Stepping out into the conservation world, especially as a student or a fresh graduate, may seem blank. The typical global conservation world is not as easy as it sounds. The employment rate generally in the country, and in most parts of the world, is not as high when we consider the number of graduates that are channelled out every year in the many different universities. When getting the much-needed experience to further your career in conservation is important, a boost is required to be able to share ideas and implement the already existing ones.
Kenya is at the heart of conservation practices, boasting a wide selection of habitats that support both flora and fauna. From savanna grasslands to the coastal habitat, the country offers an opportunity to explore and learn more about conservation. It also gives a platform for education and research opportunities plus offering one the chance to interact with the locals on the ground.
Organizations in Kenya which lead in mentoring young people have the opportunity to inspire and bring about positive change for both the natural world and humans. This organizations may be making a difference in the lives of young people but should be mandated and tasked to do more for the youth in conservation, especially for the youth in Kenya. There are a number of youth who are passionate about conservation matters and are only looking for a place to start their careers. The youth in conservation should also know, they need to get out and be active to be able to in the conservation field from the beginning.
Nature Kenya—the East Africa Natural History Society (EANHS)—is Africa’s oldest environmental Society, established in 1909 to promote the study and conservation of nature in eastern Africa. Nature Kenya offers a place to interact with ornithologists, botanists, herpetology, entomologists and mammologists among other conservation science professions available at the National Museums of Kenya (another entity youth can benefit from). You will also be able to learn about habitat restoration and even species conservation. This offers an opportunity to develop an interest in conservation from the many choices. As a volunteer, it offers a chance always be in the know of any conservation opportunity and with more interests comes with the opportunities from research opportunities, scholarships and career opportunities.
The Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W.) Kenya was founded in 1979 after the late Jock Leslie-Melville and Betty Leslie-Meville discovered the sad plight of the Rothschild Giraffe. The Rothschild is a subspecies of the giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa. Giraffe centre inspires children, youth and communities to interact with nature and conserve the environment for posterity. If you enjoy educating children on environmental conservation, this is a great place to start.
Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK) is a charitable, nonprofit organization formed in 1968 by Kenyan students. It was the first conservation education program of its kind on the continent of Africa. WCK offers an opportunity to guide and create the right environment for young conservationists to learn about wildlife and the environment in an easy and effective way.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is a state corporation that was established by an Act of Parliament, now repealed by Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013), with the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya and to enforce related laws and regulations. KWS undertakes conservation and management of wildlife resources across all protected areas systems in collaboration with stakeholders. KWS will offer a chance to interact with communities living with wildlife and also educate children around the national parks and game reserves found in Kenya. To learn how conservation works in Kenya, KWS is definitely a great start especially when you are still studying.
Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is a corporate body established under the Forest Conservation and Management Act no 34 of 2016. The Act which was operationalized on 31st March 2017, gave the Service’s mandate as “to provide for the development and sustainable management, including conservation and rational utilization of all forest resources for the socio-economic development of the country and for connected purposes”. KFS will offer an opportunity to work with communities and be involved in forest restoration.
The Institute of Primate Research (IPR) was established by Louis Leakey in 1960 with monkeys as models to understand human evolution and as a facility for collection and studies of East African primates. Since its inception, IPR has expanded tremendously in both physical and researches facilities and is now focused on the breeding and use of non-human primate study, prevent and or treat human diseases under the auspices of the animal welfare. The Institute has outdoor and indoor housing facilities for breeding colonies of about 270 primates. Interested in scientific research on primates? This is a great place to start.
WildlifeDirect (previously the Africa Conservation Fund) was founded in 2004 by the prominent Kenyan conservationist and paleoanthropologist, Dr Richard Leakey, and former World Bank Representative to Kenya, Harold Wackman. WildlifeDirect was initially conceived as an online platform to provide a voice to African conservationists to protect wildlife as an important global heritage. WildlifeDirect will give you an opportunity to interact with the various programs within the organization and also give you the chance to participate in many youth-led forums.
Colobus Conservation Limited is a conservation organization designed to promote the conservation, preservation and protection of primates like the nationally threatened Angolan colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis palliatus) and its coastal forest habitat in southeastern Kenya. The organisation was established in 1997 in response to an outcry from local residents about the high number of deaths of colobus monkeys on the Diani Beach road. Colobus conservation is an amazing place to learn and interact with primates and how you can be able to protect and conserve the group of species.
Save the Elephants (STE) works to secure a future for elephants in a rapidly changing world. To battle the current surge in ivory poaching, the STE/WCN Elephant Crisis Fund is identifying and supporting the most effective global partners to stop poaching, thwart traffickers and end demand for ivory. Leaders in elephant science, STE also provides cutting-edge scientific insights into elephant behaviour, intelligence, and long-distance movement and applies them to the long-term challenges of elephant conservation. If you are into research especially in elephants, this is an ideal place to start your career in conservation.
Mpala Research Centre (MRC) is home to nearly 7,000 elephants, the world’s 4th largest African wild dog population, and the globally endangered Grevy’s zebra. These large populations of wildlife mingle alongside herds of livestock as they traverse between private and pastoralist ranches. The Mpala Research Centre receives hundreds of students, educators, and scientists from around the globe each year, conducting research on everything from parasites to elephants. The unique set up of Mpala allows for researchers to use the land as a ‘living laboratory’ in which to conduct experiments and answer pressing questions on conservation and wildlife.
Ewaso Lions is dedicated to conserving lions and other large carnivores by promoting co-existence between people and wildlife. They work hand-in-hand with local communities to provide education, training and improved conservation practices that help people and wildlife. Ewaso Lions uses sound science to help guide the long-term conservation of lions across community conservancies and protected areas in northern Kenya.
This include, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Rukinga Conservancy and Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy among others that will give you exposure in terms of conservations practices in Kenya.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).
Please note: Each organization or parastatals biography is sourced from their website or related links.