Pinstone buzzing on the back of the Kenyan B Corp adventure

The team went further afield than their usual territory to visit farmers, as well as a conservation group – the South Rift Land Owners Association (SORALO) – in order to make the presentation of Pinstone-funded beehives that will be contributing much more than pollination and honey production.

Kate Hepplewhite and Catherine Linch from Pinstone had the experience of a lifetime when they went to the South Rift Valley in Kenya as part of a conservation trip that aligned with one aspect of Pinstone’s B Corp goals to give back to people and planet.

When strung on a line, these beehives will form a two kilometre fence to protect local farmers’ crops from being trampled and eaten by elephants. When the fence is disturbed, the bees swarm and the elephants, who instinctively dislike bees, will run away.

Catherine Linch, Pinstone founder and managing director explains why it was an important trip for Pinstone to make: “Preventing human-wildlife conflict is key to these farming communities living side-by-side with some of the globe’s most precious species and we’re proud to help by gifting a nature-friendly solution.”

Kate, part of Pinstone’s consultancy team, explained how local farmers want to both protect their livelihoods whilst respecting the region’s wildlife.

“During our visit, Patrick from SORALO explained that elephants aren’t the only troublesome species for the farming communities.

“He showed us where the lions and other predators like hyenas and leopards, retreat into the dense thickets and pointed out that it’s also where – at the end of a long drought – valuable cattle can stray to find grass.

“So you can see how local herders and wildlife could come into conflict.

“It was really interesting to hear directly from the people who have suffered due to the devastation of crops caused by elephants, or because of the loss of their animals due to other predators.

“It’s easy to see how they could overlook the benefits these beasts bring to the region’s economy because the crops and livestock really are a community lifeline.

“So it’s credit to the work of SORALO that the community engagement project has worked.

“As well as employing teams of rangers, SORALO has recruited local cattle herders to track predators daily so farmers know their whereabouts and they also retrieve lost cattle. When the drought is bad they can pick-up over 2,000 livestock in a single month. Preventing conflict is key to living side by side.”

Supporting women in conservation

Reporting on a chance meeting with a group of women rangers during their African trip, Catherine conveyed the privilege she felt in hearing their stories and what their worked involved in patrolling the enormous region of the South Rift Valley.

In traditional African Maasai communities, it’s unusual for women to choose, or have the opportunity, to take a career path. It can be frowned upon and the women we met were clearly pioneers in establishing equity in the work they do, despite having proving themselves to be equally as able as their male counterparts.

It reminded me of how many women would have been perceived in the UK in former generations and I was impressed by how seriously they clearly took their roles and the recognition of the opportunities a career could bring.

I know the conservation group leader at SORALO was keen to introduce us and present role models of career-minded women to their female ranger cohort and I hope we made some kind of positive impression that will see them continue to pursue their life and career goals.

Patrick explains the work they are doing

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