Communities & Conservation

Communities & Conservation

OVERVIEW

We prioritize the centrality of communities for hands-on land management. ACC identifies entry points for community conservation, through demonstration/piloting of initiatives that link conservation and livelihoods/enterprise/value chains, promote frameworks for community land management, domesticating (dialogues, the right packaging) information and knowledge generation and use by grassroots institutions (resource assessors, local landowner associations), supporting peer/exchange learning (e.g. communities learn from each other about impacts of improper management of land subdivision, actors in EA and SA on community approaches to conservation), and linking communities to partners to scale up their work. A special emphasis on women and youth as the leads on this work.  

— FEATURED PROJECTS —

LIVESTOCK & LAND MANAGEMENT

Livestock keeping is the main source of livelihood for Maasai pastoral communities. The economic activity compliments conservation efforts because pastoralists know how to harmoniously coexist with wildlife.

We donate to the communities, exotic Sahiwal cattle that are best known for high milk production, resistant to heat, drought, tick bites, internal and external parasites and can reproduce for 20 years. We help pastoralists improve their livelihoods through better breeding, husbandry and market outlets, while maintaining traditional efficient grazing strategies, rehabilitating grasslands, and establishing grass banks that enable communities to cope through droughts.

The Future of the Open Rangelands and the Role of Community-Based Conservation Meeting

Prelude

The future of the open rangelands in Kenya looks bleak in the face of land subdivision, privatization and changing national aspirations. Is there any role for community-based conservation (CBC) in maintaining open rangelands, and if so, how should it be refashioned to meet the enormous challenges ahead?

Conservationist, David Western, together with ACC called a meeting of experienced CBC practitioners to confront the harsh realities of the breakdown in the social networks and institutions which have sustained Kenya’s rangeland for generations. The participants—drawn from community conservation leadership in ACC-supported institutions in Amboseli, South Rift, Maasai Mara and the Tsavo regions—explored how to retain and strengthen the communities of landowners in shoring up the health of the land for its people and wildlife.

This is a formidable task and perhaps a lengthy one, but these CBC leaders recognize the need to start now when there is still hope and scope. The topics addressed included the threats to the open rangelands, options for keeping the rangelands open and collectively managed in the wake of land subdivision, and the future of CBC.

GAME SCOUTS

Game Scouts protect threatened wildlife and are often the first line of defense against poachers. ACC has helped to establish Game Scout programs in collaboration with SORALO, the Borderlands Conservation Initiative, and Big Life.

ACC supports Community Game Scouts by training and equipping them to monitor wildlife movement, collect ecological data, and resolve human-wildlife conflicts. The scouts also engage in community outreach, offering educational programs including tours, biodiversity interpretations, and campaigns that create awareness in the importance of conserving wildlife and the environment. Game Scout programs are proving to be effective deterrents to poaching – particularly in Shompole, Magadi, Nguruman, Loita and Naibunga Conservancies.

WOMEN'S ENTERPRISES

When women are economically-empowered, the environment is better managed, human wildlife conflict is reduced, and the livelihoods of fellow community members are improved.

Our programs economically-empower Maasai women living in Kenya’s four rich biodiverse landscapes areas: Amboseli, Laikipia and Maasai Mara. ACC’s helps these communities develop conservation-related enterprises such as beading, beekeeping and milk cooperatives which allow women to support themselves, gain new skills and connections, contribute to sustainable development and become respected leaders. We celebrate these women who have overcome cultural barriers and become beacons of hope for their pastoral communities.

Dr. David Western’s keynote address at Oregon State University’s symposium, “The Future of Pastoralism in an Era of Rapid Change” on April 27, 2016 — Oregon, US

MAASAI & CONSERVATION

The survival of Kenya’s amazing wildlife and the tourism that goes along with it are inextricably tied to Maasai culture.

The Maasai have coexisted with wildlife for centuries. Their traditional pastoral way of moving with their livestock prevents land degradation and permanent settlements, providing a landscape in which both people and wildlife can thrive. However, pressures from drought, political and cultural changes, land development, population growth and demand for resources are disrupting the Maasai way of life and this long-standing relationship with nature. The result is that communities may lose access to their land, water, wildlife resources and aspects of their culture.

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