The KEEP Story
Our Kenyan Partners: Maurice and Salome Wanjala
The initial aims of KEEP are to rebuild Kipsaina village primary school and provide the school and community with a clean water bore hole. Kipsaina Primary School currently educates over 450 pupils and is set to expand. The school is in a bad state of repair. The unsealed mud floors of the school harbour crippling foot parasites called “jiggers” which can permanently disable the children that catch them. In addition, there are no sanitary latrines and water is drawn from the local swamp and must be boiled to make it drinkable. Water extraction caused by people and livestock from the wetland area is also a major cause of wildlife disturbance and degradation.
Working with Maurice, KEEP aims to transform Kipsaina Primary, not only into a clean and safe school, but into a showcase for environmental education in which children will be taught hands-on sustainable agricultural practices which will safeguard not just their own future, but the future of the wider community and the special wetland environment they live beside. We are also working to install a permanent clean water supply to the entire community of 200 households which, along with the huge health benefits, will prevent the wetlands from being disturbed. Affordable water metering will be used to generate funds for Maurice’s community work locally.
Our aims are twofold:
- To conserve, protect and improve wetlands in western Kenya, in particular but not exclusively, the Saiwa Swamp ecosystem and surrounding area.
- To advance the education of children living in the Saiwa Swamp ecosystem and surrounding area, in particular at Kipsaina Primary School, by improving their physical learning environment and promoting environmental awareness.
What are the benefits of KEEP’s aims?
- By working with our Kenyan partner organisation, KCWCG, to conserve and enhance the wetlands of Western Kenya with a focus on the Saiwa Swamp ecosystem, we will increase local biodiversity and enhance the capacity of the wetlands to reduce the impact of flood and drought on local communities and those downstream of the focus area.
- Providing clean water to the surrounding communities (both people and livestock), will prevent wildlife-disturbing incursion into the wetlands and reduce water-born sickness amongst the local population. In addition, improving waste water management and sanitation will prevent pollution of the wetlands and reduce sickness amongst the local population.
- Providing improved physical infrastructure to local schools will reduce the incidence of dust-borne parasites (jiggers) in school age children and generally enhance the learning environment.
- Providing facilities for, and a focus on, environmental education and environmental protection training to school children enlists their help in spreading the message for activities that will enhance biodiversity and wetland preservation, and promote profitable, sustainable farming practices to the school and local communities.
- Promoting sustainable farming practices will lead to an improvement in the nutritional content of school food and increase the income of local subsistence farmers. This encouragement of alternative income generation activities will act to reduce encroachment into the wetlands.
- Improvements to schools are hugely appreciated by local communities and by facilitating such work KEEP will generate a great deal of goodwill towards the wider aims of wetland conservation.
WHO WE ARE
Kipsaina Education and Environmental Partnership (KEEP) is a conservation and education charity founded in 2017 and registered with the UK Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
Our aims are to protect the wetlands of Western Kenya, in particular around the Saiwa Swamp ecosystem, and to advance the education of schoolchildren in the surrounding area, initially at Kipsaina Primary School.
The charity has a board of three trustees: