Beneficiary meetings

Over the last couple weeks,The Assets team has been going all round the forest to have beneficiary meetings.The meetings was to remind the students benefiting from the scheme of the conditions for their bursary to continue. Along with that,parents were also in the meeting to hear and also have a meeting about the CFA structure and how they will slightly change the way they do things.

All the beneficiaries had been visited after six days and on 18th the meetings, ended with Bogamachuko being the last one.

It was quite interesting to see how passionate the parents received the CFA news and how it would make a positive difference in their activities.


The meetings brought alot of debates and discussions especially about students    discipline. MrSuleman Bakari gave alot of inspiring examples of how the parents and the students can work together and how both can improve .


ASSETS Plot Beginning to Develop!

The Gede ASSETS plot has been full of activity as we near the end of the year. In addition to building materials being dropped off for the new ASSETS offices, and eventually a conference center, we have also hired a permanent team member, Jimmy, to live on the plot and help manage the land, as well as look after our conservation agriculture demonstration fields.  Last week a team from Mwamba spent the better part of the morning marking out the permanent fiels for our demonstration fields. Jimmy had done  a wonderful job of clearing a massive mango tree stump which was in the middle of one of our fields, as well as leveling the terrain. For the first time, we have six 6x6 meter fields marked out, side by side, ready to be prepared for planting when the long rains come in April/May. In addition to marking out the fields, a permanent composting station was also measure and marked out for construction, hopefully to be completely set up this week. If all goes according to plan, we should have enough compost to plant a whole acre of maize, which is more what we will need in one season of planting. We will have plenty of excess to store for future planting seasons. Plans are also in place to put a rainwater harvesting tank on the house Jimmy is living in to provide water for irrigation, enabeling us to maintain our demostration shamba's year round.

We are hoping to grow a number of different local and more traditional crops this year, in addition to maize to introduce crop rotations as well as cover crops and fodder crops. It is a huge blessing to have Jimmy living on-site to watch after the place, and hopefully this year we will have a plentiful harvest. 

Muvera Wa ASSETS

Muvera wa ASSETS  is an association of the parents of the beneficiaries of the Assets programme .It was formed in 2006 after the first Assets beneficiaries graduated from secondary school.The main aim of forming this association was to improve the benefits already received from the Assets programme,the name''Muvera''  is  a giriama word meaning ''Thanks''.This group now has over 100 members from all the 10 schools that are in the Assets programme. Over the past few years there were problems in the registration of this association because of a lack of a good forest management plan.This has changed since the Arabuko-Sokoke  forest,forest   management plan was launched couple months ago and it has three regions which are, Gede, Jilore and Sokoke Community Forest Associations (CFA) . Now the Muvera wa ASSETS association in the Gede region has been registered. The gede group comprises of Mida, Mijomboni, Mzizima and Chipande.

Last week we visited the four groups to explain to them the whole registration issue and how this brings an avenue of how the group can come up with eco-tourism projects for their benefits.The meetings were very well attended and we had 30 members all together.Stanley and Mr Suliman(one of the Assets Commitee member) were there to explain the registration issue


Assets Second camp

The assets second camp was on from 28th of August and ended yesterday 30th August.It was a three day camp with alot of activities just like the first camp.The students who are first year beneficiaries got to learn about the environment and conservation.A total of 20 students and a teacher and a parent were in this camp. The first day the students were taken to the Mwamba nature trail where they learnt more about tree species and the general biodiversity of the mwanba little forest.

Thereafter there was an introduction part and this second camp was lucky to have two Assets university graduates who gave alot of encouragement to the students.

Later that day there was a talk on education and discipline by one of the Assets committee members(Mr Julius Mwawiswa).Mr Mwawiswa talked and quoted verses from the bible to give emphasis on his talk.Again the students were lucky to get a talk fromMr Rafael Magambo, the National director of A Rocha Kenya.Mr Rafael gave them sound advice on being morally upright and conservation.














It was time for games and two groups were formed,SIMBA(lion) and NYATI(buffalo).The first game was filling an empty bottle with water using hands from one member to the last.This was by giving water using the hands, then to the other member the same way until the last member who takes the water in the botlle. Nyati emerged the winners.It was then football where we had a great encounter and simba won 1-0.

In the evening the students watched a movie (finding nemo) before they went to bed.

Day two of the camp saw the students going for snorkelling after the morning glory and a powerpoint presentation from Benjo.Snorkelling  was a great experience for the students whose majority had not been in water.Mr Robert Sluka and Benjamin cowburn who are the marine biologists at mwamba led the students on this wonderful part of marine life.Students were able to see corals and different types of fish.

