The community neighbouring the Park and Reserve was originally homogenous and predominantly Muslim. They are classified under the Digo tribe although the languages spoken are Kivumba, Kifundi and Kidigo. In recent years there has been influx of different cultures and tribes due to an increase in employment and investment opportunities in different sectors in this area, especially tourism. Now you will see an array of different cultures, each unique in their own way from mother tongue language to tribal dress. However the Digo tribe and Islam are still predominant within the region.
How the community benefits from the presence of the Marine Park
. Community enterprise: jobs are provided for boat operators and their crews, snorkel guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff; tourists pay to stay on Wasini or in Shimoni and also visit the Slave Caves; tourists, hotels and restaurants purchase products in Shimoni and Wasini
. Community projects are supported: building classrooms in Mkwiro and Shimoni; provision of student desks, chairs and books; the construction of the board walk for the Wasini women’s group
. Waste management collection and recycling
. Training of boat operators on guiding skills and marine survival techniques
. Visits of school children to the Park for recreation and education
. The Park and Reserve act as a reservoir for fisheries. Fish that breed and grow here move out into fishing areas to be caught.
Our premise is that “if people benefit from wildlife and other natural resources, then they will take care of these resources.”
How can you help the community?
Many tour operators (and sellers at the jetty) will suggest that tourists should buy candy, pencils and exercise books for the children of Wasini. This can lead to near riots as well as tooth decay. The best way to help may be something less obvious like exercise books and fruit for the deaf school near Shimoni, basic medicines for the clinic, or soap for washing hands at any of the many schools in the area. Basic medicines can be bought in larger pharmacies around Mombasa or Nairobi, often very cheaply if bought in a container of 500 or 1000 tablets. Medicines like paracetamol, metoclopramide, amoxicillin, eye drops, tinidazole, ibuprofen, hydrocortisone creams, cotrimoxazole and mebendazole/ albendazole will always be appreciated by the clinic staff. Shimoni Primary School and Wasini Primary School are in sore need of desks. If you wish to give towards those, then contact the KWS Warden, Deputy Warden or Roy at the ticket office.