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Education in the Bush

Wildlife Works might be best known for their conservation projects, but this company deep in Tsavo's red bush offers so much more than that.

Wildlife Works is the world's leading REDD+ project and development company. For the uninitiated, what REDD+ means is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. Put simply, it sets a financial value on the carbon stored in living forests and offers incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from their forests. The statistics speak for themselves. Wildlife Works' project in the Kasigau Corridor – 500,000 acres of highly threatened forest bordering Tsavo – will result in avoiding over 1.5 million tonnes of CO2-e emissions per year for the next 30 years.


Wonderful though this is, there's more to Wildlife Works than REDD+. Education, for example. In an area suffering from marginalisation, poverty and illiteracy, education is vital. It gives vulnerable children a fighting chance to make something of their lives


In November, Busho Secondary School, in the remote village of Busho, celebrated the construction of the first of two classrooms. These classrooms – and many others in the area – enable schools to move their classes from under trees or inside falling-down buildings, while donated desks, chairs and other classroom supplies give the children the necessary comfort to focus on what they're being taught.


The speeches at the event were given by local politicians and representatives from the Kenya National Union of Teachers. While they appreciated the donations from Wildlife Works, these speeches also showed awareness of the fact that it takes more than building classrooms to educate a population: many of them urged parents to bring their children to school.

But how can you take a child to school when you can't afford the

fees?


Wildlife Works tackles this problem with a system of bursaries through a scholarship programme for some of the brighter children in the area, many of whom are orphans, from single-parent families or living with disabilities. Since 2013, Wildlife Works has given over 26,000,000 shillings to more than 3,200 students in secondary schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities. In 2018 alone, they gave nearly 10 million shillings. The testimonials from bursary students are heart-warming. Joseph's favourite subject is maths and he wants to be an accountant. Martha wants to be a teacher and has promised to work hard to achieve her dreams. Zanira has completed her secondary education and is now working for Wildlife Works. 'I am living proof that the REDD+ project can positively impact lives,'