We recognise that Grevy’s zebra conservation cannot be viewed in isolation from people: the fates of Grevy’s zebra and human livelihoods are inextricably tied to the fragile ecosystem that they both inhabit. We therefore invest in extensive community outreach to empower communities to undertake their own environmental stewardship.
The goal of our community outreach workshops is to disseminate conservation knowledge to empower community members with the necessary information to make informed decisions about conservation, land, livestock and wildlife issues. The workshops give the community an opportunity to develop a Community Action Plan overseen by a Core Group.
Our Community Workshops consist of four one-day workshops. The first three workshops split community members by social group: warriors, elders and women. The social groups are separated to allow for each group to be included in the decision making process. The first part of these workshops teaches the following subjects: Grevy’s zebra ecology, cultural knowledge and general conservation; GZT Activities; and Holistic Management. With this background the participants are guided through developing a ‘Problem Tree’ summarizing the problems facing their community. After that they create a ‘Solution Tree’ from which they can develop their Community Action Plan.
Each social group nominates representatives to sit on the Core Group. The fourth workshop then works with the Core Group to synthesise the different components of their suggested actions and to develop a comprehensive Community Action Plan.
Our community workshops are extremely successful in sharing GZT information and providing an opportunity for community members to learn about conservation. We follow up with and support the Core Group in their plans and provide guidance as needed.
Our community outreach evaluation has shown that conservation awareness significantly increases among workshop participants. For example, following one community workshop, we received a call from a woman who attended. She said that the women in her area were making better observations of their environment. She reported seeing lions with cubs at the junction of the Ewaso River. She also mentioned noticing some birds! She said these are things that she rarely noticed before the workshop.
Grevy’s Zebra Heroes
We are soon launching our new Grevy’s Zebra Heroes Program! This program recognises the work of community members who go out of their way to help Grevy’s zebra. An example is of two young herders who found a badly injured Grevy’s zebra. They ensured that the incident was communicated to our field office through one of our Grevy’s Zebra Scouts and stayed with the animal all day until we were able to arrive at the scene.
We want to reward these acts of compassion and recognise the conservation hero in everyday people. We will therefore be holding bi-annual ceremonies where Grevy’s Zebra Heroes will receive a medal in recognition of their dedication to Grevy’s zebra conservation.