With just two days to go before Enonkishu Conservancy’s Out of Africa fundraiser which Wild Philanthropy is supporting, I thought I’d (re)connect a few dots with regards to the eco-system, the partnership, Goodwood, and what’s on offer on the day.
Briefly, Enonkishu is situated in the northern Mara, Kenya. It is home to the Masaai, is 6000 acres large, and is committed, as it says, ‘to sustainable rangeland management that allows space and resources for all people, cattle and wildlife.’ Modelling itself on the success story that is Ol Pejeta, it seeks to support itself – and so conserve its rangelands – through a series of conservation-orientated certified training programmes, a livestock enterprise and tourism. While not as developed as Ol Pejeta, it’s a very switched on conservancy:
- Its Mara Training Centre was set up as a means with which to tackle problems of deteriorating land health, bare land increases, failing water resources and population growth, focussing on natural resource regeneration and community revitalisation.
- Livestock management plays a central role in this, as headed up by the ongoing success of premium brand Mara Beef. Using a wildlife-livestock integrated approach, the beef is grown on Naretoi Farm and surrounding conservancy lands, and stands as fine pragmatic example of a sustainable community-owned enterprise, and of how, more generally, to move from subsistence farming methods to commercial ranching without unnecessarily compromising culture and tradition.
- Meanwhile, the conservancy’s commitment to rangeland biodiversity and the maintenance of a balanced mixed-use approach to land use makes tourism a natural and sustainable source of income. Its main accommodation, House in the Wild, is a private home owned by Lippa and Tarquin Wood. Conservation fees raised from tourism are distributed evenly through the community.
Wild Philanthropy is the conservancy’s international partner. Our task is twofold: one, increase awareness of the conservancy, which we are seeking to do through sustainable travel; and two, help finance the nascent businesses, which we do through fundraising and through grants and preferential loans. So far, we’ve provided a much needed $15,000 bridging loan.
All of which brings us to Goodwood, and the final piece in the puzzle. The Duke and Duchess of Richmond & Gordon’s son spent six months of his gap year helping out on the conservancy. Perfect then that the fundraiser should be at Goodwood House, for Enonkishu, and in the company of those who are doing so much for the conservancy. Apart from delicious food in beautiful surrounds, the opportunity to learn more about the conservancy, and the sounds of The London Essentials, the auction itself promises to be something special. It includes two safaris, a six-month volunteer placement at the conservancy, paintings by Martin Aveling and David Shepherd, and a rather excellent collection of rare whiskies. Lippa’s father has volunteered to play auctioneer. What a night. I’m off to press my suit.
If you would like to know anything about the Out of Africa fundraiser, Enonkishu or Wild Philanthropy in general, please get in touch with Paul Herbertson. Also, please note that it’s possible to donate online on the Wild Philanthropy site.