2022 AFEW KENYA ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL COMPETITION

Happy New Year. We hope and believe that you’ll have a successful year.

To start off, we have our annual competition up. The competition will be running from January 1st, 2022 to March 31st,2022.

The aim of the competition is to get students to engage in environmental conservation. The theme of the competition seeks to jog the students minds concerning current conservation issues and express them through either essays, drawing or an artistically taken photograph. The winners of the competition will get to visit some of the great conservation sites and organizations we have in Kenya.

To get the poster for the competition please click here

We wish you a prosperous 2022

NAMING GIRAFFES THE AFRICAN WAY

Literature on African Societies child naming ceremonies is quite fascinating. Mark Babatunde in his article titled 7 Most Fascinating Traditional African Baby Naming Ceremonies, describes the naming ceremony of a new baby among many African communities as one of the most important rites of passage in life as it announces the birth of a newborn, introduces the child to his or her extended family and the larger community, and above all, it confers on a child name.  According to the Sweet Mother International organization, birth and child naming are the very substance that weaves the thread, binding us into something larger than ourselves, towards which all of humanity gravitates.

Different African Sociology Scholars have described child birth and naming as joyful communal affairs, quite universal and persistent across generations. However, traditions vary with a given community, time and region. The two events have great significance for life perpetuation of the community in the future. As the new generation can offer that support to the old generation when they need support in old age. 

Giraffe naming process is not new at AFEW Kenya – Giraffe Centre as it started way back in 1979 at the time when the idea of saving the Rothschild’s giraffes from western Kenya was born. Betty Leslie Melville, the co-founder of AFEW Kenya named the first two young giraffes brought to their property in Lang’ata, Nairobi as Daisy and Marlon. Daisy was named after her favorite flower ‘Daisy” which grew abundantly within her home compound. From 1979 – 2017, all giraffes born or brought to Giraffe Centre were given names of people from different parts of the world who in one way or another have made a major contribution to AFEW’s conservation work. 

However, from 2017 this naming process was changed in favour of adopting a universal giraffe naming system. The new naming system use Kiswahili names of flowers and trees.  With the adoption of the new naming system, female giraffes are named after flowers while male giraffes are named after trees to represent their femininity and masculinity nature respectively. Active involvement of the general public has been at the core of this process. Members of general public are allowed to suggest or choose their most preferred giraffe name through AFEW’s social media platforms.

Just like in traditional African society, when a child is born, midwife normally announces the birth of the newborn child to the larger community. In most instances, the parents hold celebrations in appreciation to the creator for the gift of a newborn. Many people in the community including relatives, friends and neighbors will from time to time come to celebrate and rejoice with the family. They also bring different gifts for the mother and newborn child. Offering gifts to the newborn is done among African communities as a way of showing love, friendship and blessings to the child, mother and community

AFEW – Giraffe Centre would like to invite the general public in the virtual naming of three female giraffe calves. This event will be held on Monday, June 21st, 2021 as part of commemorating the World Giraffe Day which is normally marked every year on June 21st. Feel free to follow the link below and join us in celebrating these giraffe calves. We would also like to appeal to the general public to make financial contributions as gifts towards celebrating milestones made towards saving Rothschild’s giraffe from silent extinction. Send contributions of at least KShs.1000 equivalent to USD 10 towards this worth cause. All proceeds will go towards giraffe welfare management and eventual return to the wild of the young giraffes once they attain the recommended giraffe translocation age by Kenya Wildlife Service.

Why should you participate in this giraffe naming programme?

  1. You will receive acknowledgement for your support/contribution with your name appearing on the list of sponsors during the naming ceremony.
  2. You will receive regular updates of the named giraffes from AFEW Kenya.
  3. You will be invited to witness the eventual translocation of the same giraffes from the Giraffe Centre to a selected suitable habitat as part of the reintroduction back to the world to increase the natural population of Rothschild’s giraffes in Kenya.

To support the conservation of the Rothschild Giraffe, use this link to the platform to use for sending your contribution.

https://www.giraffecentretickets.co.ke/donation

References

2020 AFEW Competition Essay Entry by Mr. MABONGA EUGENE LUKOA

 As you already know, Last year’s Environmental competition did not go as planned. However, some entries were sent to us either way. These articles are so good that we can not let them go unnoticed. 

One of them is from Mr. Mabonga Eugene. He sent us an essay with his thoughts on the question “Globalization has taken the world by storm and of late, there has been a shift of the balance of political and economic power from the west to the east. What does this mean for the African Continent biodiversity”. This question was posed to the tertiary level students.

