Many young conservationists (particularly those who have found it difficult to serve the house of Windsor and other paranoid avenues of ‘Whiteness’) have often asked me about how they can do this, and how I have managed. First, you need to understand that the conservation civil society in Kenya is a miasma of corruption that defies belief. There is a reason why when Kenyans bemoan corruption, you won’t hear any voices from this sector.

In 2016, when I was still naïve, I got on the website of African Wildlife Foundation, put my name on the ‘prequalification list’ (yes, they did have prequalification) and did a technical and financial proposal for the next consultancy advertised. I got no response, but a couple of weeks later, almost at the deadline, I received an email from a random ‘management’ firm telling me they got my contact from someone at AWF and complimenting me on my qualifications and asking me to join their team! He attached their proposal and I easily recognized the technical elements from the proposal I had submitted. I refused, but I woke up.

TAKE HOME LESSON:- Any Conservation NGO who asks you to do (a) A financial proposal and (b) A technical proposal are dishonest. They have funding, but zero brains or skills to do the work, so they are looking to steal your skills. These 2 proposals are the key parts of any project, and if you submit them, the project can easily be done by any overpaid high school dropout. The email string below is one I did last week for sport, and to demonstrate this lesson to a friend of mine.

Water Quality Consultancy


Mordecai Ogada <>Wed, Apr 7, 10:53 AM (6 days ago)

Good Morning, I am writing to you in reference to a consultancy being offered by XXX for Mapping Of Water Quality and Quantity in Laikipia, Isiolo and Samburu Counties. I am a conservation policy expert with over 10 years’ experience in the said area (See CV attached) and I am offering my services for this project.

Please contact me if XXX would like to procure my services and we can take the discussion forward from there.

Kind regards

Mordecai Ogada

Dr. Mordecai O. Ogada
P.O. Box 880-10400

XXXWed, Apr 7, 10:59 AM (6 days ago)
to me

Hello Ogada,

Kindly use below link to make application;

Mapping Of Water Quality and Quantity in Laikipia, Isiolo and Samburu Counties – https:xxxxxx



Mordecai Ogada <>Wed, Apr 7, 11:28 AM (6 days ago)

Dear XXX thanks for the prompt reply. I had actually written to you because I had looked at the link, and I was surprised to see that it asked for applicants to prepare 2 crucial components of the study:

1. Financial Proposal (detailed itemized budget)

2. Technical Proposal (Technical and analytical methodology)

As a scientist I can tell you that these are the 2 most difficult and taxing parts of any study because it determines performance and outcomes. Am I supposed to donate this to XXX as a free service before being recruited? That is like asking a contractor to build you a house as an application for a contract. If you dont award him the contract, you remain with the house.

As a professional, I find that unethical. If XXX needs my services, I have given my CV and I am available, but if I take my profession seriously, I cannot offer technical services for free, while knowing that the client has received a grant for the same.

Kind Regards

Mordecai Ogada

XXXWed, Apr 7, 11:34 AM (6 days ago)
to me

Hello Ogada,

The Technical proposal is a basic document (Max 10 pages) to detail how you intend to carry out the assignment. We use this to evaluate the different consultants expressions of interest and if we find your proposal matching our needs, then we will engage you to implement the assignment.

If not suitable, we discard and will not use it according to the EU GDPR regulations.

Mordecai Ogada <>Wed, Apr 7, 11:44 AM (6 days ago)
to XXX

Hi Again, Thanks for your response. Information/ data is the new ‘gold’ in today’s world. This is highly technical and valuable information and nobody in the world (least of all SNV) is going to ‘discard’ it because they aren’t using it at this time. Actually, once I give the technical proposal, its like an architectural design, and the consultancy + my methodology + my budget can be given to anyone. You would not need to hire me.

No thank you. When XXX want a serious consultant for this assignment, you have my contacts.

Good day to you,

Mordecai Ogada

XXXWed, Apr 7, 11:52 AM (6 days ago)
to me

Your email is not in good taste Dr. Ogada.

If how SNV does it’s business does not please you as a professional, just ignore the advert and move on, there’s no need to go to the below extent.

