The Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-tourism Scheme (ASSETS) is a bold and exiting Programme on the north Kenya coast. ASSETS channels benefits from eco-tourism directly to local children where it is most needed – education – while at the same time conserving some of Africa’s moat precious and rare habitats.
A Special Place ….. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and the neighboring Mida Creek support some of Africa’s rarest wild life. Arabuko-Sokoke is the largest area of natural coastal forest left in East Africa. The forest holds up to 90% of the world’s population of Golden-Ramped Sengi (Elephant shrew). It is also home to Africa’s smallest owl, the Globally Endangered Sokoke Scops Owl.
Mida Creek is a beautiful tidal inlet fringed with mangrove forest. It is a critical breeding ground for many fish and a feeding area for young sea turtles. It is also home for thousands of migrating European and Asian birds during the northern winter including the unique Crab-plover and about 200 greater flamingos.
A people in need…. In Kenya, although primary school education is now free, 90% of the children in Malindi District are unable to attend secondary school, largely due to the expense of school fees. Rural people depend heavily on their local environment for survival. Under pressure for secondary school fees, they are forced to exploit natural resources to pay for their children’s education. It is hardly surprising that these resources cannot stretch far enough.
An ASSET for children and Nature
ASSETS helps relieve pressure on people living beside Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek through providing secondary school scholarships funded by eco-tourism in the surrounding area. Eco-tourism facilities provide visitors with a stimulating and memorable experience of nature and encourage local people to value the forest and creek.
ASSETS beneficiaries not only receive financial support for their education, but are also involved in environmental education and practical nature conservation activities, such as tree planting and reporting illegal activities.
How can you help? You can support ASSETS by visiting the Board-Walk and Bird Hide at Mida Creek and Tree Platform and Nature Trail in the forest. Built with funds from GEF (UNDP), all proceeds from your entry fees and donations go into the ASSETS school fund. By giving to ASSETS, needy children living around the forest and creek have a chance to go to secondary school.