Northern Rangelands Trust (@nrt_kenya) — Resilient community conservancies, transforming lives, securing peace and conserving natural resources.
Last year, tourism in NRT member conservancies experiences its best year yet - Up 31% from 2017 with conservancies earning US$ 860,000 in tourism revenue. This revenue is split 60/40 by conservancies, with 60% going toward operating costs such as patrol vehicle fuel and ranger’s salaries, and 40% going towards community projects such as water access and education. In this way, those conservancies that host tourism facilities are making a direct link between wildlife conservation and better lives for their members. Photo by Juan Pablo Moreiras at the beautiful @sararacamp in Namunyak Conservancy. #whyilovekenya#sarara#namunyak#northkenya#safari@magicalkenya
“My life has been different this past year. I was able to take two of my children to secondary school and still have money for my family and my farming business. This has never happened before!” Said Hiyesa, Farmer and Entrepreneur, Lower Tana Conservancy (and fourth in our #10moran series). Like many in his village, Said has always grown rice, bananas, and coconuts. But for the past few years he has struggled with an unreliable crop, which has left him making some tough decisions. Without consistent access to water and capital for his farming expenses, Said was struggling. When his community conservancy started a micro-loan scheme last year, he thought not only of himself but all his fellow farmers who were in the same predicament as him. He mobilised a self-help group of 33 farmers to apply for the loans and attend the financial literacy classes held by the NRT Trading SACCO and Lower Tana Conservancy. The group was awarded a loan - allowing farmers to purchase water tanks and fertiliser to increase their yield. “With the remainder of the loan I took, I was able to purchase more crops to add to what I had” says Said, "this was not only good for me but for everyone I bought from. This year, fewer crops rotted in our farms.” Thanks to his encouragement, Said’s community was the first region in the NRT Coast region to fully pay off their micro-loans. Said has since been appointed the best ‘Community Enterprise Agent’ for his positive influence and spirit. Photo by @rufo_roba
Third in our #10moran series is Mahathi Bwana. A few years ago, fisherman Mahathi traded in his net for a clip-board and snorkel mask. He’s now a marine ranger, working to promote sustainable fishing methods and marine conservation in his community of Pate Island. Thanks to Mahathi and his fellow rangers, Pate Marine Community Conservancy is leading the way for locally led marine conservation. At the end of 2017, Pate become one of the first community conservancies to establish Locally Managed Marine Areas - protected sites aimed at securing fish breeding grounds for more sustainable fisheries. Mahathi and his team also work to raise awareness about the consequences of illegal mangrove logging and turtle poaching. Video @jeffwaweru#marineconservation#lamu
He used to run from the law, now he runs peace programmes (and his own business). Meet Lekopir Lksumban, Peace Ambassador from Melako Community Conservancy. Part of our #10morans series. For over 12 years, Lekopir made a living from road banditry and cattle rustling. Caught up in relentless conflict cycles and desperate to put food on the table and pay medical bills, he saw no other way to earn money, and no way out. "It was not a good life, and I was tired of always feeling like a target was on my back" he says. "I would always get messages from my friend saying the Conservancy Warden was looking for me and I hid because I thought he wanted to hand me over to the police." But Melako Conservancy Warden, Robert Dokhole, did not want to arrest Lekopir. He wanted to help him turn his life around. For two years Robert tried to convince Lekopir to meet with him, until eventually Lekopir agreed. "I was very shocked when Robert sat me down in front of the elders and local authorities and told me that they wanted to give me a chance to redeem myself” Lekopir says. “They asked me to work with them to help rehabilitate my fellow morans engaged in cattle rustling and banditry, and that if I did so, they would allow me to re-enter society." Today, Lekopir is a proud peace ambassador and business owner - instrumental to peace and rehabilitation efforts in his home area of Laisamis. He has helped foil numerous cattle rustling attempts and helped several morans get out of conflict and into enterprise. "I am able to get through to these young men because I have been exactly where they are." Lekopir says "Most of them are looking for a way out, just like I was, but have nobody to help." Above all he feels he immense gratitude to his community for a second chance at life. "I will never forget what my community did for me, and I am just grateful to be making up for the years I lost." Photo @jeffwaweru
