South Nandi, Mt. Kenya, Kinangop, Kakamega, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Dunga (in Kisumu), Kerieta (Kikuyu Escarpment forest), Mukurweini, and Cherengani Hills

Project title
Joint Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement at Important Bird Areas (IBA’s)

Starting date
July 1 2008

Closing date
June 30 2011

2.8 million

DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency)

The aim of the project was to contribute to improved livelihoods in local communities combined with better protection of nature and a greater understanding of essential protection among local stakeholders.

Kenya is an important country for the conservation of biodiversity, and over 1000 different bird species have been sighted in the country. Many of Kenya’s Important Bird Areas house several rare and endangered species but are not protected as effectively as the better known national parks with larger mammals. At the same time, Kenya is one of the poorest countries in the world and is heading in the wrong direction.  Poverty, population growth, corruption and other factors increase  pressure on natural resources through poaching, clearing, collection of wood, etc.

Through local caretaker groups connected to three chosen bird protection areas, the project developed income creating activities for poor members of local communities. The project increased the capacity of nine local caretaker groups to take part in the development of management plans of the IBA’s. The objective was to ensure that the rights and involvement of local communities were made an integral part of the sustainable utilization and management of natural resources in the project areas.

Apart from the collaboration with local caretaker groups, the project co-operated with Nature Kenya – the national partner of BirdLife International.

One of the core activities of the project in all 15 IBAs was the strengthening of local civil society/caretager groups, in Kenya known as Site Support Groups (SSGs) and of the capacity of local communities to participate in the management and control of the use of natural resources as well as in advocacy for the sustainable management of the IBAs. In South Nandi Forest, Mt. Kenya og Kinangop Grasslands the project also supported local poor in engaging in income generating aktivitets that contributed to improving their livelihoods and were based on a sustainable use of natural resources, e.g. through production of honey, planting of trees and eco-tourism. The project seeked to involve women in all activities and succeeded in raising the percentage of women participating in income generating activities to 35% with considerable variation between project areas.