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 such as Lale’enok Resource centre and the Twala Tenebo womens' resource centre, 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 first 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 collaborative transboundary conservation networks.
In 2004, we initiated an Amboseli ecosystem planning workshop that led to the development of a joint task force of landowners, government agencies, NGOs and tour industry representatives and resulted in the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan. In 2008, we helped to establish the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust as the grassroots agency to implement this plan. We continue to support AET 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.
Amboseli Ecosystem Trust is a registered charitable Trust incorporated under the provisions of its Trustees. The Trust is mandated to mobilize resources for the implementation of the 10-year management plan.
We began research in the South Rift in 2000, setting up wildlife, livestock, and human activity surveys to monitor the Shompole and Olkiramatian community conservation areas (CCAs). From there, we initiated a workshop and task force that lead to establishment of SORALO in 2004. This community-driven organization unites 16 Maasai communities, dedicated to ensuring the integrity of the South Rift landscape for the benefit of its people and wildlife. It brings together land owners from group ranches in an area spanning 847,924 hectares lying between Amboseli National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Since SORALO's inception, we've helped advise on policies, secured funding for the design and construction of Lale’enok Resource Center (a research and training hub established 2007-09 that is owned and operated by the Olkiramatian Reto Women’s Group), raised funds for staff and programs, and connected SORALO to new donors and partners.
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 that we helped to establish throughout 1995-96.
The primary goal of the association is to promote conservation of wildlife and its habitats through securing sustainable livelihoods for its members. 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
Traditionally, the Maasai used cultural centres as gathering places for rite-of-passage ceremonies and idea exchange around livestock management and livelihood. 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, ecotourism, enterprises, technology and new land and livestock management practices, many communities have shown renewed interest in bringing back an updated version of these centres. ACC also saw this need—believing that successful wildlife conservation comes from meshing scientific research with indigenous knowledge. Our resource centres below provide hubs for communities, scientists, and decision-makers to learn from each other and together develop sustainable solutions to conservation challenges.
From 2006-09, we worked with SORALO to establish Lale’enok Resource Centre near Magadi, with funding secured from the Royal Netherlands Embassy. Lale’enok is a Maa 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.
TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION AREA (TFCA) PROJECTS
EU CONNEKT Project
Through the CONNEKT project, we work 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 help 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. Through our mapping exercises, the community has been able to 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.
Make a Contribution
Help African Conservation Centre (ACC) conserve biodiversity in Kenya. We work directly with communities through a collaborative approach of scientific and indigenous knowledge, livelihood development and good governance.
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