Kipepeo Butterfly Project Tour 24/25

Kipepeo Butterfly Project Tour

The Kipepeo Butterfly Project (KBP) was started in 1993 to provide an alternative and sustainable income for the communities living near Arabuko-Sokoke forest near Watamu Beach in Kenya.

Many of the people involved in the Butterfly Project were once illegal loggers or hunters, who now earn a much greater income in butterfly farming.

Kipepeo Butterfly Project Tour

The Kipepeo Butterfly Project has created a sense of community stewardship and communities are motivated to protect the forest.

The initiative

Butterfly farmers from the 50 villages around the forest trap batches of butterflies and they lay eggs, which will eventually turn into pupae that can be sold to international buyers from Europe. Farmers can earn some money, which motivates ex-loggers to join the business.

One of the key objectives of the project to foster an increased awareness of the natural environment, which is achieved through an environmental education program.

Farmers are organized into community groups, with regular meetings to discuss production, marketing and welfare. In addition, Producer Associations of butterfly farmers are involved in forest protection and awareness raising of nature-based enterprises.

At the export markets, the pupae are sold for a variety of purposes, including live butterfly exhibits and private garden owners keen on increasing their exotic varieties.

They are also used by fashion designers to inspire new clothing designs. In some countries the butterflies are released in weddings as part of the ceremony.

The Kipepeo project has gained global attention, winning numerous awards including the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment, presented by the United Nations Habitat program and the Dubai Municipality.

It has been modeled as a classic way of diversifying income for vulnerable communities and insulating them.

The Impact of the initiative

Since Kipepeo Butterfly Project was launched in 1993 illegal logging has reduced, with most loggers now coming from outside the community.

Communities now see the importance of the forest and the average annual per capita income has grown.

Individuals have been able to set up alternative livelihood business with their income and education their children, which previously wouldn’t have been possible.

Butterfly habitats are also protected, and the project has expanded to other forests in Kenya, and it managed by the National Museums of Kenya.

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