Wildlife Enterprise Pays for Student to Attend University

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Beatrice Lempaira has proven that conservation pays. In early October, the 21 year-old young Kenyan woman was accepted to Nairobi University's Faculty of Arts program, where she will pursue her undergraduate degree in Economics. Beatrice's tuition will be funded entirely from the revenue generated by one of Kenya's most unique conservation enterprises, Koija Starbeds.

Koija Starbeds is the result of a successful partnership between the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Loisaba Wilderness, and the Koija community in central Kenya's Laikipia district. Combining conservation with enterprise, the world-class ecolodge, known as Starbeds provides tourists with a unique safari experience, while also giving economic benefits to the community around it. The Koija community (population 1,500) owns the lodge through the Koija Community Trust.

Under the banner Conservation for Education, Koija Community Trust approved the sponsorship of Beatrice, who is the first student from the community to attend a university. "We are so proud of her and proud of the Starbeds project," says Mr. Edward Noglie, Vice Chairman of Koija Group Ranch and member of KCT. "This is the first time in the history of Koija Group Ranch that a student has been admitted to a university and immediately got sponsorship."

Beatrice comes from a very poor family but she received extremely strong grades in school and was determined to continue her education. "I will be the ambassador of conservation in the Mukogodo division of Kenya, and I will let people know that the elephants are paying my school fees and therefore they should be protected," says Beatrice with a smile.

Through AWF's Conservation Leadership programs, Beatrice becomes the second female student within the Samburu Heartland to attend university. Jenesis Naiseku, a student from Samburu district undertaking Wildlife Management at Moi University, is sponsored by the Tate Family.

Why is Koija Starbeds so unique? How does it help the community? Learn more here.

Learn more about Conservation Leadership and why educating young leaders is critical for the future of Africa.