A young warrior from Westgate Conservancy plants grass seeds as part of a voluntary effort to revive once-productive grazing land. Together with a group of other young men, he is helping to rehabilitate degraded areas by clearing Acacia reficiens trees and planting grass seeds harvested from elsewhere in the conservancy. Acacia reficiens has encroached across the northern rangelands over the past 30 years, thriving on barren land, prohibiting grass growth, and forcing pastoralists and wildlife to other pastures. Once cut, the branches are laid over the grass seeds to protect them from livestock, and keep the soil intact. Photo by @jeffwaweru
Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, is wrapped in traditional cloth by NRT Peace Coordinator Josephine Ekiru. Earlier this week, we had the honour of hosting a delegation from the Royal Danish Embassy led by Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, at Kalama Conservancy.
Princess Mary was received by a multi-ethnic group of women drawn from our various member conservancies, who dressed her up in a traditional outfit symbolising their varied cultures. Accompanied by the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tøernæs, Princess Mary then met Star Beaders from the @beadworkskenya Enterprise as well as Star Morans from the Nabulu Moran Empowerment Programme- who shared with her the impacts of their sustainable businesses established in part thanks to the support of the NRT- Danida partnership.
One of the highlights of Her Royal Highness' visit was a round-table session with NRT Peace Ambassadors, chaired by our Peace Co-ordinator Josephine Ekiru where women's role in peace-building and conflict-prevention was discussed. Princess Mary and her delegation then had a tour of the JOCC (Joint Operations Control Centre) at @lewa_wildlife to learn more about our co-operation with communities, the Kenya Police and Kenya Wildlife Service in peace, security and anti-poaching efforts in Northern Kenya. Her Royal Highness wrapped up her day with a game drive and an overnight stay at Lewa House
Thank you to our partners Danida for their invaluable support towards sustainable and resilient community conservation and to Her Royal Highness and her delegation for visiting us to learn more about our work. Image: Reuters
Did you know that there has been a 140% increase in the number of critically endangered hirola antelope in the Ishaqbini Sanctuary since it was set up in 2012? Under community guardianship, one of the most endangered antelopes in the world has a chance at making a comeback. Thanks to support from partners and champions all over the world, Ishaqbini Community Conservancy has been able to invest in maintaining the predator-proof fence, ensuring effective ranger patrols, collecting valuable data and even dispensing supplementary food during drought. This #GivingTuesday we would like to thank all of you and all our partners who have made this possible. Follow the link in our bio to donate and continue your support for community-led endangered species projects. #hirola#ishaqbini#endangeredspecies
Did you know that 1,924 students received bursaries from their community conservancies last year? That’s just under 2,000 families who have been able to link conservation to a promising future for their children. Thanks to support from partners and champions all over the world, community conservancies have been able to channel grant money into social and development projects voted as a priority by the community. Classrooms, water tanks, health clinics and even tourist facilities have all been funded in this way (find out more about the Conservancy Livelihood Fund on our website) and this #GivingTuesday we would like to thank all of you and all our partners who have made this possible. Follow the link in our bio to donate and continue your support.
Did you know there were just 8 elephants poached in the NRT conservancies last year? This is the lowest number in 10 years. The proportion of illegally killed elephants (from both poaching and human-wildlife conflict) in this region has dropped from 77% in 2012, to 56% in 2016, to just 34% in 2017. Thanks to support from partners and champions all over the world, community conservancies have been able to invest in ranger training, data collection and intelligence gathering all of which have led to more effective anti-poaching patrols. This #GivingTuesday we would like to thank all of you and all our partners who have made this possible. Follow the link in our bio to donate and continue your support. For elephants. For people. For Kenya. #saveourelephants#stopivorytrade#elephants#communityconservation 📸 Juan Pablo Moreiras
Namunyak Conservancy by @kieran.avery. Namunyak is one of the biggest NRT member conservancies and home to the Lenkiyio Hills, which stretch for over 100 kilometres, blanketed in ancient forest. Elephants, rare monkeys, endemic cycads, leopards, 150 butterfly species and over 350 bird species call this place home, living alongside the Samburu pastoralists who manage this special landscape. #samburu#namunyak#northkenya
A group of pioneering morans in Westgate Conservancy have partnered with NRT, @nature_africa and @grevyszebratrust to trial a supplementary feeding experiment with some of their bulls. They wanted to answer two questions: How much weight might my bull put on if I fed him pellets in the evening on top of grazing? And would the value of this weight gain justify the cost of pellets? This trial aims to explore the potential of the northern grasslands to support commercial beef production alongside wildlife conservation, and complements the successful grazing management and rangeland rehabilitation activities that have already been carried out by Westgate. #conservationcattle#westgateconservancy#communityconservation#livestock#samburu video by @jeffwaweru
Lmuriankan is a peace ambassador and grazing committee member in Westgate Community Conservancy. Here he shows NRT CEO Tom Lalampaa the scar on his arm - a stark reminder of the conflict he has known, and the inspiration for his advocacy. Lmuriankan has looked after his family's livestock since he was a young boy. In 1996, conflict broke out between his community and another. His entire herd was stolen in the process, and he was badly hurt. His first instinct, like so many of his peers, was to retaliate. He wanted to recover what he had lost - his entire livelihood. "I remember looking at my wounds, and our empty boma, it was such a difficult time for us,” he says. "I raided a few times,” he admits, “but after a while, I remember thinking that it was not worth it.” It was this realisation - that there had to be a way to end this vicious cycle of conflict - that spurred Lmuriankan to become a peace ambassador. He is a member of a theatre group, and delivers his messages of peace and harmony through funny and engaging skits, which are hugely popular. For Lmuriankan, it is also important to address the complex root causes of conflict, starting with pasture. That is why he joined the Westgate Conservancy Grazing Committee, and now works with Conservancy board members, youth and women representatives to develop and implement Conservancy grazing plans that complement traditional patterns. "We have always had grazing patterns as pastoralist communities,” he says, “and now in the face of changing times, this is more important than ever. We have dry season grazing blocks and wet season grazing blocks. It takes work, but people are realising that if we have pasture all year round, we do not need to go into our neighbours territory to look for it and risk conflict. We can live our life as we've always done, but in a way that is good for our environment and ensures a peaceful future for us and our neighbours." #westgateconservancy#goodgrazing#communityconservation#pasture
