We've played a key role in establishing several impactful grassroots organizations, chief among them the Amboseli / Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA), the South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO), and the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET). We've also helped to establish community resource centres which serve as hubs where partners from around the world gather to collaborate, exchange scientific research and indigenous knowledge, and develop conservation-based livelihoods.
Our ecotourism work in the 1980s led to the establishment of the Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK), now known as Ecotourism Kenya. We were also involved in creating land-use plans and management bodies for some of the first conservancies in Kenya, including the Koiyaki-Lemek Olchorro Oirua land use plan in the Maasai Mara.
These investments show our track record in taking a systemic and long-term approach, viewing the ecosystem of conservation actors and thinking strategically about the gaps and needs of that system. Today we are focused on building cooperative transboundary conservation networks.
**Need to describe how ACC helped these to form**
Amboseli Ecosystem Trust is a registered charitable Trust incorporated under the provisions of the Trustees. After the development of the general management plan for the Amboseli Ecosystem, stakeholders created a Trust would oversee its implementation. The Trust is mandated to mobilize resources for the implementation of the 10 years management plan.
ACC supports the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust by bringing together other supporters and partners to develop land use practices that improve livelihoods and community wellbeing through the coexistence of people and wildlife. The vision is to keep the Amboseli Ecosystem rangelands open, diverse, and healthy for the benefit of all.
SORALO is a award-winning Trust that brings together land owners from various group ranches in an area spanning 847,924 hectares lying between Amboseli National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve (administratively, SORALO covers 15 group ranches in the larger Kajiado and Narok districts). The goal of SORALO is to spearhead the opening up of Southern Tourism Circuit and also to promote the creation of conservation areas in the region, achieved through diversifying livelihoods. To achieve this, SORALO seeks to provide a platform from which to advocate for sustainable utilization of land use by connecting land owners to land opportunities.
— Helped to create SORALO by working with community to develop organized association for group ranches - advised on policies, set up etc.
— Raised $150,000 (?) to design and build Lale’enok Resource Center - SORALO’s offices and home base
— Raised funds to pay for research/management staff (I believe ACC paid for Sam for X number of years)
— Connected SORALO to donors
— Connected and engaged with ACC programs in the South Rift - Transborder project etc.
— Provided office in Nairobi
— Do we mention eco lodge you built down there that fell apart?
Amboseli / Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA)
ATGRCA is an association of land owners in the Amboseli Ecosystem, an area of approximately 5,700 Km² stretching between Mt. Kilimanjaro, Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West National Park and the Kenya/Tanzania border. The primary goal of the association is to promote conservation of wildlife and its habitats through securing sustainable livelihoods for its members.
ATGRCA's additional goals include: Furthering and promoting the conservation of the Amboseli Ecosystem to secure its ecological integrity; Promoting and furthering the benefits of community conservation initiatives; Mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts; Partnerships with Group Ranches to establish sanctuaries and conservancies; and Promoting best land use practices for the Ecosystem.
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRES
Long Version: Traditionally, the Maasai used cultural centres as gathering places for rites of passage ceremonies, sharing ideas about livestock management and resolving grazing conflicts. Over time, education and modernization eroded the use of these cultural centres and along with it a powerful way for communities to benefit from shared knowledge. With increased challenges from drought and human/wildlife conflict and opportunities for communities to incorporate conservation, tourism, enterprises, technology and new land and livestock management practices, many communities have shown renewed interest in bringing back an updated version of the old cultural centres. ACC also saw a need for these centres, believing that successful wildlife conservation comes from meshing scientific research with indigenous knowledge—sharing best practices far and wide. Resource centres provide the hub for communities, scientists, and decision-makers to learn from each other about current conservation challenges, share information and ideas, and together develop sustainable solutions.
Short Version: ACC’s resource centres serve as community hubs where best practices in scientific research and indigenous knowledge are exchanged, livelihoods (in synergy with conservation goals) are developed, and partners from around the world gather to collaborate.
In 2001, we worked with a Maasai landowner group and SORALO to establish Lale’enok Resource Centre near Magadi, with funding secured from the Royal Netherlands Embassy. Lale’enok is a Maasai word that essentially means “research” and the Centre has now served as a meeting place for thousands of people—community members, renowned scholars, and researchers—who share information and ideas about wildlife conservation, human-wildlife coexistence, sustainable resource management, livestock production, conservation education, ecotourism, community livelihoods, and more. Managed by the Olkiramatian Reto Women’s Group, with support from SORALO, Lale’enok operates within Olkiramatian and Shompole group ranches.
Twala Tenebo Cultural Manyatta is a cooperative of over 200 women who coexist with the diverse wildlife of the semi-arid Laikipia plateau, located near Mount Kenya in northern Kenya. ACC and Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project have supported this community resource centre since 2003, providing resources for the Twala women's conservation-related enterprises which in turn allow them to support their families, gain new skills and connections, contribute to sustainable development, and become respected leaders in their communities.
In collaboration with partners, we launched Noonkotiak in March 2016, a few years after Olgulului Group Ranch officially allocated the land for the Centre. Currently in progress, Noonkotiak will be a knowledge sharing hub, a women empowerment centre, and a research focal point for the entire Amboseli Ecosystem. ACC and the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust are working with women near Noonkotiak to develop the Women Empowerment Project which will help to alleviate poverty through women's enterprise — in particular, ecotourism.
TRANSFRONTEIR CONSERVATION AREA (TFCA) PROJECTS
EU CONNEKT Project
Through the CONNEKT project, ACC aims to protect the critical ecosystems of the biodiverse Kenya-Tanzania border. CONNEKT is funded by the European Union and is implemented by ACC in Kenya and Oikos East Africa in Tanzania.
We are helping communities in Amboseli develop a land use plan for the 95,000 acres that make up the Rombo Group Ranch and Conservancy, located in an area that borders Tsavo West National Park in Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Rombo Conservancy is an important and complicated area due to the elephant migration corridor that runs through it and its proximity to agricultural land. Facilitating a mapping exercise in Rombo, we help the community demarcate their land for various land uses such as conservancy, grazing and agricultural farming.
Kenya-Tanzania Borderlands Conservation Initiative (BCI)
The Kenya-Tanzania borderlands region supports some of the richest wildlife populations on earth through a network of national parks and reserves, as well as through the pastoral land that connects them. BCI aims to conserve large, free-ranging elephant and lion populations along the borderlands through coordination of conservation efforts between key interest groups.
Coordinated by ACC, BCI program partners work together to increase community conservation capacity, train new scouts, build new scout stations, and develop rapid response units to quickly activate game scouts and Kenya Wildlife Service staff. These cooperative efforts have resulted in a significant reduction of poaching.
The Institutional Canopy of Conservation (I-CAN)
The I-CAN project addresses the challenge of combining biodiversity protection with strengthened livelihoods, whether through recognizing local rights over resources, livelihood diversification, or stimulation of a new green, post-oil economy, including ecotourism. The project's major goal is to identify the most effective designs for future community-based conservation programs by examining the impacts of ongoing conservancy experiments on community livelihoods and members’ attitudes and practices towards natural resources. On the basis of the results obtained, critical issues of public policy – at local, national and global levels – regarding the rights and obligations of communities in managing and utilizing the natural resources on which communities depend, will be assessed.
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