Conservation Does Not Occur in a Vacuum

You cannot just conserve wetlands for the intrinsic value.

I was convinced that market-based approaches were vital for conservation long before I applied to become a Kinship Fellow. There must be motivation unto which conservation can then thrive. And I was doing this in a small way like promoting eco-tourism around the lake region.

If I was not born around Lake Victoria, or if my childhood was not so intimate with the environment, then I don't think I would be so passionate on working with the environment. So similarly, Kinship Fellows was a starting point. It gave me the necessary kick-start to journey into these market-based approaches. I think it's very instrumental to the work I’m doing today. And also the fact that the Program continues to engage us, gives me the impetus to continue with market-based approaches.  

The Kinship Program gave me an introduction to the actual approaches to market-based solutions--a portfolio of tools. I also value the adaptive leadership concept and its emphasis on harvesting the diverse and passionate interests of a workforce to deliver on common goals and collectively conquer challenges. A lot of my time is spent working at a local NGO as a CEO, so I find the leadership training that we did in the program really valuable.

Since attending the Bellingham program in 2011, I’ve become an advocate for market-based conservation throughout East Africa. I work through two organizations: one is doing regional work around Lake Victoria with Ecofinder Kenya, and the other is doing international work with Wetlands International. My work has focused on ecotourism, payments for ecosystem services, and microfinance for sustainable development.

“...Kinship was the starting point. It gave me the necessary kick-start to be able to journey into these market-based approaches.”