Inspiring stories of Nature Restoration

Sustainability Matters

Climate Change is a persistent challenge that each and every one of us is affected by in different ways. 

However, it does also present various opportunities that can be tapped into. We are in an era where the innovations tackling climate change matters are increasing by the day. Edward Mungai, CEO Kenya Climate Innovation Centre shares with us what these opportunities are and how we can leverage on these opportunities to create a better and sustainable future.

Mikoko Pamoja - Mangroves Together

Mikoko Pamoja is selling carbon credits from mangroves to save the environment and local livelihoods in Kwale. 

The villages of Gazi and Makongeni can now boast of clean drinking water, more fish in the ocean, and better schools. A first in the world to verified by Plan Vivo standards, Mikoko Pamoja is indeed a triple win: for people, for environment, and for biodiversity.

Innovations for the Future

It is clear that the current systems of production and consumptions are highly unsustainable. 

There is then a great need for us to change from a linear economy to a circular economy. In his talk, Dr. Amis Mao talks about the work Africa Centre for Green Economy is involved in and what innovation would look like in terms of food systems so as to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change.


Inspiring stories of Nature Restoration

Championing for Food Safety

In the recent past, the issues surrounding food safety especially how food is grown continue to be featured heavily.

 The rise in use of chemicals and pesticides has greatly affected the quality of food especially people living in urban areas consume. It is a critical issue since the quality of our food determines the quality of our health. Claire Nasike, Food Campaigner with Greenpeace Africa talks to us about her work and why food safety should be an issue for everyone to take part in.

Traditional African Vegetables​

Traditional African Vegetables not only played a vital role in terms of nutrition but these indigenous vegetables played a critical ecological and cultural role. 

The rise of exotic vegetables saw the decline in the consumption of these highly nutritious foods. Traditional African vegetables have great potential in not only providing nutritious diets but also in climate resilience and food security. 

Dr. Patrick Maundu’s work on Traditional African Vegetables spans decades. He shares with us about his work on Traditional African Vegetables across the continent and why we should be keen to have more of these vegetables as part of our daily diet.

Innovations for the Future

It is clear that the current systems of production and consumptions are highly unsustainable. 

There is then a great need for us to change from a linear economy to a circular economy. In his talk, Dr. Amis Mao talks about the work Africa Centre for Green Economy is involved in and what innovation would look like in terms of food systems so as to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change.

Permaculture - Living Sustainability

In many cases each and everyone of us wants to live more sustainably in our own small way, how can one do this? Toto Chipeta a permaculturist takes us through what permaculture is all about and the benefits to land and health. 


Inspiring stories of Nature Restoration

Reasons for Hope - Get Inspired​

When it comes to being optimistic about the future in terms of environment and conservation, inspiration goes a long way. 

Get inspired by Wanjira Mathai as she talks about her work and why we must keep pushing and striving for a better and greener future. 

Conserving Shoebills: Citizen Science in Action

Shoebills are charismatic birds, adored by birdwatchers and are the only bird in its family. 

Judith Mirembe takes us through her work on conserving Shoebills and their habitat in Mabamba Bay Wetland, Uganda. Watch and learn about the very important role of citizen science in conservation.

Restoring Forests: The Brackenhurst Story

25 years ago, Brackenhurst was an exotic-trees jungle barren with no life. Today, an indigenous 

African forest stands tall, teaming with numerous birds (over 150 species), and monkeys that call Brackenhurst home.  And, the air is clean and welcoming, increasing the health value for those who visit the facility. This initiative demonstrates the importance of investing in restoration. While the forest is on private land, its open for local communities to access and enjoy.

Research Informing Policy Action

Research on key and critical environmental issues such as biodiversity, climate, agriculture, water management among others offers a basis upon which environmental policies can be formulated. 

Dr. Philip Osano talks about his journey in the environment space from community work to policy and how community action drives policy.

Sustainability from a Global Perspective​

The Rome Centre for Sustainable Development has a global mandate to look at the environmental lens of sustainability with a focus on climate change, sustainable development and nature protection. 

How are the realities of policy anchored to action on the ground? Listen to Dr. Musonda X. Mumba talk about her work, inspiration and her passion to amplify voices in conservation and  environment in particular women.

Ngare Ndare Forest: People, Forests and Livelihoods

This upland dry forest West of Mt Kenya is a gem that the local communities living around it are proud to conserve. 

