Benefits of Save the Elephants to the Sagalla Community
Report written by our Kenyan Intern, Peter Ochieng
Sagalla is located in Voi Constituency, Taita Taveta County. The Sagalla community has a long history of human-elephant conflict. A community is a group of people living in a geographic area, with ties of kinship and marriage, have complex characteristics of knowledge and habitats and share interest and control resource.
The Elephants and Bees Project has had a significant impact on the Sagalla community, some of which include:
- Employment – The Elephants and Bees Project has helped create jobs for the community members, some of who have been employed as permanent staff or as casual workers.
- Infrastructure development and improvement –The Elephants and Bees Project has helped in the development and improvement of infrastructure in the area. For instance, with the help of funding from generous donors, the project was able to open a community library in Kileva Primary School. They have also donated water tanks and desks to the school.
- Improved livelihoods – The honey bees don’t just deter elephants in the farms, they also provide honey which the farmers sell to the Elephants and Bees Project. This helps supplement their income and improves their standards of living.
- Scholarships – Save the Elephants has a scholarship programme where they offer scholarships to bright students from low-income families. By investing in these students, they are investing in the community. Margret, a class 8 pupil at Kileva Primary School in Sagalla was awarded a scholarship this year and we are expecting great things from this bright young lady.
- Schools and Education Program – There is a need for environmental awareness cannot, especially for young children in areas experiencing recurrent wildlife-human conflict like Sagalla. For that reason, environmental education classes are carried out in the nearby Kileva Primary School. This is helping create conservation ambassadors who will continue teaching the community the importance of environmental conservation.
- Reduction of Human-elephant conflict – In Sagalla area, elephant-human conflict is nothing new as elephants would frequently break into farms and destroy their crops leaving them with very little or nothing at all. Save the Elephants head of the human-elephant co-existence programme, Dr. Lucy King came up with the idea of using honey bees to deter elephants by setting up beehives fences around the farms. This has greatly reduced the cases of human-elephant conflict in the area.
The community members are also involved in other different capacities. The approaches to enhance community participation in the project’s activities include;
- Promotion of public awareness. Different community members come together and get educated through seminars, workshops, and village meetings or even at the school for the discussion of matters arising.
- Support of the community projects. When the communities come up with projects, the project offers support to help them grow.
- Involvement of community leaders. The community leaders are always consulted and are considered an integral part of the project.