The Tsavo Ecosystem and Dispersal Area (TEDA) incorporates vast savannahs, plains, hills and water towers such as Chyulu, Taita Hills, Shimba Hills in Kwale and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania from which extensive rivers and water systems emanate including the volcanic Mzima Springs, Lugard's Falls, Tana, Athi-Galana-Sabaki and Voi Rivers; in addition to unique water bodies such as Lakes Jipe and Chala and even the Indian Ocean - the final destination of water from all these rivers and water bodies. Tsavo Ecosystem & Dispersal Area includes the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks which, together, comprise Africa’s largest wilderness reserve and holds one third of Kenya’s total elephant population. TEDA is a bio-diversity of wild animals and plants some of which are exclusively indigenous to the region. TEDA lies on one of the main North-South migration routes for birds and animals which collectively form a unique biodiversity feature in the world.
Furthermore, TEDA also holds within it rich culturalheritage sites and memorablehistorical events with exceptional significance in the world. Some of these major sites and events hosted by TEDA include the historic Kenya-Uganda Railway, the railway line from Mombasa to the shores of Lake Victoria (1986 - 1905) driven by strategic British imperial interests seeking to secure the source of the Nile and control over Egypt and the Suez Canal. Secondly, the Fort Jesus built by the Portuguese in the 15th Century to secure their lucrative trade route to the Far East. Thirdly, the Taveta colonial administration post,site of the First Shot of the East African Campaign thatmarked the beginning of World War I. Furthermore, a significant number of East African soldiers recruited into the forces of World War II came from the TEDA. Fourthly, the cave-shrines with well- preservedskulls of different clans of the Wataita (the final resting place of the departed)are some of the most outstanding cultural heritage sites in the TEDA.
The priceless ecological biodiversity,cultural and historical heritage described above are under very serious threat from adverse effects of unsustainable land use, environmental degradation, inappropriate management of natural resources and the effects of Climate Change. These threats have manifested themselves in the TEDA in form of recurrent droughts, flash floods,deforestation, loss of land fertility, reduced agricultural potential, reduction of the quality and quantity of resources like water, dwindling capacity for food production, loss of individual and household incomes resulting in poverty conditions, hunger, unemployment, increased human-wildlife conflict and other social conflicts. The Tsavo Heritage Foundation (THF) was formed to mitigate these disruptions on the environment and livelihoods of communities in and the TEDA covering about 12 counties in Kenya (Mombasa,Kwale,Kilifi,Tana River,Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Makueni, Machakos, Kitui , Makueni and Nairobi) as well as the Kilimanjaro region in the Republic of Tanzania. THF is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to restore and conserve the heritage of Tsavo Ecosystem in a holistic manner. In the course of its operations THF will work in partnership with County and National Governments, governmental agencies, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, the Taita Taveta University, other learning and research institutions, community based organisations and local communitiesto enhance efforts towards environmental conservation and improvement of livelihoods in and around the TEDA.
THF has set up a major fund to support the realisation of its objectives and fulfilment of her mandate.
THE TSAVO FUND This fund will support two key and fundamental anchor programs.
1. The Conservation Program This program will be used for biodiversity conservation of the Tsavo Ecosystem;and specifically the rehabilitation of the forests and water towers of Taita Taveta County and Chyulu hills. Through this program we also hope to documentation, mapping leading to the earnest conservation of the TEDA heritage and cultural sites
2. Community Development program This program will focus on strengthening the capacity of local communities to improve their welfare and livelihoods through formal and non-formal education, vocational training, wealth creation,creating awareness on environmental conversation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources found in Tsavo Ecosystem and Dispersal Area.
THF is led by Board of Directors responsible for the organisation’s Strategy. The Board works with and through the Secretariat comprising a team of technical experts who identify and mapoutthematic and geographical areas of mitigation in the form of programs and projects. The Board is also responsible for selecting and inviting Patrons to provide guidance, advice and support organisational initiatives so as to increase the rate of success, build ownership and mitigate potential political risks.
THF intends to mobilise funds locally and internationally from the National and County Governments, donors and funding agencies, private foundations and individuals to support her activities. THF will also, from time to time, organise events aimed at raising funds while using such events to create awareness amongst the various stakeholders and potential supporters. A very limited proportion of these funds will support the administrative core functions that are essential for routine operations of the organisation.
FIRST STEPS The foundation is planning to organise a forum – THE TSAVO FORUM that will bring together key players working on conservation within TEDA with a view of setting up the Tsavo Working Group (concept attached).
The formation of the forum will be closely followed by launch of the Tsavo Working Group in Nairobi at a gala event where a work plan of the Working Group and start of development of the Tsavo Marshall Plan will be will be made public. Tsavo Foundation www.tsavoheritage.org www.tsavoforum.org