Through the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust – a model Community Forest Association, the community is headed for self-sustenance, with benefits reaching lowland communities, and supporting wildlife including elephants.

Creating a Safe Haven at Rungiri​

Rungiri Dam in Kabete, formed out of a quarry left during the construction of Nairobi-Nakuru highway. 

And for many years, the dam has been infamous for suicides and killings. At the start of the Covid 19 lockdown in 2020, Friends of Rungiri, a youth-led initiative decided to change that narrative, turning the dam into a recreational facility for people to enjoy. Now visitors can come for picnic, or for boat ride, and in future go birding here.

Laikipia Leopards​

Ambrose Letoluai is a researcher documenting the behavior of leopards and finding ways they can coexist with communities. 

This story features the amazing persistent young man, who is the only Kenyan studying Leopards. He has documented nearly thirty different leopards using his camera traps. He recently captured the black leopards “black panther” which went viral all around the world.

Bringing back Grass​

Global warming and persistent droughts cause land degradation in many African areas. The top layer of the soil becomes hard, which prevents rainwater from infiltrating into the soil. 

This rainwater will flow to lower areas, and wash away the upper layer of fertile soil.

International NGO Justdiggit, together with local partner MWCT ánd Maasai communities, dug a total of 116,248 semi-circular bunds in the Kuku Group Ranch to open up this hard top layer, and retain the rainwater. By capturing rainwater with the help of bunds, it has more time to enter the soil and restores the water balance. The seeds in the soil get the chance to sprout, and eventually allow the area to grow green, lush and cool!

Restoring Akara Hills

It was growing up in Obambo Village, Siaya County; home to the famous Akara hills that introduced me to the world of environment and conservation. The hills were once the glory of this area, covered with indigenous trees like Markhamia lutea, Albizia coriara, and shrubs that the community used as medicine. As children we would go to the then densely forested hills to fetch firewood. The hills are also a particularly important water catchment for the Yala swamp and Lake Kanyaboli (one of the oxbow lakes in Kenya). Yala swamp is the largest papyrus wetland in Kenya, covering c.17,500 ha, and is home to the endangered swamp antelope, the Sitatunga. So, saving these forested hills saves species, lives and livelihoods. 

While in secondary school I began planting trees within our homestead to create shade, and primarily, I focused on fruit trees. Later I enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in Education Science, (Zoology and Botany) at Kenyatta University, Kenya.

However, my journey working in    conservation and with communities began after attending a month-long Tropical Biology Association (TBA) field course in Kibale National Park, Uganda. During this intense field course, I got to experience the practical side of conservation and gain vital skills like designing field experiments, writing proposals and field reports, searching for grants and preparing grant applications. By engaging with other participants, I learned about existing opportunities for research and conservation across the world.  

After this field course, I could clearly articulate the issues surrounding Akara Hills and I began thinking of solutions. I put pen to paper to help my community conserve the hills which at this time had been greatly destroyed through deforestation to allow for settlements as Siaya town expanded. I wrote my first grant (Rufford Small Grant) and won marking the start of my conservation initiatives to see Akara Hills reforested. 

I was inspired to work with communities since they are the main users of the natural resources. These communities have a lot of information concerning their resources that they can share if empowered. Doing so will amplify their voices in the quest to achieve a sustainable world. For this reason, my first project was to educate and empower the communities living around of Akara Hills. When an ecosystem like Akara Hills is destroyed, then the community suffers from consequences like erosion; already some homes around Akara Hills are inaccessible due to gulley erosion.

The initial process of getting the community to conserve the hills was not easy. People were used to cutting the forest for charcoal and brick making, and did not have alternatives. However, over time, persistence and continuous education, they understood the need to reforest the hills for their own good. To strengthen my campaign, I developed a video to draw attention to the restoration initiative and showed it in schools and to the local community. Today we have an active community WhatsApp group and often community members ask for tree seedlings to grow on the hills. 

The work I do is linked to my studies on aquatic ecosystems. Akara Hills, as a water catchment are connected to Lake Victoria through Lake Kanyaboli and the Yala swamp. All form an ecosystem of wetlands that provide vital services to local communities. Therefore, my study on ecosystem services at PhD level enabled me to understand further how to explain the value of nature’s benefits to the community. By restoring the hills, we preserve these services including safeguarding sources of fodder for the animals. We are also reducing erosion which has caused a lot of siltation leading to most of the small streams in the area dying off.

