Spotlight Africa: breaking ground on new KWS building in Amboseli

The new KWS building, which is estimated to cost USD 90,000 will be fitted with solar panels to cater for power lapses and gutters to aid in rainwater harvesting and conservation. c. IFAWWalking through the office buildings at the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters in Amboseli National Park, one cannot help but notice the number of staff seating in each office. Each office caters for on average three departments which in the small offices is quite a tight fit!

This is not surprising given that the buildings were built in 1974 as a security camp for wardens and not as offices for administration purposes. The buildings do not have a boardroom and with the limited office space any meetings are either held outside under trees, or at the canteen. Both areas are far from conducive for important deliberations to take place with no interruptions.

Related: Kenya celebrates the inaugural World Wildlife Day

Forty years later, IFAW is funding the construction of a new administration block! The construction of the building is in-line with one of IFAW’s Amboseli Project six thematic areas: enhancement of basic park operations and infrastructure.

The ground-breaking event for the building aptly named ‘IFAW Administration Block’ was held on 11th March 2014 at the Park headquarters in Amboseli. IFAW’s Field Project Officer Evan Mkala represented IFAW; while KWS was represented by the Park’s out-going Senior Warden Julius Cheptei.

Mr. Cheptei likened the ground breaking ceremony to planting seeds which would result in bearing many more seeds.  “By breaking ground today we are sowing seed and as it germinates it will be used to do good work,” he stated. “Though it has taken this long to construct new buildings, the timing is right as life begins at 40!” he added.

The IFAW Administration Block will thankfully have a boardroom and, offices for the Senior Warden, Deputy Warden, Community Warden and operations for Research, Procurement and Accounts departments. Mr. Cheptei was grateful for the proposed building stating:

“It has not been easy working from the current offices. We don’t have a board room and even meetings with high level officials are conducted in the staff canteen which is not favorable or in a hotel which is costly.”

The park will not only increase KWS staff efficiency in service delivery, but will also benefit Amboseli stakeholders including members of the local community as they engage more frequently and effectively with KWS.

The building which is estimated to cost USD 90,000 will be fitted with solar panels to cater for power lapses and gutters to aid in rainwater harvesting and conservation.

At the end of the event, Mr. Cheptei dedicated the construction to one of the KWS staff who was born in 1974 when the current buildings were constructed.

--JN

For more information about IFAW efforts in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, visit our project page.

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