Tag Archives: Education

Education at the Colobus Trust

A major part of what the Colobus Trust does is raise awareness through our educational program. On average 1,200   local school children from 33 different schools will visit the trust every year. In just the last two weeks alone, six school groups have visited the Colobus Trust. The program aims to teach the students of all ages about the various problems facing the wildlife in Diani (with particular focus on the monkeys) and what we do to reduce these problems or their effects. The information session is followed by an eco-tour that takes them round the rehabilitation cages, the nature trail and the tree nursery. The excursion is rounded off by some beach games by the sea.

It’s great to have the opportunity to encourage children to get enthusiastic about what we do here. Hopefully by educating them about the environment they will learn to interact with it in a more thoughtful manner and encourage the community at large to help conserve Diani and its furry inhabitants.

The Colobus Team

Jill’s time at the Trust

After four weeks at the Colobus Trust, it’s almost time for me to fly home to another UK winter. I’ve had a fantastic time here and have been encouraged by the dedication and passion of the team for the colobus monkey and the local ecology as a whole.

During my time here I have enjoyed building colobus bridges, giving eco-tours to tourists and local children, undertaking colobus checks in the local forest and completing the 2009 Monkey Census in Diani and Gongoni forests.

One of the most eye opening experiences has been undertaking de-snaring searches. During one visit we found 12 snares along a 2km transect! It is worrying to think that without the efforts of the trust each of those snares could have caught or injured an animal.

Kenya is a magical place and each day brings new experiences. Like so many before me, I think I might be hooked!



Hope comes to the Colobus Trust

On Wednesday the 28th of October we had a visit from the children of The Hope Academy in Diani.  The main aim of their visit was to educate the pupils about the different primate species found in the Diani Beach area and to highlight the conservation issues they face, particularly regarding the Colobus monkey.  The children are taught that these issues are largely due to human actions, such as cutting down their natural habit and keeping monkeys as pets.  They are also taught that other aspects of our lifestyle inadvertently have a negative impact on the primates such the electrical lines and road which run adjacent to the forest they live in, causing a large number of injuries and deaths to local primates.


Above: Some of the pupils and teachers listening to John

To ensure to continued awareness and future survival of the Colobus we show the pupils what actions the Colobus Trust are doing to tackle these issues. We also demonstrate to them that by helping in small ways such as planting native trees they can have a positive impact on the future of the Colobus monkey.


Above: Colobus staff with teachers and pupils from Hope Academy

We hope that the pupils found the visit rewarding and that they enjoyed their time at the Colobus Trust!



Along came Polly…

Hi there, I am one of the new volunteers at the trust and my first week has certainly been busy. Spending only a week here has shown me just how diverse and important the work of The Colobus Trust is.

So far I have been involved in a variety of the many projects that the trust carries out to ensure that the endangered Colobus monkeys have a future. These projects have ranged from climbing trees to mend the damaged Colobridges or being called out to search for an injured colobus or walking through the ever depleting forest to search for native saplings to add to the unique Colobus Corridor – this will hopefully develop corridors of forest in between the forest patches so Colobus have areas to move safely in.

article-colobus-trust-02-08-09-004.jpg Polly watering the saplings collected

As I am a qualified teacher, I have also become interested in the environmental education work that the Colobus Trust carries out and with the help of Hamisi I hope to begin a new programme after the long school holidays. I will keep you updated on this!

In just a week I have realised the hard work that the Colobus Trust has ahead of it but I do believe with continued hard work from the staff and support from volunteers it is possible.



Daily Nation and Primate Handshake helping us to raise awarness.

Recently the Colobus Trust has been making big moves to raise awarness in diani and all across Kenya. One big supporter of our cause has been the Daily Nation news papper. In the past few weeks two seperate articles have been written on the plight of the Angolan black and white colobus, our flagship speices, whos only remaining habbitat in kenya is here on the south coast. We would like to share these articles with our readers and thank the Daily Nation for its support. Media is one of the best ways for conservation groups to raise awarness. This is one of the largest news pappers in Kenya and is read by thousands of people a day.



 We would also like to thank the Great Primate Handshake. This group was with us a few weeks ago and worked on some very important videos for us here at the Trust. The first video is going to help us with our volunteer programs. We at the Colobus Trust would like to build our volunteer program to allow us to complete many of the projects which require more man power. If you know anyone who is interested in doing some volunteer work or who may have some vacation time and would like a different experience please let them know about us. I can personally guarantee a wonderful stay and an experience you can never forget.


This next video was made for the Kenya ferry service. This Ferry shuttles some 50,000-70,000 people back and forth from Likoni to Mombasa every day. At the waiting station for the ferry are two large screens, one on either end. We have arranged for the ferry service to play our video for free. This is going to raise a lot of awareness about the major issues here in Diani as well as provide information to tourist on what it is we do here at the trust.


 Once again I would like to thank you for joining us. As always small organizations with large responsibilities, such as the Colobus Trust, would not be able to exist without the support from doners such as yourselves. Please continue to support us and we will keep you updated on all of our projects.

Best wishes,

Andrew Hayes

Assistant manager


Support our Good Wood Carvers!

My last blog at the Colobus Trust!

This is Heidi, eco volunteer and I have spent the most amazing last three weeks at the Colobus Trust.  I have helped to plant indigenous tree seedlings, cared for the tree nursery, helped with a re-release of a Sykes monkey, observed and photographed the Colobus, Sykes, Vervets and Yellow Baboons, help teach some of the local kids in the Education program and most importantly revamped the lovely Gift Shop!