KNOW what you wear, and OWN it

Today’s lesson is about beadwork amongst pastoralist communities. In the course of a discussion earlier today, I realized how few people are aware of the poisoned chalice that lies within this apparently innocuous activity that produces such beautiful items. First, we must understand context. The beadwork used for adornment is amazing in its beauty and variety. It is a crucial part of those cultures in identifying people, families, age groups, marital status etc. So many bonds are created by the exchange of these items as gifts, etc. This is GOOD. Now to beadwork as a tool in conservation projects. Here, it is a problem, and this is why- It is relentlessly pushed and harped on by foreign conservation pirates as a hoax to create the false impression amongst the Maa community that their culture is appreciated by these interlopers. It is NOT, because they take this small portion of Maa culture and reject the rest. They use beadwork as one of the so-called ‘alternative livelihoods’ yet it never was a livelihood. They pay pittances to women (I’ve heard figures like Sh. 45/- per hour, but I stand to be corrected if someone has more accurate figures) who spend whole days away from home. What is the price of a rural woman’s role in the home? What is the cost in lost care for her home? In lost tactile contact with her children? Certainly NOT 45/- (For the non-kenyans, that is 45 US cents). Let me state it here- the principle behind all these ‘alternative’ livelihoods is to get pastoralists away from livestock, where their power, pride, wealth and identity lie. CONservation science keeps saying livestock are bad, they are degrading the environment we need them out of “our” rangelands. I have never seen livestock walking around on their own without humans, so this is just a euphemism for them wanting pastoralists out of the rangelands that are their birthright! Livestock is the one part of Maa culture they HATE because it is the glue that binds you to your homelands. A Samburu (for example) who has no livestock will never go to Samburu. What is he going to do or see there? Same applies to all pastoralist communities- once you have been labelled ‘bandits’ your cows called ‘scrawny animals’ and starved by fences, if not shot by security forces, you will leave for Narok, Nairobi, Isiolo, Nanyuki and other towns and never go back. The rangelands will be called “protected areas” and remain as the domain of the pirates. To add insult to injury, they sell this beadwork abroad for hefty profits. One snapshot of this duplicity; A Spanish company called ‘pikolinos’ which has a ‘Maasai Project’ where they fly leather from spain (carbon footprint, anyone?) to be beaded by Maasai women in Kenya and sold for top dollar back in Europe. They love the beadwork so much that they fly leather from Europe to be worked on but they hate your pastoralism so much that they would never empower you by using hides from your animals. Other lodges demand that their employees dress in full traditional regalia and beadwork, yet they dont want to see a single cow or goat anywhere in the horizon. What witchcraft is this? Somebody told me that a beadwork project has made some women ‘self sufficient’. Pray what were they eating before the saviour came? These are women who have homes and have raised children, and someone suddenly thinks he is their ‘daddy’?? SMH
So, should you buy Maasai beadwork/ trinkets? Yes, of course! But just buy from your local makers and sellers. Avoid the ones sold by foreign projects that claim to ‘empower’ women, blah blah. These ones will be very costly in terms of the number of ritual sacrifices needed to exorcise the demons that feed on their production chain. We have such a long way to go.

Conservation thoughts from Kenya 2019…

Under the current conservation paradigm and structures in Africa (which was developed nearly a century ago, A black man’s place is to be a RANGER, enforcing western created policies against his own brothers, not unlike the case of colonial homeguards. Here in Kenya, KWS still doesn’t contribute to policy formulation, although they sit in the meetings and are expected to implement and enforce policy. Here are cases in point;
1. The corporate communications officer regularly reported donations to KWS. These include; a fleet of landcruisers from USAID, scenes of crime kits from AWF, Laptops for prosecutors from Space for Giants, and most recently advanced flight training for pilots from some American animal welfare group so they can better track and shoot poachers. I’m not aware of any donor giving funds for policy training, advanced human dimensions training, or studies in indigenous conservation norms. Black people in conservation in Africa are not supposed to think.
2. Last year KWS advertised for a new Director-General, then later re-advertised LOWERING the required qualifications. I speculate that too many highly qualified candidates applied (I know of 3 PhD holders). Its a crisis, and they desperately need a black person, but with lesser credentials. I also speculate that donors were behind the decision to re-advertise, because I refuse to believe there was no candidate in the initial round worth hiring. Black people in conservation in Africa are not supposed to think. In the final analysis, they hired a military officer.
3. I have seen regular ceremonies held to give (richly deserved awards) to the best and bravest rangers (some posthumous). Where are the awards for the best scientists? The awards for the rangers who maintain friendly relations with local communities? The best conservation policy ideas? We only award those who excelled in the arena of violence. I repeat- Black people in conservation in Africa are not supposed to think.
3. Senior staff are regularly taken for security training, including courses at the National Defense College, yet they are law enforcers, not military. Are they ever taken for conservation philosophy and ethics training? Has any donor ever offered to fund such an exercise? I don’t think so. Once more- Black people in conservation in Africa are not supposed to think.
The donors are busy ‘dumbing us down’ hence the raucous promotion of an African conference on protected areas. Why not a conference on conservation in egalitarian societies? Protected Areas today are an anachronism or throwback to days when locals had no rights. We shouldn’t create new ones and only keep the existing ones because they are part of our history and heritage, but donors realize that will make black people think that they own Africa’s landscapes. They want to create more, and expand the physical and intellectual empire.
I publicly offered to train Senior KWS (and Ministry!) staff on New Ethical Paradigms in Conservation philosophy.

It is 2021, and KWS never took up this offer. For the record, it is still open

More Coming!

Thanks for visiting! This is the spot where I share my thoughts on what goes on in the small part of the world that I observe… As always, my prayer is that people can find useful lessons here.