Tomorrow I attend a meeting with Nidderdale High School, my childrens school, about a cross cultural project we’re part of. Local primary schools, Glasshouses and St Cuthberts, along with 3 primary schools on the Kenyan Coast are taking part in a DFID funded exchange program initiating curriculum activities promoting Global Dimensions education between the two cultures.

Arabuko-Sokoke forest (41,600 hectares) is the largest single block of natural coastal forest remaining in East Africa and ranks second in bird conservation value, after the Congo rain forest. It lies inbetween Malindi and Kilifi, north of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coastline.

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Of the 52 mammal species found in the forest 5 are globally threatened but 250 recorded species of butterfly also live in the area. These are farmed and sent worldwide to various zoos via the Kipepeo Project

A Rocha Kenya are responsible for the Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and EcoTourism Scheme (ASSETS), working in practical biodiversity conservation from Watamu near Malindi.
ASSETS is a sustainable development programme which promotes such cross cultural exchange programmes between school children, “encouraging community support for the protection of the area.
They also importantly “distribute funding from Eco-tourism throughout the community and especially in the form of bursaries(scholarships) for secondary school children who would otherwise be unable to afford the school.”

Already the pupils of Nidderdale and Arabuko-Sokoke are corresponding, learning about each others lives and promoting enterprise via a paper and card-making business, tutored by the Kisumu Ladies Community Hand-Made Paper Project and by Nidderdale High Schools Science and Art Specialist Award-winning teaching. Exchange of information will also cover horticulture, natural environment management, and farming techniques.

June 20th 2009 the Nidderdale area welcomes the Headteachers from the Mida, Mbarackachembe & Mzizima Primary Schools for a 10 day visit. Teachers from our local schools will visit Kenya in October half term.