Click on the 2020 Competition theme “Healthy Planet, Healthy Biodiversity, Healthy People” to read his thoughts.

2020 AFEW Competition Essay Entry by Ms. Shirley Kemuma Magabi

Happy new year to everyone. Annually, AFEW Kenya – Giraffe Centre hosts an Environmental competition for Kenyan students. This competition runs from January 1st to March 31st. Last year, 2020, we did host as usual. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to unavoidable conditions.

We are grateful, however, for the students who were able to submit their entries for the same. So we will be posting them on our website.

The first article we are posting is by Ms. Shirley Kemuma Magabi

 Click on the 2020 Competition theme “Healthy Planet, Healthy Biodiversity, Healthy People” to read her thoughts.

Biodiversity Inventory at Giraffe Centre

Through the concept of citizen science, The Global Southern Bio-blitz takes biodiversity inventory in green spaces within cities annually, as a way of creating biodiversity awareness.

 In September 2020, Giraffe Centre Sanctuary was a candidate site sampled for inventory take among others in the Nairobi City. Here is the report as generated by the Global Southern Bio blitz team that took inventory at the Giraffe Centre Sanctuary.

Participants included university students and AFEW Kenya staff.

God willing, we hope to take inventory through this initiative and other internal programs to build the biodiversity database involving the general public.

 You may also see the website to find out more about them https://scistarter.org/great-southern-bioblitz

Happy World Giraffe Day

The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife-Kenya was established in 1979 by Jock and Betty Leslie Melville as a breeding Centre for the endangered Rothschild Giraffes. We pride ourselves as one of the oldest giraffe conservation organization in the world. The organization’s story has been one of progressive giraffe conservation, and vibrant transformational conservation education programmes for the youth of Kenya.

Since the time the organization was established, the Rothschild’s giraffe population in Kenya has tremendously increased from 130 to slightly over 700 individuals in the wild.

Did you know giraffe populations have plummeted by 40% and that they are listed as Vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List? This is mainly due to habitat degradation, climate change and poaching. Well, you and I can do something to avert this looming biodiversity crisis. Join us and let us give giraffes overriding attention and rescue them from this silent extinction. We can do this by caring for our environment and creating awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation.

On Sunday 21st June, 2020, AFEW Kenya joins other partners in celebrating World Giraffe Day. The day is dedicated every year to celebrate and raise awareness about the world’s tallest mammal on the longest day and/or night of the year! (Depending on which hemisphere you are in).

Join us in celebrating these icons by sharing with us a one word description of a giraffe. Share this with us on our social media sites below and use the hashtag #ILOVEGIRAFFES and #WORLDGIRAFFEDAY2020.

Happy World Giraffe Day from all of us here!

 

Connect with us on:

Twitter: @GiraffeCenter

Instagram: @GiraffeCentre_

Facebook: African Fund For Endangered Wildlife (Kenya)-Giraffe Centre.

www.giraffecentre.org

 

#ILOVEGIRAFFES

#WORLDGIRAFFEDAY2020

 

#STANDTALLFORTHEGIRAFFES

Birding Experience

Hey Giraffe Community, this Saturday, 6th of June 2020, we will be hosting a birding event from 8:00am to 10:00am at our Nature Sanctuary at Karen, Hardy Area. You’ll get an exclusive guided walk in the Sanctuary, get to view, learn and exprerience Birding like never before. 

For you to participate, you’ll need to make a prior booking by registering here. This is to make sure that before, during and after the event, we keep the measures put forth by the Government of Kenya in Combating the Pandemic.

For any inquiry, email us on reservations@giraffecentre.org  See you then

Everything goes

One’s poison is another’s food. That thing that seems small, useless to you means the world to another. The psalmist in one of his psalms would note this as he explains how everything means something to someone. He’d give an example with the water streams and towers, how from the rocks to the leaves need water.

CEO Giving students seedlings

I experienced this phenomenon with a cypress tree. Before you get up in arms with a claim on deforestation, it fell on its own on my neighbor’s vegetation and the tree was his. It was interesting how each person who saw the tree would envision it.

A carpenter saw frames for their creative ideas, a brick entrepreneur saw firewood for drying bricks, so on and forth.

There is a group, however, that interested me. They were keen to check for the hollow part of the stem. Why? If you ask me, it seems like they are missing a full part of the donut. Who in their right mind would go for the space between a donut. These guys would and they did.

One of the guys, just by knocking on one side of the cut trunk and knew it had honey in plenty. Apparently, in the olden days, that honey was the medicine for cold and flu. These guys didn’t just come here to look for materials for income, also for health from the cypress tree.

