Close up of a smiling Kenyan school boy in blue uniform

International Education: Kenya

Education in Kenya

In Kenya, our education programme focuses on schoolbased conservation clubs and community work around Amboseli National Park and Meru Conservation Area. This holistic conservation education approach supports both people and wildlife. 

If we are to enable lasting change for wildlife, we must address both the human and environmental challenges faced by the communities living alongside wild places. We can start to help communities find their own solutions to their most significant challenges, with the aim of reducing the barriers to behaviour change while imparting the necessary knowledge to change attitudes and foster a love of the natural world.  

While the wildlife led us there, the people and communities have driven us to adapt our methods and build lasting partnerships. We aim to leave behind a generation that will value wild animals as we do.

Phoebe Odhiang, Education Programmes Leader

Conservation Clubs

Kenyan students in a classroom with a teacher stood in front of a blackboard

A Born Free Conservation Club at Enchoro Enkia primary school, near Kimana

With a teaching outline closely linked to the Kenyan National Curriculum this programme seeks to combine talks, the use of films and videos, art, creative thinking, drama, songs, dance and essay writing with practical activities and challenges. These include tree planting, identification of animals in the immediate environment, and visits to protected areas that conserve wildlife. All of this goes hand-in-hand with student and school welfare and infrastructure support to ensure that the learning environment meets the needs of the students.  

One Health

A woman sits with a blood pressure monitor on her arm at a medical camp in Kenya

A Born Free and Department of Public Health mobile medical camp in Meru

Based around Meru National Park, this project focuses on a holistic approach to sustainable development, reflecting the synergies between a healthy environment and healthy local human communities. 

By providing preventive and curative health services as part of a community welfare, livelihood improvement and sensitisation programme we can enable communities to become more resilient and better able to cope with environmental challenges. 

Activities include: 

  • Mobile medical camps 
  • Community engagement and environmental education 
  • School health education and outreach 
  • Capacity building for Community Health Volunteers and public health professionals 
  • Stakeholder meetings to build and maintain partnerships 
  • Raise awareness via radio and TV broadcasting 
  • Supporting surrounding clinics with anti-venom and rabies medication 
  • Community awareness sessions on public health issues, environmental health and lifestyle disease prevention

These activities are delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Health for Kenya, Meru County Government, Department of Public Health, who provide the technical health component of the project.  

Meru water catchment protection and conservation project

A large group of Kenyan people sit around in a circle while a main stands in the middle giving a talk

A Water Stakeholders Meeting in Meru

Rural communities around Meru National Park face many challenges, including the impact of the drought experienced in 2022. Unfortunately, competition for water resources not only impacts relationships between communities and individuals but also is one of the drivers of human-wildlife conflict. High abstraction (water removal from springs and rivers) outside the park means wildlife is forced to enter community land to find food. This frequently results in danger to people and animals alike, elephant damage to crops and decreasing tolerance. 

Between 2020 and 2021, with the help of an independent hydrological consultant, a survey was conducted to determine the current water situation. Based on the findings of this report, and working with Kenya’s Water Resource Authority, we are helping communities to take control of their water use through locally appropriate, community led management plans, to help them manage their water resources more sustainability, in a way that benefits both people and wildlife in a time of diminishing water availability.  

Elephant behaviour workshops

Born Free team members dressed in elephant puppet outfits

Born Free team demonstrating elephant behaviours to community members in Meru

To address an identified need for increased knowledge about elephant behaviour, we have been working with No Strings International to create elephant behaviour workshops, using puppetry, for the communities we work with in Kenya. The aim is to improve knowledge about and attitudes towards wildlife while reducing the impact of human-elephant conflict. 

Sanitary pad support for adolescent girls in Amboseli schools

By taking care of the needs of people we create an enabling environment and a platform for conservation messaging. Like many other adolescent girls in marginalised communities, some of the girls in our partner schools lack the necessary resources to purchase sanitary pads, leading to monthly school absences that affect their academic performance and future prospects. By providing them with an annual supply of sanitary pads, soap, underwear and key knowledge about menstrual health, we hope to keep the girls in school and give them a better chance in the future.  

It has been shown that women are pivotal in the sustainable use of natural resources and therefore by supporting their education we can help care for the local environment, and its wildlife, in the long term.   

Team: Phoebe Odhiang, Education Programmes Leader; Charles Njoroge, Community Officer; Nicholas Bii, Education Assistant Meru; and Elizabeth Yiambaine, Education Officer Amboseli.