Communities & Conservation

Communities & Conservation


ACC links conservation and livelihoods—promoting frameworks for community land and wildlife management, peer/learning exchanges, enterprise creation, product marketing, skill development trainings and networks that allow communities to partner and scale their work. A special emphasis is placed on empowering women and youth.



Over the years, we've collaborated with numerous partners, including EuropeAid, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project, and staff from NYC's School of the Visual Arts, to bring experiential conservation education to youth and prepare the next generation of conservation leaders. We are excited to build upon these programs in 2022 and beyond!

Kenya's wildlife resides in counties largely occupied by Maasai pastoral communities, like Kajiado, Narok and Laikipia. In these semi-arid landscapes both livestock and wildlife disperse seasonally over wide distances. Their coexistance has been supported through the establishment of valuable Protected Areas: Amboseli, Chyulu Hills and Tsavo National Parks and Maasai Mara Reserve, and Private and Community Conservancies. However, rising population, sedentarisation, and pressures for sub-division, threaten the Maasai way of life and their traditional coexistence with wildlife. Young people—thrust into this turmoil—are losing awareness of ecosystems, biodiversity, wildlife, and sustainable resource use. ACC’s education programs aim to change that.


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 help pastoralists improve their livelihoods through improved cattle breeds, 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


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 partners in 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. They collectively agreed to form an umbrella Southern Rangelands Coalition that will advance these discussions further. 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.


Our programs economically-empower Maasai women living in biodiverse landscapes in Kenya.

ACC programs have helped 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.


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.

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


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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