We now have some ethically sourced and fair trade items for sale in our gift shop as well as having developed some positive relationships with local carvers and artists to promote conservation in particular working with “good woods.”  I am very sad to be leaving Diani Beach but hope to come back next year for a much longer stint to work at the Colobus Trust (fingers crossed!)  The Colobus Trust is a very worthy conservation project that is actively doing so many things in the community of Diani and beyond.  I hope I made an impact with the carvers as I showed some of them around and spoke to them in depth about conservation, deforestation and using sustainable materials for future generations.  Even if I only made some headway with a handful of local artists, I am very happy to have had the experience in meeting and working with some locals in the community (and practice some of my Swahili!).




Pics from top: Daniel, Daniel and me, Stephen

Late this afternoon I had to pick up the remaining Colobus key rings I ordered from one of our new “good wood” carvers, Peter James.  I met Peter about two weeks ago when I went around viewing all the different sorts of carvings and curios available in Diani.  Peter carves many animals out of all kinds of woods and he is very good at carving key rings with people’s names in them.  I noticed he used ebony (a hard indigenous wood) so I asked him if he ever considered making key rings in mango or neem instead.  He said he would try making some in mango wood as the material was readily available but no one had ever asked him for key rings from mango tree.  Now the second time I checked on Peter about a week ago I happened to meet his wife and two new little babies (twins named Esther and Mangi).  I could see his babies didn’t look well and they were crying their little heads off.  Peter was in a hurry and told me he couldn’t finish the order of key rings as he had to take his babies to hospital but could I please give him a large deposit for the key rings even though the work wasn’t finished.  I normally didn’t give the carvers any hefty deposits before the work was finished but on this occasion my heart sank as I looked at how ill his babies were and I gave him half of the money towards the 10 key rings.  I knew he would spend it all at the hospital or on medication for his babies.

The next day I saw Peter and asked about his babies and checked on the outstanding order for the key rings.  He said he was still working on them as his babies were in hospital and he hadn’t had time to work on them but could I give him another order for key rings and another deposit!  I was a bit reluctant but he pestered me to give him a chance to make a new style key ring with the sample Colobus Trust logo I had given him.  He promised he would make some good key rings and deliver key rings on time next week.  I kept checking up every day this week and some days Peter wasn’t there at his shop but his fellow shop keepers told me he was at the hospital with his sick babies.


It really is Pole Pole sometimes in Kenya (slowly slowly!) but today I picked up the last of the key rings for the shop.  I was very happy to have seen one of the twins, in Peter’s shop lying on the ground all bundled up in her blankets.  She still didn’t look that well but she was out of hospital.  I ended up babysitting Esther while Peter was still working manning his shop and finishing the remaining 9 key rings.  I really didn’t mind waiting and keeping Esther entertained by picking up Maasai carvings and talking to her in my best Swahili (I don’t think she was that impressed with my Swahili though).  I must have entertained her for about 30-40 minutes or until I ran out of all the different types of animal carvings and Maasai people that I had talking to her.

Unfortunately Peter’s little boy, Mangi is still in hospital but now able to get some much needed medication because the Colobus Trust ordered quite a few key rings for the new Gift Shop this past week. The Colobus “Good Wood” key rings which are made out of mango tree are all hand carved and painted by Peter.   They are very simple but I am hoping that some volunteers and other visitors to the Colobus Trust will pick up one or two as a souvenir and not only support the Colobus Trust but help support Peter and his family.  All the new items we have sourced are fair trade and ethically sourced (no middle men making a commission).  I really wanted to make a difference in some small way and I believe by helping the local people in Diani we will continue to build relationships towards positive thinking for our future.  It is up to Peter’s children Esther and Mangi to carry the hope of conservation so I am happy that we were able to support them this week.


Peter and his little girl Esther

You can help support Peter and his family by donating online now to the Colobus Trust and purchasing “Good Wood” items from our Gift Shop.  We will soon have an online shop where we hope that many people will support Diani local “good wood” carvers and artists through fair trade.


Thanks to everyone at the Colobus Trust for making my three weeks so memorable and special.

I will miss you all and look forward to coming back next year as a long term volunteer!


Heidi, Eco-Volunteer


Kaya forest Activities

I am a new volunteer at the Colobus Trust and my name is Arieh and I am Israeli. I came 5 days ago just few days before the other Israeli couple left. When I got the information about the trust I learned that one of the trust activities is “removing snares from the forest; practical conservation work with local communities in the Kaya a sacred forests” I didn’t understand what it’s all about.

Today I had a great opportunity to join to such activity. We went this morning to one of the villages near Diani. On the edge of thick forest there were around 40 men and women waiting for us (few women came with their little babies tied to their backs).


The first assignment was to plant trees in an open field were the forest had once been before it was burned. All the people took part in the activity. Some were digging the holes other were planting the small trees and some were watering. The atmosphere was like a big community party.

After this assignment was done we went to the second one, searching for snares at the Kaya sacred forest. I joined to two man and we pierced through the thick forest trying to follow the animal’s path. Along the way I learned a lot from these two guys about how much this Kaya forest is important in their culture and every day life. We got to a large Baobab tree and they showed me how they come to this trees scatter some food around its trunk for the ancestors spirits that come at nights and telling their troubles or their wishes. The spirits are communicating through the wise old man at the village.

We didn’t find any snares nor did the rest of the people. It’s a good sign that this illegal activity is cut down.


For me it was an excellent opportunity to take part in this kind of community activity that was organized by the trust