Sorry for the silence – we have been away (celebrating my mum’s 70th birthday). Very very nice but good to be home.
And what a treat to come back to the news that an anonymous donor has made a kind donation of USD25. Thank you SO much whoever you are We really appreciate your help and in fact depend completely on it. You probably know that we don’t have any funding as such. Noone at the project (currently it is just me, Volker and Simon) receives a salary and we have all been working here for a long time on a pro bono basis. You will appreciate how hard it is sometimes to motivate volunteer staff when we all have bills to pay and mouths to feed at home. You probably wonder how we survive – I wonder that myself but basically all 3 of us have to do other things so that we get by financially. Our goal for this year is to get some formal funding/sponsorship but this is never easy.
When we receive a donation it means we can carry on with our work, be it community based or research based. When the money runs out, it means quite simply that we cannot do our work unless we pay for it ourselves (which we have all done for years too!). So a donation, nomatter how small, makes a very REAL difference to us. We can buy education materials to make our workshops in schools more fun, we can help Simon with his food bills, we can pay for boat fuel when we go out on research expeditions, we can give fishermen viable alternatives to using their deadly nets that catch whale sharks and hundreds of turtles each month. With your help we really do make a significant difference straightaway.
So a big thank YOU!!
Our current focus is on getting funding to attend the 2nd International Whale Shark Conference in Mexico this July. We are applying for travel grants. We feel that it is really important that we attend this conference. We both attended the first ever international whale shark conference in Perth, Australia in 2005. We made invaluable contacts there and can honestly say that we are where we are today on the back of that amazing opportunity to network and see how Australia manages its whale shark eco-tourism. Since then we have done an enormous amount of work – we have done 4 tagging expeditions, numerous fundraising campaigns, consistent community work and publicity. This year we put out the highest amount of satellite tags in one place in history and we want to be able to present all our work in Mexico. We have effectively put Kenya on the global whale shark map. Last year we almost made it to Mexico but Hurricane Dean caused the conference to be cancelled which was really sad. We are determined to get there this year to fly the flag for Kenyan whale sharks!
I am also busy trying to organise a big fundraising concert to raise money for the project. Katya Grineva who came to do a charity benefit for us wants to come back – her big concert in January had to be cancelled because of the post-election violence. We are delighted that she wants to come back but need at least one big sponsor to help us make that happen.
So as it pours with rain outside and the seas heave and the wind screams and the boats are all brought up for the next 3 months, we continue with what community work we can and as much paper work and admin as we can stomach!
Please help us get to Mexico so that we can continue with our work here in Diani come October when the whale shark season starts.