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Changing the Narrative on Wildlife Conservation: Kenyan Conservancies Speak Out!

Communications experts and practitioners working in Kenyan Conservancies across the country unanimously agreed to work in a coordinated manner to change the negative narrative that has for too long time engulfed the conservation space.

This collaborative action was agreed at the first Conservation Communication Forum organized by Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association on 7th March 2019, at the African Wildlife Foundation. The forum brought together communication practitioners from over 20 conservancies in the country with an aim of brain-storming ways to correct the apparent “communication disconnect in Kenyan wildlife conservation” as well as create collective action and harmony to ensure that our national conservation effort is projected to the world with an improved perspective and through various media channels.

Communication experts listen in to the KWS Ag. Director General Prof. Charles Musyoki while delivering his speech at the Conservation Communications Forum in Nairobi

The negative publicity around conservation was majorly attributed to the competitive nature of conservancies for donor funding.  As a result, success stories such as: women shattering the conservation “glass ceiling”; the downturn in poaching; the recovery of vulnerable species; and the fact that Kenyans are at the helm of conservation; these themes barely see the light of day. In addition, seldom do the individual efforts of conservancies contribute to the national and international perspectives and messaging so important to the emerging national narrative on conservancies.

Speaking at the Forum, Kenya Wildlife Services Acting Director General, Prof. Charles Musyoki, Chief Executive Officer for Northern Rangeland Trust, Mr. Tom Lalampaa, and Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) Mr. Dickson Kaelo, all shared the sentiments that Kenya has been a primary name in wildlife conservation, noting that conservation efforts have proven to need more than the Government’s input. They reiterated that the involvement of stakeholders such as the conservation NGOs, local communities, other government agencies, county governments, community conservancies, development partners, and the media are just as important as the Government of Kenya in the effort to enhance awareness of wildlife conservation in the country.

A key result of this meeting was the resolution to work towards a collective media package of themes and materials that could be used as templates for educating the public, leading to a balanced, accurate and positive media interaction.

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