"Helping women entrepreneurs across community conservancies has been personally empowering for me. As a woman from a pastoralist community, now more than ever, I believe in our ability to succeed." Beatrice Namunyak Lempaira- BeadWORKS Production Manager, NRT Trading and the 10th woman in our #10Women series. For the past 4 years, Beatrice has worked with approximately 1,020 women in 9 community conservancies, partnering with them to turn their traditional skills into a sustainable income for them and their families through NRT Trading’s BeadWORKS business. Before this, she worked as a manager for Naibunga Community Conservancy, near her home area. When the chance to work for BeadWORKs came up, Beatrice knew she had to take it. For her, this was a bigger platform to directly impact women- an area she had grown passionate about. "I love the north, and I love our culture" she says "But I began to ask myself how it could be more beneficial for our women." For Beatrice, BeadWORKs goes beyond just the production and sale of beaded items. Her goal has always been to help women acquire business skills they can use in other aspects of their lives. "We want them to know what it means to handle orders and customers on a larger scale, conduct quality control and everything that pertains to a successful business"
Seeing the women evolve into proactive entrepreneurs over time has been the most rewarding aspect of the job for her. "In the beginning, we had to follow up with them up constantly" she says. "Now, they create their own production networks and schedules- they may not be formally educated, but their aptitude for organisation is astounding." BeadWORKs has also been a catalyst for social change. Over and above having extra money for daily needs, the women feel they have a higher social standing in society and are empowered to have a say in what goes in their households and conservancies. "I have seen women buy land through saving their BeadWORKS income," Beatrice says. "These days, I even have men coming up to me and asking how their wives can join BeadWORKS!" 📸 @jeffwaweru#womeninconservation#strongwomen#sdg10#whyilovekenya#womeninbusiness
Meet the 9th woman in our #10Women series - Malika Dotta Maro. She may have studied journalism, but today, Malika is the manager of Ndera Community Conservancy in Tana River County; a role she feels she was born for. As well as driving conservation and development operations here, Malika is a champion for business. Many households in the conservancy rely on mango farming as a main source of income, and are blessed with permanent water from the mighty Tana River. But access to markets for these remote farmers is a big challenge. "It was tough to see mango farmers getting taken advantage of by brokers, and selling their crop for cheap or risking it rotting,” says Malika. This is why Ndera Community Conservancy recently piloted MangoWORKS - an enterprise programme from NRT Trading that buys mangos from farmers at fair prices and links up with buyers. The conservancy has recently provided inland mango farmers with water pumps to ensure reliable water access to their farms, and support them in providing a consistent supply of fruit. Ndera has also disbursed over 150 micro-loans over the past two years to entrepreneurs wanting to start or build on new businesses, an initiative that has been particularly popular with women. "Women were the first to embrace the loans,” Malika says, “their businesses are some of the most profitable- and they are prompt in paying back their loans." For Malika, boosting business in Ndera has two benefits. The first is that it is helping to reduce poverty and empower women. The second, is that it is helping people to link improved livelihoods with conservation. This is important - Ndera’s riverine forests are home to around 200 bird species, as well as the endangered Tana River red colobus monkey and Tana River mangabey. And according to Malika, women have a crucial role to play in their future. "These days, we're making women the main target of our conservation message because they nurture and raise the children," she says. "Imagine a generation of children whose mothers teach them about conservation!" #womeninconservation#girlpower#womenleaders#sdg10#tanariver
8th in our #10Women series is Rebecca Kochulem, the first manager of Ruko Community Conservancy. "I became a conservancy manager at the age of 25," she says, "it was a huge job for a young girl, but I was drawn to the challenge." Rebecca has now handed over the wheel to another female manager at Ruko, as she becomes the NRT West Community Development Officer. In 2007, the Il Chamus and Pokot communities were recovering from another period of intense conflict. Ruko was established to try and bring together these two groups and provide a platform for peace dialogue, with Rebecca at the helm. "For the first two years, every single day was a working day" Rebecca recalls. "It was very important for us to include everyone in our decision-making: elders, women, young people and local authorities." 11 years later, Ruko is making strides, starting with the re-introduction of 8 endangered Rothschild giraffe to the conservancy in 2012. "The Rothschild giraffe is the pride of Baringo, and has provided a valuable tourism opportunity for us - we now welcome at least 500 tourists a year to Ruko" says Rebecca.
The conservancy has also given out micro-loans to 130 women and young men to start businesses, in addition to providing over 300 education bursaries and improving access to healthcare.
Most importantly, there is greater trust and co-operation between the Il Chamus and Pokot - resulting in the return of stolen cattle, and peaceful resolutions to long standing rifts. "Today, I see the Il Chamus morans (young men) inviting Pokot morans to their age-group graduation ceremonies," Rebecca shares. "In my team, Il Chamus rangers and Pokot rangers work and live together! A few years ago, all this was unthinkable." #baringo#womeninconservation#sdg10