Our intern’s scholarship to Yale University

Blog by Dr Lucy King

We are so thrilled to announce that our long term Elephants and Bees intern, Robert Mwehe, has secured a fantastic scholarship to do a Masters degree at Yale University in the USA! He will be joining the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at the end of July 2014 to study Environmental Management. This is a complete dream come true for Robert and we could not be more excited for him.

Robert is a graduate from Nairobi University (he got a BSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation) and was selected as a supported intern for a 6 week placement on the Save the Elephants’ Elephants and Bees Project between June and August 2012. During his internship we built an extra 6 beehive fences with a grant from The Rufford Foundation and support from Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund. He was with myself and 4 other interns at the time and he was very pro-active on the project and learned fast. He didn’t return to Nairobi afterwards but stayed down in Tsavo to look for work opportunities with his old intern placement (Kasigau Conservation Trust) and in that time set up, and is now running, his own basket weaving enterprise to support women who are suffering from human-elephant conflict to make alternative livelihood income from their sisal plants.

Since August 2012 every time I have come down to Tsavo to visit the project for any length of time I have called him up and he has joined
me on site from Kasigau (just 1 hour away) to help myself, Wilson and our local field assistant Nzumu to maintain and monitor the beehive fences. His main role has been overseeing the beehive fence maintenance, honey harvesting, placing super boxes on, liaising with the community and generally keeping on top of the work. He tends to head back to Kasigau every weekend to work on his basket project with
the women there. He has also assisted when our Disney partners have been on site and was a successful field assistant for Anna Sekallariadis when she came to the project to complete her MSc from Yale on attitudes and perceptions of our beehive fence farmers. This contact is what finally led him to applying for one of the precious scholarships at Yale where he will be studying the human
 dimensions of human-wildlife conflict.

Robert has been awarded a full scholarship to cover his tuition fees at Yale and a small extra amount to pay for his first two months of board and lodging but he is a tantalizing US$13,000 short of the full amount he will need for his flights and living expenses for the rest of the year. We would be very grateful for any support or donations from readers of STE’s The Monthly Trumpet towards our fundraising efforts to send this exceptional young Kenyan conservationist to Yale. Please click on this link http://www.savetheelephants.org/donations.html for how to make a donation to Save the Elephants for Robert’s Yale appeal or email lucy@savetheelephants.org for help on how to make a contribution to his fundraising efforts. Many thanks!

Robert in bee suit

 

Robert in his beesuit helping to train farmers on beehive fence maintenance in Sagalla, next to Tsavo East National Park. Robert has been an intern with Save the Elephants’ Elephants and Bees Project since mid 2012.

 

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