Conservation of Kaya Mtswakara and Gandini through Knowledge Transfer and Conservation Education Awareness
Conservation of Kaya Mtswakara and Gandini through Knowledge Transfer and Conservation Education Awareness
1.1. Project Summary
Kaya forests are important to biodiversity locally and globally as well as playing a significant role in the conservation of biodiversity and preservation of the local traditional culture and heritage. However, these kayas are faced with several challenges that threaten their continued existence. These threats include the declining respect of traditional management systems and practices, limited knowledge of values and importance of Kaya forests, and lack of alternative income to the local communities as envisaged in the Kaya Forest Adaptive Strategy .

The declining respect for the cultural and traditional practices that were central to the conservation of kayas has been attributed to a lack of knowledge and awareness on biodiversity conservation. The young generation no longer appreciates the kaya elders and cultural heritage practices which they perceive are old fashioned. This has led to the marked departure from traditional dances, storytelling, and songs, which have led to the loss of valuable knowledge. This has increased the vulnerability of the kayas to degradation and loss of their biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The proposal seeks to conserve the remaining patches of Kaya Mtswakara and Gandini through knowledge transfer and creation of education awareness as an extension of a similar project that ran from 2019-2021 (GEF SGP phase 6). To achieve this, several activities will be carried out to reteach culture and conservation history through community workshops & training, holding school education workshops and visits to the Kaya Mtswakara. The project targets school children aged between 8-17 years and two community groups who form the bulk of the future generation.
The project will be implemented in partnership with Kenya Forest Services (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Services, the County Government of Kwale, schools and Kaya elders.

1.2. Summary of 1st Project and Relevant Linkages.

The 1st project sought to save the remaining patches of the Kaya Mtswakara and Gandini and their buffer zone of 5 kilometres radius. There is a dire need to save the remaining patches of the indigenous coastal forests due to their biodiversity and cultural value. These forests are home to several species of global significance that include monkeys and birds. Over the last few decades, the kayas and their buffer zone areas have experienced sustained and continuous overexploitation of resources. This has been contributed by a lack of knowledge and awareness about the biodiversity value of the forest and declining respect for the traditional practices. Before the project’s inception, little had been done to facilitate knowledge transfer, create awareness on conservation and assess the biodiversity significance of the kayas. This project enhanced the capacity of school children and the community members within the buffer zones to address conservation issues, which was achieved through traditional knowledge transfer, conservation education among school children and youths, and conducting biodiversity monitoring activities such as conducting primate census (Colobus monkeys). Local youth received training on biodiversity monitoring specifically on conducting colobus monkey census. Education workshops on conservation and reforestation targeted 9 schools from the two kayas.

This project contributed to the achievement of outcomes 1 and 4 of the Mijikenda landscape strategy for supporting the restoration of traditional cultural conservation practices and systems of Kaya forest ecosystems, biodiversity and institution capacity building . Likewise, the project contributed to the fulfilment of the Sixth Operational Phase of the GEF Small Grants Programme, outcome 1.2: ‘Ecosystem and biodiversity conservation enhanced community-based interventions in the target landscapes. In our case, creation of awareness on conservation education’; and outcome 2.2: ‘Knowledge enhancement among community groups and learning was documented, disseminated and made available to policymakers at the Kwale County Government ’.

The proposed project is aligned to Kenya’s Constitution and Vision 2030 that is geared towards socio-economic and cultural development, hence appreciating the linkages between biodiversity enhancement and preservation of culture in the management of forests for sustainable development. The restoration of cultural integrity and respect for kayas will enhance knowledge among scholars besides spurring their participation in cultural heritage preservation for prosperity.

1.3. Project Objectives and Expected Results

1. To enhance traditional knowledge transfer through traditional and cultural practices in Kaya Mtswakara
2. To enhance awareness on conservation education among school children in Kaya Mtswakara
3. To promote conservation outreach and engagement among community groups in Kaya Mtswakara and Gandini

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Project Snapshot

Colobus Conservation
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 8,246.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Nancy Chege
(254-20) 7624473
(254-20) 621076


UNDP, P.O. Box 30218
Nairobi, 00100