KCWCG FOUNDER MAURICE WANJALA PRESENTED WITH GLOBAL HONOUR
In 2020 KCWCG Founder Maurice Wanjala was nominated by the International Crane Foundation for the Disney Conservation Hero Award. The award recognises citizens for their commitment to save wildlife, protect habitats and inspire their communities to take part in conservation efforts. Recipients from around the world were nominated by non-profit environmental organisations. .
Maurice was presented the Conservation Hero Award and was one of only 20 recipients to be selected globally that year.
Maurice has dedicated his life to working with communities to protect and restore wetland habitats in Western Kenya which is home to threatened species including the endangered grey crowned crane.
As a young boy Maurice spent much of his time exploring nature in Western Kenya as a scout. His passion for his local environment and the local community inspired him to create an organisation to protect Saiwa Swamp National Park. With no means of funding or transportation Maurice would walk to schools, churches, and other public gatherings to teach the importance of the wetlands and inspire others to join his conservation cause.
in 1991 Doctor George Archibald, the Co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, was so inspired by meeting Maurice during a visit to Kenya that he gave him his first grant of $70 to continue his efforts. With those funds he bought a bike and began riding longer distances to monitor breeding pairs of cranes and establish environmental clubs and expand his community work.
Maurice is an ongoing partner of ICF, he has established village bird clubs, trained community members to safeguard breeding cranes, expanded awareness campaigns to schools and initiated the significant reforestation of the wetland area to protect its future.
(Video showing preparation for the expansion of the Kipsaina tree nursery)
With the prize award from Disney, he reinvested back into the community therefore continuing to create a legacy from his lifetime’s work. He used the funds he had been awarded to level the village schools football pitch so that the whole community would benefit. He also invested monies in preparing the expansion of the Kipsaina tree nursery.
At the time of being presented the award Maurice said
“The award is a great honour to me, and recognition of the tireless efforts I have made to save these wetlands, home to the beautiful Grey Crowned Crane.”