On the 1st of September 2021, Ontulili Primates Protection commemorated World Primates Day. The objective of the event was to enforce the need to conserve the habitats for primates and co-existence. OPP is a women’s group dedicated to the protection of monkeys and other primates along the river. They address their purpose through primate monitoring, environmental monitoring and reporting, and improving the environment through tree planting and coexistence. The black and white colobus monkey with a baby below the peak of Mount Kenya signifies their connection to their purpose as stewards – “mothers of nature” along the Ontulili River.
Our celebration included tree planting with the help of local and international bodies, including our local area Chief, KWS (Kenya Wild Life Service), Uvumbuzi Africa, Project Africa, the Laikipia Forum, Madam Miriam, NEMA, our river water association (WRUA) and our own OPP members group. A total of 100 indigenous and fruit trees were planted along the riparian strip in our neighbourhoods.
Our new all-women primate guards, the OPP Guardians, did a walk with the guests to show how data for the primates living in the area are collected, analysed and processed for discussion and prompt action. The need for these data are to help show the need for habitat conservation and how deforestation has highly affected not only homes for the primates, but also created a scarcity of food. If we don’t stop this general loss of environmental quality, we will experience an escalation of Human Wildlife Conflict as we both scramble for food!
Each participating stakeholder made a speech on the importance of conservation and encouraged the women to continue their noble course or action to work hand-in-hand to restore nature, to fight deforestation, and to restore the quality of our ecosystem.
Entertainment was provided by the women’s group, and the Primate Guardians read poems, offered traditional dance, and shared choral verses that were composed by one of the member to express the need for coexistence and restoration.
The day’s event was later followed by a certificate ceremony for attendees, a sign of their participation in their commitment to environmental conservation in their respective work stations.
The event was also supported by third parties including: Recon Adventures, who donated water for the event, Wanjiku Kinuthia, OPP board member, who donated African kangas for the women, and Madam Miriam, provided the tent for the event.
The event was a success, and the attendees and members were happy to be part and parcel of this coming together with a common goal.
We are particularly grateful to Over and Above Africa for the financial support, and for their endorsement of the power of women to effect change for the better in our local environments.