The main achievement so far is getting the local community around the Akara Hills to start talking about conserving their environment. For a long time, these hills have attracted a lot of political interest, with different groups laying claim. This delayed our restoration plans substantially. However, through community participation, we have managed to halt development on the hills by the county government and inspired community members owning parcels of land on the hills to grow trees. Overall, there has been a shift in interest: from destroying to conserving the hills. This gives me a lot of satisfaction and I am proud of this achievement.

I ensure that I share my knowledge with others through reviewing other people’s work upon request and by giving presentations at workshops and conferences. Partly as a result of this work, I have won prestigious grants like the National Geographic Society Early Career grant and even published my work, produced videos to educate people or show case the work we are doing.

Many upcoming/emerging scientists face problems of limited grants and knowledge on how to put together a winning grant proposal. Some do not want to volunteer in conservation activities. Of course, times are hard but sometimes it is not about the money. I volunteered with Earthwatch Institute Lakes of the Rift Valley project for 3 years. This built my skills too in research and designing conservation initiatives. 

Research and conservation in Africa are also very competitive fields with a lot of competing interests national, regionally and globally. This calls for a lot of patience in trying and failing. We should not give up even when we fail. Some emerging scientists/researchers also lack mentors. Personally, I thank TBA, as they provided me with people to guide me from an early age. 

Lastly, the politics of many Africa countries make it very difficult for emerging scientists who may have great transformative ideas. 

Through training we not only equip people with knowledge and hands -on experiences, but also create a network of future collaborator, mentors for different opportunities. We change the future. 


ENVIRONMENT conservation: species & habitats

Inspiring stories of Nature Restoration

Conserving Bats​

Bats play an irreplaceable role in the ecosystem, and in our lives. They make the world a better place, and we need to look at them differently.

Dr Paul Webala, mammologist specializing in bats and Senior Lecturer Maasai Mara University speaks to us about what could be considered one of nature’s most misunderstood species-bats. In this talk he takes us through the work he has carried out on bats for the past 20 years especially on demystifying these mammals and why everyone should be keen to conserve bats.

All about Insects​

Dr. Perpetra Akite, Makere University Uganda is crazy about the little things that run the world: – insects. 

A passion that she has nurtured since she was a little girl.   In this talk she takes us through this world of insects, their importance and the successes she has had. In 2020 she had a moth species named after her Megaherpystis akiteae – imagine the joy of having your name engraved in science forever!

Conserving Frogs​

Caleb Ofori Boateng, Ghana’s first formally trained herpetologist (one who studies reptiles and amphibians) is the founder of Herp- Ghana. 

Herp-Ghana is an NGO that is dedicated to the conservation of amphibians. Caleb has set up the first reserve to conserve frogs (and 13 other species) in Ghana. The reserve is also an important source of clean water for local communities. Learn about his journey and success so far in the world of frog conservation and why their conservation is vital.

Saving Cranes​

George is passionate about grey crowned cranes and their conservation in his home area of Lake Olbolossat.  

Over the years, he has inspired his community in the saving the crane, and the wetland habitats this iconic and magnificent bird depends on. Today Lake Olbolossat has the highest number of breeding pairs and second largest population of cranes in Kenya. The birds’ habitat – Lake Olbolossat, a designated Important Bird Area -, was recently gazetted as a protected wetland by the Kenya government.

Protecting Ondiri Wetland, the Source of Nairobi River​

The community in Kikuyu has taken a stand in conserving Ondiri wetland from encroachment and pollution. 

And now grey crowned cranes are back – there are two adults with chicks in the wetland -, and community’s effort is being recognized. The wetland has now been identified for gazettement by Kenya government in its effort to safeguard wetlands; Ondiri is the headwaters of the Nairobi River.

Saving Rhinos​

The northern white rhino (NWR) is perhaps the rarest mammal on the planet today.There are now only two known individuals left in the world, both females – Najin and Fatu. 

Using eggs collected from the two remaining females and frozen sperm from deceased males, the first pure northern white rhino embryos were successfully created in vitro. There have been five viable NWR embryos produced so far through four ovum collections from Najin and Fatu at Ol Pejeta. The embryos are currently stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother in the near future.  

