Thank you for your partnership in 2018
Dear Partners and Friends,
As we wrap up 2018, one word seems to best describe the year; Partnerships. The long term success of wildlife conservancies in Kenya is dependent on partnerships and collaboration, this was a conclusion of our June Partnership Dialogue Forum we co-hosted with our partners.
We met with only one agenda, to identify how best to partner and we explored how effective collaboration between stakeholders with different missions, interests, values and cultures may not be easy to achieve and yet its the main ingredient in conservation success. We noted that partnership require common understanding across partners; collective leadership; a collective mindset and a key partnering skill set if we are to achieve impact.
This year marked five-years for KWCA, since inception in 2013. We can only attribute our success to our effort in genuine partnerships. We have seen our membership grow, our voice amplified as a genuine voice for people living in wildlife areas, and our policy environment is now better serving the needs of our members.
KWCA is not only growing, it is also changing, our engagement is reaching out to regional and international platforms; we are being invited into more and new spaces; and we are articulating our agenda better and being more impactful. This is only because over the years our bond and collaboration has been growing. As the national umbrella body for conservancies in Kenya, we will stay true to our roots as a catalyst, convener and facilitator for promoting wildlife conservation as a land use in community and private lands and most importantly as an equal partner in conservation.
As we wind up this great year, we share below some of our 2018 highlights and look forward to further working with you in 2019.
Communities continue to receive international limelight as active stakeholders in wildlife conservation
- At the London Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference held in October, community representatives were given a voice in the formal intergovernmental negotiations proceedings. KWCA was privileged to be part of this important and unprecedented opportunity for communities to discuss their own IWT experiences, responses and to recommend their own commitments. As the spokesperson for indigenous and local community representatives drawn from over 20 countries, we rallied governments for more support to community based conservation and to practically look at how high level statements on the role of communities could be translated into action particularly with a focus on relations between governments and communities. We acknowledge Prince William’s remarks which highlighted the importance of economic incentives for communities whose land has so much wildlife.
- In November, I was recognized as a 2018 Tusk Conservation in Africa finalist,alongside my colleagues from Uganda and Malawi, we received the recognition amidst a great audience in London. I see this not only as my recognition but rather an international endorsement of conservancies in Kenya, where I worked for over 20 years. My passion working with communities and landowners to conserve and benefit from wildlife conservation is from the understanding that in Kenya, Landowners hold the power to determine whether wildlife flourish or perish. Watch the TUSK awards ceremony documentary here.
Conservancies voice reinforced as active stakeholders in national policy formulation and implementation processes
- In June, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife launched the first ever National Wildlife Strategy 2030. KWCA played an active role, as a member of the technical team and synthesis working group. Community voices at the grass roots level were shared through KWCA facilitated meetings. We congratulate the Cabinet Secretary and the team led by our partner ACC for a job well done. As we begin 2019, we hope to hit the ground running supporting the Ministry and other partners to implement the Strategy.
- In Feb 2018, the National Budget Policy Statement required conservancies to be mainstreamed in the tourism value chain. Budget Policy Statement no. 143 recognised conservancies as a worthy tool to revamp and refresh beach and safari products. KWCA nomination by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife to a private sector African safari working group provides an opportunity for increased marketing of conservancy based products and services and for rebranding and repackaging the safari experiences. 2019 is already shaping as an exciting year with such possibilities.
Kenya’s community conservation and business models shows effective collaboration and partnership support
- In July, we were privileged to host a team from Uganda Wildlife Authority who were keen to learn about how well tourism and conservation work hand in hand in Kenya and most importantly how the conservancy model provides diversification to the country’s tourism.
- Representatives of Zambia’s game management areas an equivalent of conservancies in Kenya visited KWCA on a benchmarking mission to learn about best practices for community conservation in Kenya. Zambia with the support of The Nature Conservancy are in the process of forming conservancies along key wildlife habitats in order to increase community involvement wildlife conservation and secure livelihoods.
- This is in addition to teams from Namibia and Tanzania led by NACSO and CWMAC respectively. We both learnt from each other. Kenya’s conservancy model was recognised for being well anchored in law, community driven, diverse in land ownership types and conservancy management and a true bottom up conservation initiative. The strong partnership between private and Community conservation efforts was noted as a unique approach by Kenya.
Conservancy rangers received accolades for their work on the frontline
- During world Rangers Day, July 31st, Conservancy rangers were honored for being among the 50 rangers recognized under the Paradise rangers award. We congratulate Conservancy Rangers Daniel Yiankere (Loisaba Conservancy), James Mwenda (Ol Pejeta Conservancy), Joseph Koisikir (Nashulai Conservancy), Kapona Lapalee (Lewa Conservancy) and Sempeke Meshami, (Oljogi Conservancy) who were among 18 rangers from Kenya awarded the prestigious Paradise Ranger’s Award for their contribution to conservation on the continent. The rangers were awarded a grant of Kshs 300,000 to enhance their activities in support of conservation and protection of wildlife on the continent.
- In partnership with the IRF, conservancy rangers are proud members of their own National Rangers Association. KWCA facilitated registration of the Association whose aims are; To facilitate Rangers participation in the Game Rangers Association of Africa and International Rangers federation congresses. The Association is designed to set standards of operation, build their capacity of rangers and network.
- For the first time, the Game Rangers Association of Africa held its inaugural Africa Rangers Congress. With WWF support KWCA facilitated three conservancy rangers representatives to travel to South Africa to participate.The Congress works to broaden and unify the African ranger network, share and identify challenges unique to rangers in Africa and to develop solutions to improve ranger capability and support systems in Africa.