The conservancies of Songa, Shurr and Jaldesa surround the wildlife-rich Mt. Marsabit forest. A stronghold for elephants and indigenous trees, the forest is also an important water catchment area for the communities living in its foothills. Making direct links between conservation and livelihoods improvement has been vital in securing community support for conservancy operations, and elephant protection initiatives. One tangible example of this for communities here has been support education.
With assistance from Liz and Alex Hoctor- Duncan and TUSK, three schools in Shurr, Jaldesa and Songa received school uniforms, food for the canteen, additional infrastructure and classroom equipment.
School uniforms have reportedly improved the student’s self-esteem and sense of belonging, while the food rations have seen a marked improvement in student’s academic performance and school retention rates. Improved infrastructure has not only boosted hygiene and sanitation at the schools, but also lead to more parental engagement, and engagement from government and private sector partners.