The Koiyaki Guiding School
The Koiyaki Guiding School is situated on the Koiyaki Group Ranch neighbouring the Maasai Mara National Reserve in southern Kenya. The school was established in 2005 with the help of Tusk to educate the local Maasai in the tourism industry and other nature based enterprises, thereby providing employment opportunities and promoting and encouraging the long-term conservation of the unique Maasai Mara ecosystem.
At a time when group ranches in the Mara region are being privatised and tenure is shifting from group to individual ownership, there is now intense pressure to break down this internationally important region into pockets of land (60 acre plots) for alternative uses, including agriculture and settlement. Already the spread of human settlement into prime wildlife habitats has reduced the animal population and distribution of predators in the area. Bush fires, poaching for meat, illegal cutting down of trees and small-scale farming are all on the increase. The Koiyaki Guiding School has been formed by the community in an attempt to halt this decline and to educate their own Maasai youth about the importance of Mara ecosystem, and how, by taking a holistic approach to conservation the region can be managed for the mutual benefit of the community and its wildlife.
Koiyaki Guide School and Wilderness Camp
The school was built with initial funding from the European Union Biodiversity Conservation Programme and Tusk Trust. It is made up of two large buildings, housing a classroom, library, mess area, dormitories and administrative offices. Its annual intake of 24 students must complete a year’s course which includes every aspect of guiding from ecology, to camp management and first aid. Each student needs to secure US$2,300 for their place. Every year approximately 85% of students receive bursaries from key hotels and camp operators in the Mara who have recognized the huge need for employing local Maasai (traditionally 80% of guides come from elsewhere in Kenya) and the positive contribution it can make to safeguard the future of the Mara and its tourism industry.
Last year the project embarked on the construction and opening of the Koiyaki Wilderness Camp, which has been located within walking distance of the Guiding School. The affiliated education orientated eco-camp has two important roles; firstly to give the trainee guides hands on experience with camp management and provide crucial work experience. Secondly, the Wilderness Camp will ultimately finance and provide long-term financial security for the Guiding School. The local community is also a direct beneficiary of the revenue generated by the camp – further demonstrating the benefits of eco-tourism and conservation towards their future prosperity.
Tusk Trust Support
Tusk has supported the Koiyaki Guiding School since its inception providing essential funding towards its annual operating costs, water tanks, instructor salaries and equipment. Furthermore Tusk has acted as a charitable conduit for a number of international donors who have sponsored the student bursaries. From the outset Tusk was impressed by the commitment of the Koiyaki Lemek community, which pledged five million Kenya shillings as a contribution from their safari viewing fees to help finance the building of the School and the Wilderness Camp. The expectation is for the Guide School to become self-financing by the end of 2010. Thanks to a donation from the Dulverton Trust, Tusk has funded the shortfall in the schools budget for 08/09.
PRINCE WILLIAM GIVES HIS NAME TO TOP AFRICAN CONSERVATION AWARD. Prince William is to give his name to a new lifetime achievement award, which will recognise the outstanding work of a t... More ...
HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFRA, WILL HOST A CONFERENCE ON 21ST MAY TO CALL FOR ACTION TO STOP ILLEGAL TRADE IN WILDLIFE. In recent months, poaching of elephants and rhinos has reached epidemic levels. Wildlife experts indicate the losses hav... More ...
Upcoming Tusk Events
Join our growing online community on facebook to keep up-to-date with our news