Community conservancies serve a significant role in the creation of sustainable livelihoods. Most individuals when considering conservation matters, first think of the safeguarding of wildlife. Although this is undoubtedly one of the major roles of conservancies, there is so much more to them than just wildlife. They serve several roles for the nation which constitute economic, ecological, and social responsibilities.
Conservancies encourage community members to contribute to conservation efforts and participate in decision-making processes to guarantee an equitable distribution of resorces, as well as to improve community members’ access to services such as health care, clean water, and educational opportunities while supplementing the services provided by the government. It is of the greatest significance to make the most of assistance provided by the community to achieve tangibly beneficial outcomes from conservation efforts and to influence the attitudes and behaviors of communities concerning conservancies.
Conservancies also help to maintain healthy wildlife populations and ensure there is an increase in the numbers and diversity of species. The E4Impact Foundation business and entrepreneurship training explores possible alternative income-generating opportunities for conservancies to be financially sustainable. If exploring the initiatives would work equally to leverage support for conservation from the communities that live around them to proactively take part in the community conservation efforts. These conservancies would eventually end up improving the community’s livelihoods and the conservancy itself. While the majority of the targeted conservancies are already into income-generating activities, there is still room for improvement and innovation.
Conservancies offer opportunity platforms for women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship ventures in conservancy lodges. Some of the ventures are beadwork, livestock, and tourism which improve on their financial states.
In addition, certain community conservancies, such as Leparua, Ngare Ndare, Lekurukki, and Ltungai conservancies, have elected women to conservancy leadership posts. This success is attributed to legislative reforms regarding women’s involvement in governance structures and land inheritance rights for women. Conservancies also work with women to defuse resource-based conflicts among rival communities, ultimately restoring peace and security. Girls’ school enrollment has risen as a result of education bursaries supported by conservancy fees and environmental corporate social responsibility.
“We now recognize the need to package and market our products. For example, in Isiolo County, we have beadwork and livestock ventures, but we mostly rely on traditional marketing methods. Whereas our counterparts from Laikipia and Baringo Counties are targeting international clients through YouTube documentaries and digital avenues, which has had a direct impact on revenues,” said Ms. Veronicah Logeya, an entrepreneur from Isiolo who deals with beadwork and goat milk as a business.
Under the EU AMAYA Ranger Programme, E4Impact Foundation is working with 48 champion entrepreneurs from conservancies across the four AMAYA Counties, where 23 women participated in the Marketing and Digital Strategies Training held on the 16th to 19th January at Samburu Guest Hotel in Maralal, Samburu County.
The program follows a rotational format, which enables participants from different countries to benefit from each other. The program emphasizes the significance of promoting conservation products in relevant forums, such as collective marketing, market segmentation, and investing in product branding and packaging for international markets. These are among the aspects discussed in the program.
By Chebet Cheruiyot,
Project Coordinator, EU RangER Amaya project
E4Impact Entrepreneurship Center