Kenya has been blessed with unbounded beauty that evokes amazement on its sacred land for centuries, ranging from wildlife and natural physical features. With a patriotic spirit, Kenya has a proud tradition of citizen involvement in wildlife conservation however, thousands of people miss out on the opportunity to see, explore and experience the wondrous creations.
In the education system, children learn about their heritage, their environment and acquire basic skills that will help them become tomorrow’s future leaders. As they learn about their environment, they are often taught about how to conserve the world’s ecosystem and their roles as human beings. However, due to various financial constraints, most children in Kenya grow up with very little understanding of nature and therefore, it remains an unseen phenomenon to them.
Meet Teach For Kenya Fellow, Racheal Vichei, who explored an opportunity where children from Kwa Njenga Primary School could learn beyond the classroom. “In primary school, we had trips from elementary level to class 8 but we had to pay a certain amount. In case a student was unable to pay, they remained either at home or school. In Kwa Njenga Primary School, no student has ever gone for a field trip,’’ Ms Racheal says. As a passionate and undeniably driven leader, Racheal hoped that one day, all children at her school could have an opportunity to see and learn about the magnificent wild animals in their nature.
On December 22nd 2021, Ms. Racheal received great news from the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife — Kenya (Giraffe Centre), that her school had received a fully funded sponsorship for a termly Ecological trip. “I wish you could see the headteacher’s reaction!” Racheal joyfully exclaimed. From her unrelenting passion for education, wildlife and environmental conservation, Racheal was sure that her learners would finally learn more about their environment and strive to protect it. As Sir David Attenborough said,
“No one will protect what they don’t care about. And no one will care about what they haven’t experienced.”
On 18th January, a large white bus from the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), arrived at Kwa Njenga Primary school. The learners beamed with excitement as the long-awaited day had finally arrived. On arrival at Giraffe Centre, the learners had a briefing session and learnt about giraffes and further proceeded to feed them and explore the park.
The roars, squeals, chirps and whoops wowed the learners. Their fascination and quest for knowledge could be seen from their active participation through the jotting of short notes and asking questions. In just one day, the learners also visited Mamba Village — where they saw tortoises, crocodiles and ostriches and proceeded to Nairobi National Park — where they saw lions, warthogs, cheetahs and buffalos. By the end of the day, the children learnt classification of animals based on; what they eat, their lifespan and how they live and survive.
The ecological trip was indeed a powerful magnet that greatly engaged the young minds. The students received important knowledge on the negative effects of poaching, environmental pollution and how the degradation of wildlife could affect the future. The AFEW team inspired the students to become active young leaders who advocate for wildlife protection and take more account of environmental issues.
“The park and the environment are an excellent outdoor classroom that arouses children’s interest on issues that are important. The best way we can make them future great leaders, is to involve them in finding solutions,” Ms. Racheal affirmed.Deputy Headteacher of Kwa Njenga Primary School, Mr. Nduva, TFK Fellow, Racheal Vichei and learners at Giraffe Centre
As Teach For Kenya, we are extremely proud of the efforts that our Fellow, Racheal Vichei and the AFEW are making towards saving the country’s spectacular wildlife heritage, by reconnecting children with nature and ensuring quality education beyond the classroom.
Fellow Spotlight Story of :
Racheal Vichei is an Education in Emergencies practitioner, teacher and a researcher with specialties focusing on designing and implementing educational projects.