After snorkelling Mr Stanley gave a powerpoint presentation on drugs and HIV Aids.We later went to the Watamu turtle watch(WTW) where the students learnt alot  about turtles. We later went to games.After a tough match which ended on a 1-1 draw we went to penalties.Nine penalties were taken from both sides and Simba won 2-1.In the evening we had a session of bible study and a session of quiz in which simba won, before they went to bed

After a bird ringing session led by the director of conservation and reserch,A Rocha Kenya, Mr Collin Jackson, the last day was full of movements.The students were taken to the two eco-facilities where the bursaries come from.Mida creek was the first place they visited and were happy to learn the various species of mangroove.They were very amazed by the different species and their long biological names .They went on to climb the boardwalk. Few of them were very afraid of its shaky nature but got encouraged by their fellow students.

The second movement was visiting the Gede ruins tree platform. Here the students had a lot of fun on the platform after a tour of the ruins.

The students returned to mwamba for lunch.After lunch we had a recap of the camp and a short final quiz. The points were calculated and Simba became the overal winnere with 23.5 points and Nyati had 23 points.Prizes were awarded to the winning group.The losing group also got consolation prizes.The teacher and the parent who attended the camp were also awarded prizes. The camp ended with a prayer from one of the students and then they were shown a slideshow of all the photos taken during their stay.At 3:20 the students left mwamba.

Collecting sand dune forest tree seeds for planting

As the year begins, the ASSETS programme also has a major role to play in Conservation - the core purpose that we as the A Rocha Kenya team have with the rare and often threatened local flora and fauna.  This part of the programme involves the community members around Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek. They take part in tree planting activities, first through maintaining a tree nursery from which seedlings will be taken for forest enrichment in some parts of the forest that have been severely degraded due to cutting and burning of the forest. Yesterday the ASSETS Conservation Assistant, Bimbo Msafiri, was collecting some seeds from the indigenous sand dune forest Mimusops obstifolia (Mng’ambo kapehe in the local language) for the nursery from our very own tree in the grounds of Mwamba Field Study Centre. The buildings were originally built in amongst the mature sand dune forest that once stretched the entire length of the Watamu headland but for which there are only pockets remaining. We're privileged to still have some of that forest around the house and in our nature trail.

IMG_0533 Bimbo under the Mimusops tree having collected fallen seeds...

IMG_0534Seeds of the Mimusops obtusifolia for the tree nursery

Letter from an ASSETS student

We recently received this letter from a grateful ASSETS student which was a real encouragement to us and was great to hear how the eco-bursary scheme has really made a difference in his life. Dear Sir/Madam,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ hoping that you are going on well. With me I thank the lord for the protection which he had given me so far.

The main aim of writing this letter is to thank you for giving me assistance during my schooling time by paying my school fees at Dr. Krapf Secondary School. I highly appreciate your efforts of ensuring the needy students get the chance of continuing with their education by giving school fees assistance.

I completed my four years well and managed to get a mean grade of C plain KCSE in which I have attached the results slip.

I say thanks for the whole support you gave me in my education and I pray that God would shower you with blessings and giving more resources in your bid of helping the other students who are beneficiaries.

Once again I salute you for your good work and may the Lord be with you all the time. Bye.

Yours Faithfully,

Benson Safari

We continue to be really grateful to God for his goodness in helping us assist these incredibly needy children to get to Secondary school. There are still many out there that need help. By sending a child to school with an ASSETS bursary we not only give the child their school fees, but do a lot of follow up with them and their families to make sure their studies are going well and that they have understood the importance of caring for the forest and creek.

All of this - the fees, the follow up costs including transport and salaries of staff critical to the whole process - only costs a mere $24 per month. If you would be interested to help and sponsor a child or simply give regularly to what I believe is an awesome project, please do so!

ASSETS beneficiary day #5 A group of ASSETS beneficiaries at one of the follow up events for students during the holidays.

If you would like to know how to donate then please do so through the A Rocha donations page - until we have the 'Donate' button functioning again on this blog.

Assessment for Eco-bursaries

Friday 10th March 2010; for the first time in 3 years I rode my iron horse (Yamaha 125cc motorbike) again. Perhaps this time round I wasn’t half as confident as I would have been 3 years ago before the accident that rendered my left wrist stiff. Today the ASSETS team started the process of assessing new students to receive bursaries from the ASSETS eco-bursary scheme. I was assigned the school on the farthest side of the forest (Bogamachuko) where ten students needed assessment. By 10.30 a.m. I am sitting in the head-teacher’s office seeking assistance with directions of where the candidates come from. After drawing a sketch map of roughly where all the students live, I move on starting with the furthest of all, Mwadziwe S. Wale. The process of assessment students for awarding ASSETS eco-bursaries is always such a humbling exercise. Here one encounters some of the most desperate financial statuses you can imagine. The sight of poverty, hunger, malnutrition and despair makes one feel not only wealthy riding a motorbike but also wildly extravagant. The most encouraging thing today has been that parents have really struggled and sent most of the students to school in the hope that ASSETS will come in their aid sooner. You can always tell they have been waiting for someone from ASSETS as soon as you introduce yourself to the very humble folks, as though saying uh, at here last! Jane Sadaka