Njabini Wool Crafters started as a project by the Friends of Kinangop Plateau (FOKP) Community Based Organisation which was formed to promote conservation activities in Kinangop. Members decided to start a wool spinning project that would help see conservation of a rare bird species in the area.
Scientifically known as Macronyx Sharpei, Sharpe’s Longclaw is a Kenyan endemic bird, that is, a species that only lives in a restricted area in Central and Western Kenya, such as on the Kinangop Plateau. The bird’s population is about 10,000, which is thought to be a 99 per cent drop from the population a century ago.
There is little hope for its survival, unless the bird’s habitat is protected. This habitat is clumps of tussock grasses in vast highland spaces. Much of the grasslands are disappearing under large-scale agriculture, human settlement and, ironically, reafforestation projects.
By ensuring that the farmers on the Kinangop Plateau can have sustainable livelihoods selling wool from their sheep to NWC at fair prices, then they will retain the pastureland and thereby ensure that the Sharpe’s Longclaw Habitat is preserved.