Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The main entrance to the Saiwa National Park[PHOTO|Leonard Wamalwa| West Fm]
Saiwa Swamp National Park based in Trans Nzoia East District has embarked on various activities to support the neighboring communities in enhancing conservation of the environment.
The Swamp which is working in liaison with the England-based Eden Wildlife Trust Fund is supporting educational programs in schools especially the promotion of girl child education, water projects among others.
Speaking while donating a water ten thousand litre water tank to Wiyeta Girls Secondary School the coordinator of Eden wildlife Diana Kisinga said that the two bodies are focused on supporting communities living around national parks and other conservation facilities to reduce the people-wildlife conflicts that have been witnessed in many parts of the country.
"We work with the community for the purpose of helping them work with KWS and help in education and promote conservation," said Kisinga.
She said that the projects initiated in the communities in places where there is high rate of community-wildlife conflict cases is to reduce the mess and help the community learn the importance of environment conservation within their areas.
She revealed that the fund has been in the country for over twenty years around different parks including Saiwa Park, Tsavo West, Shimoni Park and Shimba Hills among others and has also worked with Saiwa Park for twelve years.
Kisinga further added that the fund's charitable work has been done both within the parks and outside in the communities and it shall continue doing more of such projects.
At the same time the Saiwa Park Warden Mary Mayende said that the community around the park had experienced conflicts with wildlife from the park and thus the park had moved out to improve the situation and bring harmony between wildlife and the surrounding people.
"Our communities around wildlife parks have suffered from wildlife destruction and we are trying to assist them to curb the problem of human-wildlife conflict because some of our animals have been jumping out of the park and causing problems in the community and therefore as KWS we are trying our level best to assist the community," said the warden.
However Mayende noted that so far none of the affected families in the community have been compensated noting that the KWS does not compensate destruction or loss of property but only compensates human deaths and injuries.
She thus urged the residents to also fully participate in conserving the environment and wildlife within the neighborhood.
On the water tank donation the school principal Roseline Iiia said that the school had for a long time faced water shortages as it depends on a nearby spring that is the only source of water for the school.
Roseline appreciated that the KShs. 84,000 water tank shall be of great help to the school and shall see even the performance of the girls improve because the time spend to search for water shall now reduce as they will use the harvested water from the roofs of the school to the new tank.
Eden Willdlife Trust Fund coodinator (center) handing over the water tank to Wiyete Girls Pringipal Roselyne and the school Chairman Rev.David Muhia as the warden looks on [PHOTO|Leonard Wamalwa|West Fm.
Ironically the school is only a couple of kilometers from the Kabolet forest where the water that serves the entire Kitale town and other parts of Western province is tapped from yet it faces water shortage sometimes.
Residents therefore took the opportunity to raise the concern and called upon the government and the water body in charge of the region to ensure that the residents living around the water source do not stay thirsty as the water benefits others hundreds of kilometers away.
Saiwa Swamp National Park is famously known for the rare Sitatunga antelopes that are conserved there among other few wildlife including the water bucks.
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