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A Rewarding Day


Tanya_in_Kenya

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I am finally back in my office after a hectic, but very fruitful ten days in Nairobi – non-stop meetings, meetings, meetings…but it’s all looking good for AEFF, as we continue to build relationships with partner organizations with whom we hope to grow and flourish over the coming years.

Of course, our Nairobi trip started with the prize giving at the Giraffe Center, which was celebrating 25 years in conservation in Kenya, making this year’s environmental awareness competition particularly special.

As you know from our recent appeal, AEFF was asked to donate 150 DVDs as prizes for the school children and university students taking part…and thanks to the generosity of our supporters from Safaritalk, Wildlife Direct, Fodors and our own website, we managed to raise the funds to enable us to provide these prizes. As a result, every winner and every runner up received, within their parcel of prizes, an educational DVD about various environmental and wildlife issues, drawn from our selection of 12 different films.



What a day it was! The event kicked off at 1.30pm, with poetry readings by children from all around the country, of all different backgrounds and age-groups…and no ordinary poetry reading it was either, for the kids themselves had written their poems, demonstrating an acute grasp of the issues and a deep concern for the environmental health of their country. It was really moving to sit there and listen and watch, for the poets were very animated in their delivery. The younger children sang songs, which they acted out as they sang.





One of the most extraordinary performances came from the Machakos School for the Deaf. Despite their disability, these kids staged the most extraordinary dance routine in colorful costumes and intricately painted faces, guided by the deep rhythmic vibration of a drum (below). It was an incredible performance.



Altogether, there were over 400 students at the event, which was held in the leafy gardens of the Giraffe Center, in Nairobi’s Langata suburbs. We caught up with many friends from the conservation field, including Steve Itela from Youth for Conservation and his colleague Isaac.



Isaac and Steve from Youth for Conservation, with AEFF's own Lucy and Ian


The Guest of Honor at the event was the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Dr Julius Kipng’etich, who made a grave yet rousing speech, discussing the major environmental issues of our day (global warming, pollution, over-population, deforestation, loss of biodiversity), and calling upon the youth to meet these challenges as they grow into adulthood – while simultaneously pointing out to the current generation that if we do not face these issues, it will be the young who condemn us when we hand on the problems to them. Dr Kipng’etich then outlined KWS’s strategy in meeting the demands of the coming years, a process in which he hopes many young and talented people will join him.



Of course, as the prize giving itself approached, the kids could hardly contain themselves (above). The KWS Director was the first to hand out prizes, to the overall Boys Environmental Champion of the Year, and the Girls Environmental Champion of the Year (below).




The KWS Director congratulates the Girls Environmental Champion, while Rick Anderson (the Giraffe Center's Chairman), and Christine Odhiambo (its manager) look on.


Following on from this, various sponsors and supporters were called upon to hand out prizes to the kids, from the youngest kindergarten children who won awards for their artworks, to the university students whose essays had set them apart from their peers. Ian Saunders, representing AEFF, was called out of the audience to give away a series of awards, including our DVDs contained in every enticing prize package…


AEFF's Ian Saunders hands out prizes












Altogether it was a fantastic day, perfectly organized by the Giraffe Center team led by its manager, Christine Odhiambo, and even the giraffes turned up on cue, to thrill children and adults alike.

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From AEFF’s point of view, we are delighted that 150 school children and university students now have a copy of one of our educational films to show at their schools, all across the country. This will also allow the schools to get in touch with us, and request further films to use in their science classes. Already since the event, AEFF has received requests from university students who want to show our films in their Environmental Clubs at university, and from there take them further afield to show to community groups… it just goes to show how many diverse positive effects can come from participating in an event like this.

Thank you again to all our supporters who made this possible.

You can see more photos of this special day and the kids receiving their prizes here.

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If you are able to continue supporting us with a contribution towards our film making work, your donation will be gratefully received and will help us to continue making educational films long into the future, for the benefit of people, the environment and wildlife in Africa. Thank you.

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