List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.
The safeguarding activities implemented in the period 2014 – 2017 include:
1. Kaya forests site restoration and enrichment:
The maintenance of tree nurseries has been a continuous activity. These tree nurseries have been established to ensure an adequate supply of seedlings for reforestation and site enrichment. The seedlings have also been available for sale. The income earned has supported cultural practices and the conservation programmes in the Kayas. At Kaya Chonyi, Gandini, Kinondo, Kauma and Rabai, over sixty thousand (60000) seedlings were raised. Three thousand (3000) seedlings were planted at Kaya Chonyi, four thousand (4000) at Kaya Rabai Mudzimwiru and one thousand (1000) seedlings were planted at Kaya Ribe. These activities were intended to enhance the aesthetic and environmental values of the Kaya forests.
2. Recreation and enactment of kaya traditional ritual ceremonies:
Major cultural prayer ceremonies were held at Kayas Kauma, Ribe, Kambe, Fungo Giriama, Rabai Mudzimwiru and Mudzimuvya, Gandini, Mutswakara, Kinondo and kaya Jibana. These ceremonies were meant to invoke spiritual intervention from the ancestors following the extended drought and to quell the volatile environment during the just concluded general elections.
3. Enhancing intergenerational linkages, knowledge transmission and learning between the elders and youth:
Students from schools around Kaya Kauma, Tsolokero and Rabai visited the Kayas and spent time with the elders discussing about the activities that take place in the Kayas. The students were enlightened on how these activities support the safeguarding of the Mijikenda cultural and natural heritage. In addition, a few youth were admitted into the Kaya Councils of Elders at the junior level and continue to undertake the apprenticeship programme. Six (6) are from Rabai, three (3) from Kauma, four (4) from Ribe, two (2) from Jibana, six (6) from Fungo, six (6) Duruma, three (3) Kinondo and two (2) from Kambe. The number of women in the kaya committees has also increased. The new entrants are as follows: six (6) Kaya Chonyi, fifteen (15) Kaya Rabai, three (3) kaya Ribe, two (2) kaya Fungo, two (2) kaya Kinondo and eight (8) kaya Duruma.
4. Cultural festivals:
An intercultural festival for the nine (9) Mijikenda sub-communities was held at kaya Kambe. The event was attended by members of community, the general public and high profile dignitaries.
5. Educational awareness for youth and general public:
Talks were given in twelve (12) primary schools neighbouring kaya Kauma, Tsolokero, Rabai and Fungo on the value and role of the Kayas in the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the Mijikenda community. An essay writing competition was held for the school children and prizes were given to the students who excelled.
6. Regeneration of cultural sites:
Cultural structures, artefacts and cultural spaces in a number of Kayas were rehabilitated. Cultural huts were rebuilt on some sites. On other sites, the entrances and pathways were cleared off vegetation and sacred alters were cleaned. At Kaya Kauma, vigangos and koma (memorial grave posts) were reinstalled.
7. Competition to reward the Kayas that best ensured the viability of the element:
This activity that was supported by the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO involved a six month evaluation of the Kayas with regard to enactment of the traditions and practices associated with the Kayas and the conservation activities taking place in each kaya. The Kayas that excelled in these two categories were rewarded with cash prizes and materials to enhance the enactment and conservation programmes.
8. Income generating activities:
Beekeeping and nursery establishment suffered a setback because of the extended drought between 2015 and 2016. Since the rains are now consistent, it is anticipated that this will enhance honey production and tree planting activities in the Kayas.
9. Kaya Visits:
The Kayas continued to play host to local, regional and international visitors. Access to certain sacred sites is still restricted. The cash tokens offered for cleansing the sites after the visits and for elders’ appreciation tokens support the committees to buy requirements for the rituals.
10. Conservation and conflict resolution programmes:
Capacity building workshops and meetings were held with the Council of Elders, community representatives, and a diversity of stakeholders to lay strategies for conservation activities. Among the stakeholders involved were; Kenya Forest Service, Nature Kenya, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, World Wide Fund (WWF), Kenya and County Governments of Kilifi and Kwale. Conservation activities included site protection measures and patrols by community guards and other state agencies.
With regard to conflict resolution, several meetings were held to create awareness on the need to respect and protect the elderly members of the community against accusation and abuse by some youth over allegations of witchcraft. These meetings achieved the intended goals.
The Kaya forests and the traditions and practices associated therewith have been a centre of focus for different print and electronic media at national and international levels. This has helped to create awareness on the significance of this element nationally and globally. Creation of awareness has also been through production of posters on the Kayas. It is a continuous process.