The only way these guys would have known this secret is if they were taught by their society members. By this simple secret, they have made a habit of growing trees with a sole purpose of honey where they’ll let them grow old, then fall on their own volition and hope for a bumper harvest of wood, sawdust, firewood and most important, honey.

Tembea Kenya

Njaanuary…, I never understood what this meant. I thought that maybe it’s one of those ‘Kang Kaka‘ wonderful spoken word performances. Creative mind he is by the way. I came to fully understand it’s meaning when I moved out. You know how back in college we’d be like”When I get a job, I’ll save lots just to recuperate like a king come December” Well, I now understand why saying”I’ll save” and doing it are two very different scenarios. The former makes me look responsible, the later is work and sacrifice.

Animals at the Sweet waters

And so, for last year’s December, I made a decision not to make the usual ‘Exodus’ to my village in the heart of Kakamega County. Only to realize that the only major difference I made is to miss out on the raw, uncut, untethered nature that is green with rains every often

as from 1500hrs to 2000hrs. So natural is my home that the monkeys are unashamed of their chauvinism. One time a lady friend was chasing them off a Maize plantation, the disrespect they displayed Still haunt me 20 years on.

All that for what? Six liters of a common soft drink and a sweet tooth. Don’t judge me, that was my dream once upon a time! January came, at least I paid my rent and essentials. All else, the only difference I had from the travelers? Other than clean air, clear roads. It’s only in the December festive season that a passenger can negotiate the fare price to a level of making the travel business feel like a charity. But who is Karma?! It’s January, the travel business owners are hiking their prices to exorbitant levels. Come on business owners! It’s not like January is happening to the unfair customers only. Exercise some humanity.

Tertiary Trip

“Come all ye who are heavy laden..” But before I bust your bubble, this call is only for those who participated in the tertiary level of the 2019 AFEW Annual Environmental Competition. For they will have a trip around the

Nakuru – Naivasha circuit. Imagine the Geo-spa, a game drive, camping, among others in January. The fun part, all this is a reward for a job well done

Why do we do it?

We are all in the move. Some move with a pretty clear understanding of where they are going, in which case people would call ambitious, focused, role models, you name it. The other group is the nonchalant, easy-going, live-in -the moment type who toss care to the wind. We all have these types of people in our inner circle. Each personality brings the best or the worst in us, but one thing remains for sure, they all form part of this closely-knit fabric without which we fall apart.

Then there’s the loners, the sojourners or backpackers. These don’t subscribe to the famous maxim “For the strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the  park is the wolf.” They are very loyal to solitude and go about everyday life in a manner only particular to them.

With all this evolution and growth in the human mindset. One thing has stood the test of time. The desire to know. To find meaning and understanding. To explore. This would explain why ancient explorers would leave the comfort of the familiar to seek something far much more significant- a knowledge of what’s out there. I imagine this is how most of these conversations went.

“ For heaven, sakes Vasco, get a grip of yourself! Who says there’s something far much better beyond our shores? Why go sailing unchartered waters?”

“But mother, how will I know if I don’t take the risk? There has to be something beyond that horizon. There has to.”

“We better get you a wife. Maybe that would give you a reason to stay,”   

“Don’t sweat it mother, I’ll marry my kind.” Says Vasco as he storms out of their cottage.

Just like that Vasco da Gama sets off to a journey of the unknown. He finds himself in the tropical weathers. Back home was freezing, but here. This place is different. I will try not to indulge in the stereotypical writing of Africa’s sunsets, neither will I talk of its savannah and the Maasai because there’s much more to the continent itself than starving bushmen.

I will, however, talk about Africa’s beauty in a different light-the People. They say people make culture and that the opposite is false.  I agree. Africa is vibrant because of its people. This continent became a transition point for many races after the Pangea broke. And for centuries we still find our way back. We come back to what our hearts know or longs.

Giraffe  Center is one such confluence. One tributary comes carrying friends from Athens, another brings the explorers from Korea. One loner backpacking across North America may save enough just enough to come to Kenya or a curious individual watching Ellen DeGeneres’ experience at giraffe centre may decide to pack up and come have a feel of the same.

These rivers all meet up here. That is what makes Giraffe Center special. The joy shared by those having their first giraffe kisses or lack thereof due to fear draws them to a common understanding. We pride ourselves in being matchmakers. Giving people a taste of both worlds. Some of the friendships formed here last a lifetime, so do the connections. This is why we do what we do. Bring people closer and promote universal coexistence.