African Gypsy Initiative
The government of Kenya, in 2016 confirmed the plans to route the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (a mega infrastructural development) right across the small and already threatened Nairobi National Park. This announcement came abruptly and through the help of well wishers, we fundraised roughly and started the Save Nairobi National Park Campaign. The main objective of the campaign was to advocate for sustainable development and call for the railway to be re-routed away from the park.
Through this campaign, we learnt how much Kenyans were unaware of the importance of wildlife conservation, majority never had been to a park or any area of ecological importance and therefore they did not see the sense of the campaign nor supported it. Our voices, however much we achieved with the campaign, were less and albeit the fact that we were just a handful, we made an impact.
This prompted me later to begin the African Gypsy initiative where I bought some low budget tents and started organizing groups to go on very low budget conservation and scientific backpacking expeditions, organizing trips to Nairobi National Park and other parks and in the process of them loving the experience we tell them about the existential threats facing the conservation world and such areas of ecological importance. Our target has always been those who have never experienced nature the way we did and those not in the conservation sector. The initiate started simple but we have forged partnerships through which we have had a series of expeditions. We will outscale this programme to reach out to more people and increase the voices speaking up for that which can’t speak for itself through creating these conservation stewards.