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Imagine being surrounded by some of the most beautiful wildlife and landscapes on earth and not be able to enjoy them. In actual fact, enjoying them goes above and beyond what the less fortunate rural communities surrounding many parks and conservancies in Kenya can expect. The inhabitants of these villages have never seen most of the wildlife that surrounds them. Lack of access to park entry fees is one of the major barriers to their ability to experience the wonders that are appreciated by both local and international tourists.

Viewfinders Kenya’s founder Jean was always very keen on supporting those in need, and after her passing on, Sajid pondered over what he could do to give back to the community.

“Why don’t I go back to the park-bordering communities and show them some educational films? After all, media is power!”- Sajid Darr.

In memory of Jean, Sajid launched Jeannies’ Bush Cinema- an exciting educational programme for park-bordering communities to learn about their ecosystem and be rewarded for it!

Every month, Viewfinders Kenya visits a village surrounding a park/conservancy and sets up a mini outdoor cinema for its inhabitants- the children and their parents. One of the 1600 films fixed by Viewfinders Kenya is aired each month. After watching the film, the children are invited to a competition, which is either to write an essay or compose a picture based on what they have learnt. The winner receives school fees for one term or one year (depending on Viewfinder Kenya’s income/jobs that year). 10% of income from every fixing job done is channelled towards this initiative.

Viewfinders Kenya has a library of 1600 films; all of which can be used to raise awareness and educate the communities living around the conservancies. After all, they have never seen many of the animals around them (only during human-wildlife conflict) and without this project, would never get to watch these films since they are not aired on local television, nor do they have access to electricity.

These park-bordering communities get to ‘see’ wildlife and understand its importance. Jeannies’ Bush Cinema has assisted in making communities realise that wildlife belongs to them as well and is not just something for tourists and foreigners alike. The competition tied to the programme raises awareness, sparks creativity amongst the local children, stimulates thinking, changes the human-wildlife conflict narrative, and inspires conservation. These factors represent both direct and indirect benefits to the local communities.  

From inception this year, between June and December, seven films have been aired as detailed below:

  • Umoja Women’s Village (Samburu)

  • Meibai Conservancy

  • Kalama Conservancy

  • Osupuko (Amboseli)

  • Chyulu Hills

  • Twala Tenebo Cultural Women (Laikipia) (x2 films)

  • Rombo Community Conservancy (Amboseli Eco System)

  • Lumo Wildlife Conservancy (Tsavo West)

We look forward to continuing this programme with zest in memory of Jean, and for the enrichment and empowerment of local communities!

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