Segera Retreat - September 2015

Sep 1, 2015 Segera Retreat
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Segera helicopter safaris
Segera is located in the heart of the Laikipia Highlands where its surrounding diverse landscapes, incredible views, easy access to the Aberdare Mountain Range, majestic Mount Kenya, the Rift Valley, Lake Turkana and Kenya’s other incredible lakes make it the perfect base for helicopter excursions. Together with our partner, Tropic Air, we offer guests the opportunity to discover and experience the various regions and highlights of Magical Kenya – an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
Tropic Air helicopter experience at Segera Retreat, Kenya

Jackson's hartebeest
Over the past few years, Segera has seen a steady increase in Jackson’s Hartebeest (also known as Lelwel Hartebeest). Very shy three years ago, these large antelope have now become familiar with Segera’s guides and vehicles and seem comfortably at home on Segera, with more and more guests experiencing the pleasure of viewing large herds alongside the Sugeroi River, right within sight of the private villas. Typical of the start of green season, we have also been spotting some new-borns recently – a great sign for the future of these magnificent animals.

Bursary scheme
We are pleased to announce that Segera’s bursary scheme has now borne fruit, with our pioneer group of scholars sitting for examinations last year, of which 8 out of 9 candidates successfully qualified for university. The investment in these youngsters is also earning interest in the sense that they have begun mentoring those taking part in the bursary scheme after them. Each school holiday, the pioneers join their younger brothers and sisters in looking for ways to ensure that those in the bursary scheme have a 100% transition rate to university.

Community news
The Laikipia programme has always seen itself as a nursery of ideas, a hub of what can be, and once it has become, taking it to the world. Our novel rainwater harvesting approach for the grass-thatched households of Sukutan is a good example. During a visit to the village, a senior VP of a partner organisation – African Wildlife Foundation – saw the innovation and sent one of her programme staff to learn more. Everyone began interacting, and our Joseph Ciuri and John Lodisana spent a week in Amboseli training their counterparts on the approach. Twenty-eight households in Amboseli are already hooked up and ready to harvest more than 150 000 litres of water in the coming rains.

Growing vegetables, one bag at a time
In the plains of North Laikipia, cattle herding serves as the major source of livelihood for the majority of community members. The Sukutan village in the north of Segera is part of this community. Getting to Sukutan through Segera takes you across beautiful landscapes and the Mutara River into a welcoming bush land populated by Croton species. A striking feature is that although Croton is valued for its charcoal, the Sukutan community practices no charcoal burning. And it is to this wonderful community that our team was welcomed to talk and demonstrate a rather unusual proposition for pastoralists: sack farming.

The pastoralists explained that they hardly use vegetables in their meals. This is partly because they are only available in Rumuruti several kilometres away and also because traditionally they have never farmed them. The Foundation staff then explained to the herders that there is a way to grow vegetables without digging or uprooting trees to enable crop growing. Noting that there were a few rainwater-harvesting installations in some manyattas, they explained the concept of sack farming. In the spirit of recycling and reuse of scarce resources, water used for washing utensils can be recycled and used to water the crops in a bag just outside the house.

We thus shared with the community a step-by-step approach to growing much-needed vegetables in the smallest space possible, using readily available local materials and recycled water to grow vegetables to supplement people’s traditional diets.

Whatsapp and farming?
Technology has been and will always be part of our everyday life – and at the Zeitz Foundation we have not been left behind. We use up to date and simple apps to keep everyone on the same page on a daily basis. Since most of our participants and beneficiaries are young, WhatsApp has become our favourite app as all our 20 Trainers of Trainees (ToTs) from the 10 BCCL sites from all over Laikipia County engage on a day-to-day basis communicating by using photos, sound recordings, chats and also reporting through the common NCF project group.

Many questions, challenges and most importantly answers come up during these lively chats. These ToTs have been trained in conservation agriculture, forestry, human wildlife conflict, drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting. This has equipped them with the necessary knowledge to handle community challenges and they are backed by the always-ready-to-help Zeitz Foundation team.

Through lessons learnt from daily communication we have come up with tailor-made training programmes to communicate with our target audience. The combination of new technology and traditional wisdom is a winning one.

With thanks to Josphat Kiama, John Lodisana, and Ngotho Muiruri.

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