iHub Consulting By Mel Mbugua / April 14, 2013
Tech Meets Conservation
The World Wildlife Fund approached iHub in 2012 to discover how they could engage tech in their conservation efforts. Since those early conversations, iHub Consulting has led the effort to create a movement within the tech community which will focus on finding solutions for conservation using technology and getting more young Africans involved in environmental conservation.
Already, a community of conservation enthusiasts within iHub has begun to form: it represented iHub at the Earth Hour 2013 challenge, which was held at the Boma Hotel on March 23rd. Last week, we called a meetup to present what we know about the state of Kenya’s ecology and hear what techies think of all this. It turns out that there are a good number of techies who understand the urgency and importance of conservation, especially in Kenya.
This presentation was made to the group, showing the work WWF has been doing in Kenya around freshwater, marine wildlife, civic education, nature-based events and species protection. A major challenge faced in conservation is the fact that technology to invest in a green economy is either expensive or lacking altogether. This is where the tech community can add value.
These main points emerged from the discussion:
- We should be building technology which is inherently ecologically sustainable e.g. using renewable energy
- Digital communication can and should be used as a driver to sensitize Kenyans about conservation and hold each other accountable for ‘bad’ ecological behaviour
- Conservation efforts must be aimed as MASS impact otherwise they would not make sense
- We can begin by learning what other organizations are already doing e.g. WWF, Green Belt Movement etc
Finally, we decided to meet regularly and take field trips such as what the team at Ushahidi have done. WWF invited us to visit their project in the Lake Naivasha Basin and this will be our first trip to explore opportunities for technology in conservation. To plug in to the group, join the Geeks in Gumboots group here.
Kimunya at 09:47:01AM Monday, April 15, 2013
Awesome to see iHub and techies enthusiastically engaging in conservation and ecology. This is indeed a solid indication of global citizens taking leadership on issues that matter and are central to our existence. What affects the environment has an impact on individuals, communities and business. We now need to take this forward and leave a positive impact now and for future generations. Find more on WWF’s work in eastern and southern Africa here http://www.panda.org/esarpo
[Kimunya is also the Director Communication & Branding for WWF's Eastern & Southern Africa Regional Programme Office based in Nairobi Kenya]Reply
Mikel Maron at 17:36:50PM Monday, April 15, 2013
Excellent, so good to see this initiative. The space of conservation and tech is getting very interesting! I’ve been working with WWF on tech projects in DRC and elsewhere, and networking with other East African groups looking to do more. Off the top of my head, would love to see if things like OpenStreetMap mapping parties could be a part of an upcoming field visit; and perhaps ICCM in November offers some opportunity for a conservation focused track.
One comment on “Conservation efforts must be aimed as MASS impact otherwise they would not make sense”. Indeed, conservation problems are globally networked problems, deforestation in one part of the world is intricately linked to demand for projects elsewhere. However, our gut understanding of conservation problems are usually very localized … for example, it’s one thing to try to understand that an area the size of Rhode Island is deforested every year in the Amazon, another more visceral thing to see the impact on one local community.
Looking forward to more conservation conversation.Reply
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