Walking with Lion Lecture

Walking with Lion Lecture

New approaches to community conservation in Northern Kenya.

An evening with James Kinyaga, introduced by Nigel Winser

When             6th February, 2013
                          6.00pm    Doors open 
                          6:00pm & 8:30pm   Cash bar open
                          7.00pm   Lecture begins
                          9.30pm   Close

Where           Royal Geographical Society, London
Tickets          £20 + Booking Fee. http://ilngwesi-rgs.eventbrite.com/

This is a remarkable story about ‘adventurous tourists’ in Kenya and those Maasai who have decided to ‘Walk with Lion’ to help their future. The Il Ngwesi Group Ranch in Northern Kenya has pioneered a different community based approach to conservation, which benefits both the local community and the ecosystem upon which they depend.

Over the past 15 years this locally owned conservancy has established a haven for wildlife, as well as a refuge for local Maasai herds during times of drought. Centre stage is the Il Ngwesi Lodge, which attracts those who wish to join the Il Ngwesi Maasai in their goal to create a sustainable tourist experience in this rich Samburu savannah.

You will enjoy meeting James Kinyaga. James will share his passion for the culture, the wildlife and geography of this remarkable landscape of the north Kenya drylands and home of the Il Ngwesi people. This will include the original pioneers in the community, the choosing of the site for Kenya’s first community lodge, its construction and its first guests in 1996.

The community decided there was a future in tourism for conservation and community development and agreed to set aside part of their land as a ‘conservancy’ which, if left to flourish, would soon attract a growing number of wildlife from elephant, lion, leopard and rhino - as well as an increasingly diverse flora. A rich ecosystem that over time has increased in its biodiversity and its contribution to the local community. A brave decision by the Elders at the time.

James will also explain how the income from tourism has made a contribution to the health, well being and education of the wider Il Ngwesi community. This will include lessons learnt from the first 15 years of the project, the growing pressures on the landscape due to the increased size of the community and the need to adapt in the face of growing ‘community based tourism’ in many of the neighbouring ranches. The need to diversify livelihoods through the selling of beadwork and honey is important as is the continued confidence to interact with NGO’s and other external agencies to develop new sources of income.

The Il Ngwesi conservation area remains a locally owned co-operative and we will learn of their resolve to keep it run by the Community. But will this Il Ngwesi model survive? And can the Maasai retain ownership of their heritage and culture, while setting ever high goals for themselves and the ecosystem that has served them so well over many generations?

Do come and join us for an evening you will never forget at the Royal Geographical Society on Wednesday 6th February to hear James Kinyaga tell this remarkable story.



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