MEP Support Staff Essential During COVID-19

While Mara Elephant Project’s rangers deservingly receive most of the spotlight for their conservation impact, not all conservationists work in the field. MEP’s Chief Financial Officer Stanley Misoka (pictured left) works in our offices located in Nairobi and while Stanley’s qualifications and experience mean he can work for an audit firm, he has chosen to work at MEP because of his passion for conserving Kenya’s iconic wildlife and ecosystems. Stanley joined MEP in 2018 and is a Certified Public Accountant with experience in accounting, budgeting and grants financial management. He’s previously worked at NGOs Heifer International, Amref Health Africa and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Since high school Stanley has been passionate about lending his talents to NGOs, “I genuinely wanted to contribute my skills to somehow help protect and conserve our wildlife. That’s the reason why I have worked for several non-profit organizations since they strive to make an actual impact in the communities.” Stanley grew up in Nakuru and graduated from Egerton University with a Bachelor of Science specializing in Mathematics & Statistics. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Finance at the University of Nairobi and is a CPA K holder having completed all examinations and is a registered member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.

“I joined MEP because I wanted to make a difference and be part of an organization that’s actually making it happen on the ground.”

CPA Stanley Misoka

Stanley’s skill set is already invaluable to our organization; however, his role during COVID-19 has meant he’s become an expert at navigating difficult regulations to ensure MEP’s rangers have what they need in the field to continue their work. Mara Elephant Project rangers are isolated in the field protecting the Mara’s wildlife, communities and habitat during COVID-19, but their need for supplies remains the same despite increased restrictions. So, what kinds of supplies does MEP need to run? We need supplies like vehicle and motorbike spares for vehicles operating in the field, ranger equipment and uniforms, COVID-19 related supplies such as PPEs, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and spray bottles as well as firecrackers for conflict mitigation, medical supplies including medicine and first aid kits for rangers and staff. Also, little things like kitchen supplies for rangers who eat all of their meals in the field and office supplies for MEP’s administrative staff on site. Additionally, aviation fuel to keep the Karen Blixen Camp Trust helicopter flying is an essential need for our organization.

Most of MEP’s supplies come from Nairobi via nearby smaller city centers like Narok and Nairobi has had very strict travel restrictions that are due to expire June 6. These restrictions, while necessary, have made getting supplies in and out of Nairobi for our rangers logistically difficult and that’s where Stanley comes in. Karen Blixen Camp was invaluable to our organization for getting us the supplies we needed weekly on their lorry. Now, with COVID restrictions and KBC’s temporary closure, MEP supplies must be transported with a registered courier company at a large cost to Narok and then onto MEP HQ. It’s also taking longer to get supplies from Nairobi to MEP HQ, as most businesses are either closed or have reduced operations. Food supply prices have increased and there continues to be minimal supply as the lockdown remains. Additionally, due to COVID restrictions on imports into Kenya, MEP is delayed in getting supplies like signal kits, emergency flare kits and LED flashlights.

“COVID-19 related supplies were in short supply at very high prices. Normal essential supplies are also scarce since some businesses have closed down due to the negative economic impact of the virus. imports are on a sharp decline as compared to a few months back. It’s making logistics for MEP increasingly difficult and more expensive.” Chief Financial Officer Stanley Misoka

On top of running our organization’s finances, Stanley is also a critical staff member during the pandemic by keeping MEP going in the field. Just living in Nairobi has required a lot of adjustment, like much of the world. Social distancing, proper handwashing, wearing a face mask in public and a 7 p.m. curfew is the new normal. While Stanley has been complying with all government guidelines and working from home as much as possible, he still must venture out to search for supplies and necessary essentials for MEP. Mara Elephant Project is grateful for Stanley’s efforts during this challenging time for our organization. Pictured left: Stanley in the Mara.