The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a privately owned, not-for-profit wildlife conservation area in northern Kenya. Home to many threatened species including critically endangered black rhino, endangered Grevy’s zebra, and elephant, cheetah, lion and leopard, its activities focus on protection of species, support for community development, and environmental education in neighbouring areas. The community programme is based on in-depth consultations with the rural population to secure their participation in the scheme and guarantee that tangible benefits of wildlife conservation reach the local people.
Lewa’s Community Healthcare Programme includes four clinics which meet around 90% of the healthcare needs of Lewa staff and local communities. In 2016 nearly 40,000 people received healthcare attention from these facilities, for issues ranging from minor diseases and injuries to parasite infections, family planning, cancer screening and HIV-AIDS. The Community Water Management programme assists with water distribution and conservation for agriculture, domestic use, and livestock. More than ten of these projects have been implemented, improving the living standards of over 15,000 people. The Women’s Micro Credit Programme supports over 1,800 rural women with access to low-interest loans so they can start enterprises that improve their families’ livelihoods. Other programmes address community forestry, agricultural development and sports events.
Tusk works closely with Lewa’s community programmes and through the annual Safaricom Marathon has provided valuable funding to install sustainable water systems and to refurbish a number of schools for Lewa’s outlying communities. We have also supported Lewa’s field conservation and education activities.
Lewa’s community work is a vital part of its integrated conservation model, and essential for sharing conservation benefits with the local people. With a growing human population around the park, funds for further development are always needed.
Image Credits: Womens Microcredit © Amunga Eshuchi