Simple tools to prevent conflicts
Stephano Olenabel Laizer, 43 years old, is the Village Crop Protection (VCP) team leader from Lerang’wa village in Enduimet Wildlife Management Area. Stephano farms beans, maize and tomatoes. Under the European Union-funded CONNEKT (Conserving Neighbouring Ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania) project, in June 2018 Stephano was one of 160 new Village Crop Protection team members trained in the 8 villages of Enduimet WMA which face crop invasions by wildlife. Prior to the CONNEKT project there were only 23 teams comprised of 84 members; as a result of this project there are now more than 48 VCP teams and 244 VCP team members.
Crop owners shared that climate change and frequent drought means that wildlife now come closer to the farms due to shortage of water in the wild, causing more problems for farm owners.
Through Oikos East Africa’s Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation activities under the CONNEKT project, Stephano was given a simple HWC mitigation toolkit. The most effective tool in this kit is a bright 1,200 lumen torch with a maximum beam distance of 580 metres. “Oikos has helped me to understand animal behavior and how to chase wildlife away from crops in time by using simple toolkits – Stephano said – allowing me and my family to increase the amount of harvested crops to improve our lifestyle”. Before receiving help from Oikos Stephano was only able to harvest a small quantity of crops once per season; however now he is able to harvest twice a season and has doubled the income for his family. “I am now able to harvest enough crops for me and my family, and I’m not scared any more to chase away the animals thanks to the toolkits and the training of Oikos” .
Stephano is now able to fulfil the needs of his family and even to improve his family’s livelihood. He enjoys being able to cultivate his land without the fear of wildlife. As the VCP team leader, Stephano also now has time to take care of and to try to help his neighbours.