The road to economic empowerment... Here is Mbau Lekulamahau, kicking off our #10morans series - ten stories from ten young warriors in community conservancies who have moved away from conflict to start new businesses, become peace ambassadors and conservation champions. Mbau is one of the 498 morans from community conservancies currently in NRTT's Nabuulu Empowerment SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative), which offers basic financial literacy training to conservancy members, as well as a platform for savings and loans. "My life is much better these days” says Mbau. “Before joining the SACCO, I would make money from the sale of my livestock, but I could never account for where it went. Through Nabuulu, I learnt about saving. Now when I sell my cattle or make good income from my other business, I save it [in the cooperative]. We can save as often as we like... little by little it adds up." Over the past year, Mbau has managed to save enough to qualify for a loan to purchase an additional motorbike for his taxi business, employ a fellow moran as a bike operator, and open a small shop in Laisamis. Diversifying his sources of income has reduced his reliance on livestock and the rangelands, and help spread his risk, which he admits is not something his peers often think about. "I am proud to be an employer and to have many sources of income,” he says. "These days, as young men, we’re realising that you have to put your money in different places, so that if one fails, you always have something to rely on.” Mbau has become an ambassador for the SACCO. "Since my fellow morans have seen my success with the new boda boda, they keep asking me how they can join and I am more than happy to show them how." Photo by @jeffwaweru The SACCO is supported by @usaid and @sidasweden#microloans#buildingbusiness#laisamis
Photo by @amivitale through @r.e.s.c.u.e Elephant keepers Silas and Leado spend time in the bush with three of the Reteti herd. Leado says that this is his favourite part of the job - walking through the wilderness with the young elephants, helping them look for and learn about good browse. With unrivalled passion and dedication, Leado and his team are giving their charges the best grounding possible for a life back in the wild. #elephants#namunyak#retetielephants#backtothewild
What a year it's been for Sera’s rhinos! There were three black rhino calves born in Sera this year, and zero incidents of poaching. This is a fantastic achievement and a true testament to the tireless work of rangers, the community and their partners. These collaborative efforts have shown that not only is community-led black rhino conservation possible, but it makes sense. Particularly for one little black rhino calf - Loijipu. Loijipu was abandoned by his mother in February 2017, discovered by a ranger patrol. With the support of the @kenyawildlifeservice, he was moved to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in nearby Namunyak Conservancy, to be hand-reared by keepers. Like Sera, Reteti is another ‘community conservancy first’ for east Africa, being the only community-run establishment of its kind in the region. Loijipu thrived under the care of his keepers, and as his wild instincts became stronger, they decided he was ready to go back to Sera. He was moved on the 6th June 2018 and arrived to a colourful welcome by Sera Community Conservancy members. His re-wildling will be a gradual process, and for now he remains under the close watch of keepers and rangers. He is taking well to life at Sera, and is now one of 15 black rhinos in the Sanctuary. Photo by @mariellafurrer.#rhinos#rewilding#loijipu#serarhinosanctuary
Nurse Tabitha Karendi examines a patient at the Laresoro Clinic, in Kalama Community Conservancy. In any one month, Tabitha sees around 600 patients. Patients who, according to Tabitha, would likely not have sought any medical attention two years ago, before the clinic was built. Back in 2015 the Kalama community held several meetings to discuss an ambitious plan. They wanted to apply to the NRT Conservancy Livelihood Fund (CLF) to build, staff and manage a fully operational medical centre, which has never before been done in an NRT member conservancy. While a CLF grant would cover the construction, it would not ensure consistent medical supplies or cover staff salaries. So the Kalama Board used the initial funding as leverage, and approached the Ministry of Health who agreed to supply a nurse. With this agreement, they went to the Samburu County Government, who pledged to fund nurse’s accommodation close to the site of the proposed clinic. With funding and partnerships secure, the Kalama community donated a suitable piece of land for the clinic and helped to dig foundations, gather rubble and collect sand for the construction to save labour costs. The clinic now serves a catchment of around 5,000 people. In 2018, 300 women accessed family planning and reproductive health advice through the clinic, an opportunity that - for many of them - has never been available. Another nurse works alongside Tabitha, employed by Kalama Conservancy through funding from @tusk_org. Community health volunteers help to share medical information in villages, translate for Tabitha, who doesn’t speak the local language, and conduct outreach events. And where there are gaps in medical supplies from the Ministry of Health, Samburu County Government have agreed to provide funding, complementing the conservancy’s own drug contribution of KSH 600,000 in 2018. “The community say ‘this is OUR clinic’ and they are rightly very proud of it,” Tabitha says. The Conservancy Livelihood Fund is supported by @usaid and DANIDA.
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