Kanjoo School clean up

Ivy Malemba, from our Born Free Kenya team, reports on an exciting new initiative at Kanjoo Secondary School to carefully dispose of rubbish and thus help protect wild habitats.  

A group of school children standing next to an area of land which they have cleared

Pupils standing next to the waste pit area after cleaning and levelling has taken place

A man standing next to a rubbish-filled area of land

Kanjoo school waste pit before cleaning

Kanjoo Secondary School is one of our partner schools bordering Meru National Park, in eastern Kenya. Here, Born Free works with local communities to protect threatened wildlife including lions, elephants and giraffes. The school, which started in 2016, receives students from a three-mile (5km) radius and has over 250 pupils.  

Born Free provides the school’s Conservation Club, where 50 students learn about protecting wild animals and how their own behaviour can have an impact. One such issue is waste management. Born Free had previously donated waste bins to the school but, it was a challenge to know what was appropriate to put in them and how to dispose of the rubbish, once bins were full.

Unlike Nairobi, there is no waste collection in Kanjoo village, so all rubbish was commonly put in a pit. But then, unfortunately, the pit area became very untidy, rubbish blew away, and waste was not being separated, so paper, plastics, metal, clothes and dust from classes were all put in one place, filling the pit within a very short time.

Students wearing masks and gloves digging out the waste pit

Cleaning and filling the unused pit

So, working together, Born Free’s Education Officer, Nicholas Bii, along with Moses Nyaga and Victor Cheruiyot from our Pride of Meru lion team, together with the school Conservation Club, came up with a solution. They would first clear the existing pit area and devise a plan to separate waste, providing each classroom with a waste bin and assigning a student to be in charge of each one. After Conservation Club members had explained the importance of waste separation to each class, a new pit would be dug and fenced off to prevent rubbish being dispersed by wind.

We hope to change the attitudes of students and teachers to rubbish disposal, and will be evaluating this work up to the end of 2023. We then hope to replicate successful activities within other schools, and will report back!