Experience at the Oceans Alive Marine Conservation Hub
It's hard to comprehend how quickly time passes, and it's been a whole month since I became a part of the Marine Hub at the School of Wildlife Conservation in Kuruwitu. I'm thrilled to report that my time there has been truly impactful, filled with unforgettable moments that have left me feeling informed, inspired and motivated.
During the first week, my focus was on adjusting to my new surroundings and building relationships with my fellow students. The most memorable part of the week was when we had the chance to meet the Oceans Alive team, who shared with us their remarkable efforts in marine conservation. We also had the opportunity to go snorkeling in the Marine Protected Area and witness some of the most stunning fish species I've ever seen. It was truly remarkable to see how nature thrives when left untouched. I felt immensely grateful for the chance to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the underwater world.
During the second week, we contributed to the coral restoration program by deploying coral tables into the ocean. The concept behind these structures is to provide a stable foundation for coral growth in regions where natural coral reefs have suffered damage or destruction. The coral larvae can adhere to these tables, and as they mature, they develop into full-grown coral colonies, thus helping to rebuild and revitalize the coral ecosystems.
The most remarkable experience of the week was our visit to the Futures Hope Montessori School, a local institution in collaboration with Oceans Alive. The school caters to students from impoverished backgrounds who lack the means to receive education. Additionally, they offer 24/7/365 feeding programs and provide support to children who are HIV positive or orphans. During our visit, we had the opportunity to engage in fun activities, sing and learn with the students, which proved to be an enriching experience.
During the third week - together with the permaculture department - we visited the community to teach women about climate-smart kitchen gardening. Women in this area frequently confront challenges such as food insecurity, restricted economic prospects, and poor health outcomes. By participating in the permaculture program for kitchen gardening, women in Kilifi can cultivate their fruits and vegetables, ensuring a steady supply of fresh and nutritious food for their families and enhancing their food security. Additionally, they can generate income by selling any surplus produce, contributing to their economic empowerment and enhancing their financial stability.
We also participated in a beach clean-up with the local community as part of an effort to prevent the extinction of turtles. These ancient creatures face significant threats from plastic pollution, which can physically harm them and disrupt their habitats and food sources. We collected plastic waste and other debris from the beaches and adjacent regions, preventing it from entering the ocean and causing harm to marine life. Our team successfully gathered over 180 kilograms of plastic waste during this beach clean-up.
It is crucial to educate communities about the hazards of plastic pollution and emphasize the significance of conservation initiatives for protecting sea turtles. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and willingness to learn exhibited by the women and men of Kuruwitu. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with the Oceans Alive community to produce an impact film that showcases their efforts.
Week 4 was an exceptionally thrilling experience for me as I traveled to Nairobi to attend the Mombasa Plastics Prize Hackathon. The event focuses on developing innovative solutions to combat the issue of plastic waste mismanagement in informal settlements. Collaborating with a team of exceptional individuals from Mombasa, I am enthusiastic about contributing to creating solutions to this menace. We collaborated with designers and engineers to gain deeper insights into our proposed solutions and construct prototypes as well. I am ecstatic to be selected as a finalist in the hackathon and eagerly anticipate the finals scheduled for May.
Despite my daily routine being hectic, it has been fulfilling. Our days are packed with classes and workshops; in the evenings, we work on projects and collaborate. I have been focused on enhancing my videography skills and gained extensive knowledge from my classmates, who possess a wide range of backgrounds and skills. I am appreciative of the friendships I have established during this time.
As I look ahead, I am eager to pursue further personal growth and development. I am enthusiastic about undertaking projects that contribute positively to society and am filled with anticipation regarding what the future holds.
The ALU School of Wildlife Conservation is the first of its kind on the continent, dedicated to growing the next generation of world class conservation leaders in Africa.
The continent needs home grown African leaders to spearhead new and innovative approaches in the business of conservation.