Muvera wa ASSETS
Muvera means gratitude in the local language of the people living at the coast of Kenya. The beneficiaries of the ASSETS Eco-bursary scheme formed a conservation association and named it “Muvera wa ASSETS” (meaning “our gratitude to ASSETS). This happened after the first lot of beneficiaries graduated from secondary school with support from ASSETS, clearly demonstrating the potential of Eco-tourism as a viable alternative source of income for the local people.
The association’s main objective is to seek alternative sources of livelihoods as a way of reducing pressure on Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek whilst participating in restoration of these ecosystem. Members are involved in tree nursery establishment, agro-forestry, Conservation Farming and forest and mangrove restoration programmes. Through these activities, the association has raised and planted close to half a million trees in their homes, the forest and Mida Creek. The beneficiaries are also pursuing further eco-tourism ventures to support the children in their post-secondary school education and training.
Following the enactment of the new forest act, which provided for community participation in utilization, management and protection of the forest, three Community Forest Associations (CFA’s) were formed in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, in accordance with the new law. Muvera therefore became a registered member in each of the three CFAs as a user group giving them a stake in the decisions making processes regarding these resources.
Muvera wa ASSETS is organized as several community groups from different villages all around the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest which are clustered into three main groups. The group has over 130 members from all the 10 schools that are in the Assets program, who prepare Nursery beds in their respective areas then plant some in the schools and the rest of the seedlings is distributedamongstthemselves and are plantedin their homes. Besides being a conservation oriented group, within their meetings, they also discuss issues of appropriate technology such as energy saving jikos, water harvesting techniques, good farming practices among other matters.
Some of the projects by ASSETS include the board walk in Mida creek and the tree platform in Gede ruins. These two Eco facilities were set up to collect funds through Eco tourism. The funds are then used for bursaries for the children’s secondary education.