around Shanzu Bay, Mtwapa, Kikambala, and Kenamai beaches. The program pays cash for egg and nest reports and protection and covers the cost of maintaining the hatchery and engaging a local Marine Conservationist to handle the process of transferring eggs from insecure sites and the hatching process. The fishermen are paid for reporting and protecting nests, allowing them to increase their income and benefit their families. Additionally, Serena Beach offers lectures on turtle conservation to guests and provides training to staff and communities to create an understanding on environmental responsibility. Schools and education institutions are also able to enhance their education and knowledge of these species through engagement with the Marine Conservationists.
Local community engagement;
Get in touch with Serena Beach & Resort Spa
This award category was proudly sponsored by the Conversation Alliance of Kenya.
-End of Series-