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Mlilo Community Tours & Safaris Activities

Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris and Taita Taveta Wildlife Forum has over the years struggled to put the Eco-Tourism agenda as a key Development Agenda in the Coast Province. Through lobbying at various levels, the then Taita Taveta District Development Committee adopted it as an important District Development Planning Strategy towards the realization of Vision 2030.
Since the establishment of Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris in 2009, Mlilo has clearly demonstrated that Eco-Tourism is by far the most viable option especially for Arid Coastal Areas and in areas within Communities bordering the park who at the moment faced with Human Wildlife Conflict and in view of failing agricultural productivity due to dwindling rainfall and acute change in weather patterns.
Mlilo in partnership with KWS Community, KWS Education Department and all Technical Heads of Departments in Taita District made field visits to nature based Tourism Enterprises and to map out Tourist Hot Spots in the area on 22nd May 2008,2nd June2008,21st June2008,and 22nd June 2008.
So far Mlilo has been able to undertake the following in regard to Tourism particularly Community Based Tourism as an enterprise.
1. Lobby for adaption of Community Based Tourism Enterprise as a County Development Agenda.
2. Development of Coastal Tourism Circuit.
3. Through this initiative, Ministry of Tourism and Ecotourism Kenya has made a number of workshops in all the regions to educate CBTE Stake Holders and inventory will be undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism and Ecotourism Kenya and a database for Home stays, sites and community run camp sites developed.
4. Various CBO’s formed and registered around tourism sites and technically supported to establish basic utilities.
5. Mlilo has developed a marketing brochure detailing products within Coastal Circuits and other CBT Circuits in other regions in Kenya.
6. Mlilo in Partnership with NMK (National Museum of Kenya) undertook a County Wide Visit and identified 800 potential shrine and heritage sites and suggested the need to establish three Community Museums in Taita- Taveta County.
7. Mlilo in conjunction with Eco-Tourism Kenya and Taita-Taita Wildlife Forum held a one day mentorship workshop in Wundanyi for CBTE’s where prominent Tourism Industry personalities engaged CBTE Committees in charting a road Map for Community Bases Tourism.
8. Mlilo made 2 days safari to Mwanda for Mountain Climbing with 9 Local Tourists and stayed overnight at Kidule Homestay.
9. Mlilo has assisted many of its members in proposal writing sent to several funding institutions.

SERVICES
A numbers of CBTEs has received direct services through Mlilo Community Tours & Safaris.
Malindi District Cultural Association received volunteers from France through AOP in partnership with Mlilo to assist in preparation of a Strategic plan to assemble a coconut milk extracting plant.
Funju Ecotourism Project also received engineer student volunteers from France through A.O.P in partnership with Mlilo to assist in putting up an eco-lodge on the top of Funju hill.
Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris also received student volunteers from France & Germany through A.O.P to assist Mlilo in the following:-
1. To assist in product developments and marketing.
2. To upgrade the website
3. To Develop Mlilo Brochure which can be used to market Mlilo locally and internationally.
4. To Prepare business and Management Plan
5. And Marketing Strategy
Three students from Egerton University through Eco-Tourism Kenya also assisted Mlilo to organize event; World Wide Day to Responsible Tourism and Development of Management Plan.
Mlilo Tours, TARIKIH and TTWF developed a high Adrenalin Adventure Safari package targeting the dare Devils. This Safari will see you traverse the expansive varieties which besides hosting wildlife also are home to pockets of world finest Gemstone mines in TaitaTaveta District ,Nature Walk and canoeing in Tana River District,where you will find Red Columbus monkey, crocodiles and Hippos in abundant.
Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris with the Representatives from Ministry of Tourism Coast Region made Field visits to Taita hills and Malindi Community based Tourism destinations for mapping out the market ready products which can be marketed and pamphlets made for the same. As a support member of (ICRT) Mlilo in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Eco- Tourism Kenya and community based Tourism Organizations organized two events, in Taita Taveta and Malindi regions.
World wide Day for Responsible Tourism
1. Theme-Rural Heritage 2nd June 2010 – Taita Taveta
2. Theme-Responsible Tourism – 2nd June 2011 - Malindi
Mlilo also organized Tree Planting activities at Funju in Taita Taveta with the assistance from Kenya Forest Services -2009.

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
A number of CBT (Community based tourism) project are under implementation .This is as enumerated below.
Mlilo has been providing strategic partnership with CBTS in Taita, Kilifi and Malindi regions.
Mlilo did organize outreach programmes which led to formation of community Based Tourism Enterprise groups and made the groups register with Eco-Tourism Kenya.
Mlilo is grateful to the support provided by the Arid Lands Resource Management Project II and Ecotourism Kenya and Taita -Taveta Wildlife Forum that enabled it to organize the mentorship workshop for community Based Tourism Enterprises which brought together CBOs that have activities related to CBT’S and the Tourism Operators.
Mlilo Community Camp Site has received 35 tones of ballast from Sangani Mining Company for the Construction of Mlilo Community Safari Lodge. A Restaurant and two (2) Toilet built.
Mlilo in partnership with MADCA organized Mekatilili Festival which was attended by CBTE’S from Taita-Taveta Region three times; the last one attended by The HERO MWANGEKA’s Great Grand Sons from Mwanda Taita Hills and met the HEROINE MEKATILILI WA MENZA’s Grand Daughters in Bungale Location –Malindi District.

HOMESTAYS
Mlilo has identified a number of home stays in Taita hills and the lower Coast, and most of them can accommodate 4 (four) to 10 (ten) persons.

PARTNERSHIP
Mlilo is moving to the next level of looking for partnership with the Chinese, French and Germany Travel Agents, Hoteliers and Tour Operators who will act as strategic business partners.
In this financial year 2012, new partnerships were developed. Among the most notable is the partnership with the Eden Roc Hotel Management, Sea View Resort, Malindi Cottages, Breeze Point, Malindi Women Aids Fighters Organization (MWAFO), Art Outreach Programme (AOP), an organization that bring student volunteers who assist community based organizations in various livelihood activities.

EXPANSION OF NEW THEMES
There is an effort to expand into new themes, such as HIV/AIDS. There is a glaring absence when it comes to linkages of HIV/AIDS and environment which needs to be explored. Mlilo and MWAFO seek to outreach the issue of HIV/AIDS into the conservation circles and programmes
Community Based Tourism or Cultural and Heritage Tourism is one of the sectors that we are promoting aggressively since it is a potential source of revenue in future, both for communities and Mlilo Community Tours.

ECO-TOURISM
Livingstone Mghenyi , Managing Director of Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris received recognition for his efforts to rally the communities in Taita-Taveta and Malindi regions in Conservation and Community Based Tourism by being awarded the ECO-WARRIOR AWARD( individual category ) by Eco-Tourism Kenya during the Galla Night Dinner held at Safari Park on 27th November 2009, in conclusion of the National Biannual Ecotourism Conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Ecotourism in the Changing Climate’.

CONCLUSION
Mlilo Community Tours and Safaris still requires support and goodwill from all the stakeholders in the region for it to have a greater impact. We appreciate the support received from all Government’s Technical Heads of Departments and Eco-tourism Stakeholders and NGOs.We are looking for more Ecotourism Student Volunteers to assist Community Based Organizations which are affiliated to Mlilo.