The overarching goal is to have a northern white rhino calf be born in the near future and to establish a self-sustaining, genetically healthy NWR population. This could provide a proof of concept that could serve as a blueprint strategy for other critically endangered mammals such as the Sumatran and Javan rhinoceros who too are faced with extinction.


Birds are not only beautiful to look at, their songs, behaviors and interaction with their environment are fascinating. 

They are also very important indicator species, pollinators among other critical roles they play. Birds travel across continents are disperse seeds and are therefore one of nature’s best ecosystem restorers. Titus Imboma cannot imagine spending a day without birds, he believes caring for birds is caring for the universe. Watch this video as he takes us through a birding session at the National Museums of Kenya. 


Africa is rich in natural resources, including some of the most unique environments and landscapes one could think of. And for people everywhere, quality of life depends on the resources that nature provides. Much of this biodiversity - whether occurring in protected areas like parks, and reserves, or outside protected areas where actually much of the biodiversity occurs - is under growing pressure. It is therefore urgent that we sustainably manage these resources. And that requires people with the right skills and support, so that they can have an impact on the ground.

Investing in People for Conservation​

Anthony Kuria, the head of the African Office of the Tropical Biology Association shares how his organization is contributing to better conservation by investing in people through training – something the Tropical Biology Association has been doing over the last two and half decades.

The making of Marketable Employees​

Dominic Kimani is the Lead Ornithologist at Kipeto Energy, a wind energy farm in Kenya. Dominic’s work involves monitoring the farm’s impacts on birds and other biodiversity and finding solutions to mitigate loss of biodiversity.

“Tropical Biology Association made me more competitive in the job market’’

Mr. Dominic Kimani, now a lead researcher on birds with Kipeto Energy, greatly credits the Tropical Biology Association for his academic and professional achievements.  Kimani attended a TBA’ field course in Laikipia Kenya where he honed his data collection, analysis and publication skills.  ‘‘The experience gained in the field courses has given me a competitive edge in the ever-crowded job market.  The exposure from the TBA training has increased my conservation network thereby enhancing collaboration in activities geared towards conserving natural resources and the environment. ‘If you invest in TBA, you invest in an entire generation’, he concludes.

Building Careers for Generations through Training​

Dr. Duncan Kimuyu is a Lecturer at Karatina University and a past trainees of Tropical Biology Association courses. Thanks to the training offered by TBA, Duncan was able to launch a successful research career. His research focuses on effects on wildlife biodiversity of various anthropogenic drivers of global change, including prescribed fire, livestock management, and large mammal extirpation. 

Dr. Duncan Kimuyu, say that Tropical Biology Association offered him “a lifetime transformational opportunity’. Noting that his success in fundraising for research, publishing, as well as the teaching and mentoring he provides his students was a result of the training he received from TBA. Dr. Kimuyu was among 189 African scientists from 5 nationalities who participated in a series of workshops aimed at building capacity in developing successful research proposal; in communicating research results; and in effective teaching strategies in biology and environmental science between 2010 and 2012. 

“I was very new to science at the time. Each of the workshops took us through at least a week of intensive training followed by an extended mentorship program. These workshops provided a formative experience and have continued to inspire me throughout my career.” Dr Kimuyu is now a top lecturer at Kenya’s Karatina University, and environmental scientists, and commits to continue to sharing the skills he gained from TBA to “illuminate career paths for next generation of conservation biologists’’

Creating Change Agents​

When it comes to matters of environment and conservation, we have seen the power of inspiration that individuals can pass to communities-

 The Late Prof. Wangari Maathai is a great example. Dr. Thuita Thenya in his talks shares his passion of connecting the academic world with the practical real-world challenges as well as why we should all strive to be agents of change and transform our communities and environment for the better.

DNA Technology to fight Wildlife Crime​

This fascinating work is a response to a festering problem. 

For many years, wildlife authorities in Kenya could prosecute offenders suspected of poaching animal or plant materials, because these materials were in indiscernible forms or shapes. Not anymore. Using technology, prosecutors in collaboration with the authorities can admit DNA evidence in court leading to nearly 100% conviction.

Role in Conservation​

Africans have always been storytellers; and storytelling in film is a powerful tool for communication, education and creating awareness around very important and critical issues in environment and conservation. Nashipae Orumoy talks about her work in conservation communication and how African Wildlife Foundation is empowering young and upcoming conservation film makers across the continent.