Establishment of community conservancies in Serengeti-Mara ecosystem | Institutional Innovations (Innovations, Training Services & Management Practices)

Most of Kenya’s and Tanzania’s biodiversity exists outside the network of national parks and reserves, predominantly in private and communal land. Therefore, wildlife conservation has over the years required support from local communities in order to retain an ecosystem approach to conservation. The Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (SME) attracts vast number of tourists which generates considerable annual revenue. Despite t Read more..

Description of the technology or innovation

Most  of  Kenya’s  and  Tanzania’s  biodiversity  exists  outside  the  network  of  national  parks  and reserves, predominantly  in private and communal  land. Therefore, wildlife  conservation  has over the  years  required  support  from  local  communities  in  order  to  retain  an  ecosystem  approach  to conservation.  The  Serengeti-Mara  Ecosystem  (SME)  attracts  vast  number  of  tourists  which generates  considerable  annual  revenue.  Despite  this  vibrant  tourism  industry,  the  communities around the SME do not benefit. It’s a well documented fact that livestock under a pastoral system can coexist with a robust wildlife population. Yet, livestock–wildlife integration is not a common
enterprise in SME. The SME contains large herds of wildlife, including wildebeests. These attract tourists and communities can benefit by establishing conservancies. The SME contains large herds of  livestock, improved cattle, goat;  livestock breeds are  good for the conservancy. Domestication and sustainable use of some wildlife, like the eland, is possible under the conservancy model.

This  innovation  aims  at  establishing  a  conservancy  model  based  on  ecotourism  principles  where profitable livestock production is innovatively integrated with wildlife conservation and ecotourism to create sustainable social and economic benefits to  the land owning community, most of whom are currently below the poverty line.

By  establishing  value  added  livestock  wildlife  enterprises  and  best  bet  practices  for  alternative livelihoods, the conservancy will act as a model for sus tainable development of ECA’s savannah. The prerequisite for this argument is built on establishing private/public partnerships, building land owners’  capacity,  establishing  governance  systems  and  implementing  production  systems  that benefit from a balanced livestock and wildlife tourism  sector. The conservancy model will provide opportunities where the community can benefit from the tourism revenue, thus providing improved livelihoods, better health, education, employment opportunities and infrastructure services.

The validation process was conducted. Participatory tools and techniques through multi-stakeholder consultations were used.

Assessment/reflection on utilization, dissemination & scaling out or up approaches used

The local communities living in both the wet and dry regions of the Serengeti Mara Ecosystems and those engaged in the tourism and hospitality industries are the ultimate beneficiaries of the project.

The key partners needed in the scaling up process are:

  • Wildlife conservation Agencies
  • Tourism ministries,  
  • Communities around the SME  
  • Wildlife population

Gender considerations

The  technology  is  gender  sensitive  since  community  conservancies  are  developed,  managed  and implemented  by  locals  who  are  both  male  and  female.  However,  practices  related  to  gender imbalances,  (especially  on  land  and  benefit  sharing  and  utilization  of  natural  resources  such  as biodiversity), exist within the SME. Although Tanzania and Kenya’s statutory laws do not prevent women from owning land, women still face numerous challenges in this area partly because male members of the family tend to hold land in trust as communal property. Both women and youth are able  to  implement  this  ecological  and  biological  friendly  innovation  while  deriving  from  it alternative  means  of  income  and  subsistence.  Thus  the  innovation  has  the  potential  to simultaneously take care of multiple needs such as income, food, conservation, and natural resource management.  However,  there  is  a  need  for  the  government  to  facilitate  gender  analysis; participation  and  affirmative  action  in  biodiversity  management  through  gender-sensitive legislation, promote gender awareness and involvement in all these innovations.

Contact details

Muchai Muchane
Director, National Museums of Kenya (NMK)
PO Box 40658-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-722 286133

Bernard Ngoru
Programme Officer, Kenya Wildlife Service
PO Box 494 – 0161,
Nyeri, Kenya
Tel: 0721 521324

Emanuel Manyasa
Professor, Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)
PO Box 57290,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0723 845707

Ayub Macharia
Director, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
PO Box 67839,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0722 728572

James Wakibara
Director, Tanzania National Parks
Po Box 3134,
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: 0786-703-399

Agnes Mwakaje
Professor, University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM)
P.O.Box 35064,
Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania

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