Role of women in Community Conservancies

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In the rangelands, where most community conservancies are, women and children are resource-dependent and constitute the largest users of natural resources. They are also the most affected when the environment is damaged and degraded. Conservation is land-based and in a community where land is male owned, conservancy governance and management structures exclude women from participation and in sharing of conservancy benefits.

E4Impact Foundation under the EU AMAYA Ranger Program is working with conservancy board members in eight conservancies, by providing women with business modelling and entrepreneurship training. The training brought together about 32 conservancy board members from the four Amaya counties that constitute Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo Counties. They met in Baringo counties from 5th July to 8th July at Kenya Forest and Research Institute (KEFRI) for the Marketing and Digital strategies training for three days. The Programme is rotational, in that it allows peer to peer learning from one county to another. The training emphasizes the need to market conservancy products in the right venues. For instance, a need that was identified was to do collective marketing, market segmentation and investing in product packaging and branding.

“We now acknowledge the need to package and market our products. In Isiolo county we have beadwork and livestock, but we mostly rely on traditional marketing methods. On the other hand our counterparts from Laikipia county are targeting international clients through YouTube documentaries and digital avenues, this has had a direct impact on their revenues,’’ said Mr. Mohammed Hassan, a conservancy board member from Biliqo Bulesa, Isiolo county.

Board Chair of Ngwesi Conservancy II Mr. Kip Ole Polo shared his experience on marketing and the importance of digital marketing. Their main source of revenue is eco lodges targeting international clients. This has necessitated them to develop documentaries and short videos for marketing.

Mr. Titus Amdany, Baringo County Head of Tourism takes the team through role of government in positioning community conservancies development.

Mr. Titus Admany, County head of Tourism Baringo County took the team through the Baringo County history and highlighted some of its major features. Baringo county has five lakes as opposed to the two mainstreams lakes that are publicly known, Lake Baringo and Bogoria. The other lakes are Lake 94, Lake Kamnarok and Lake Narasha. Public knowledge of these lakes has attracted a high number of tourists to the county.

Modes of training involve practical for comprehension and inclusivity for participants with different levels of education.

It is notable to mention that the County of Baringo has set aside funds in the coming financial year 2022 for Kaptuya and Ruko Conservancies under the Amaya RangER programme for development and product development. The presence of the Rothchild giraffe  which is an endangered species in Baringo county will allow the conservancy to come up with a definite product around it and categorize it as a source of revenue.

Photo of the famous Rothchild giraffes, courtesy of

In regard to land and natural resources governance, it is becoming increasingly clear that gender equality and equity is key to conservation effectiveness and sustainability. The Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes the vital role women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. It also affirms the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policymaking and implementation to achieve effective biological diversity conservation (WEDO, 2012b). Further, the Constitution of Kenya (2010) expanded the Bill of Rights and enshrined the principle of equality and non-discrimination as one of its core values. Articles 27, 232 and 100 provide for equality and freedom from discrimination by guaranteeing equal treatment between women and men, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural, and social spheres. Further, several legal and policy frameworks recognize and protect women’s rights.

Conservancies are providing opportunities for women’s empowerment enterprise projects in conservancy lodges that empower them financially such as beadwork, livestock, and tourism. Furthermore, some conservancies such as Biliqo Bulesa, Naibunga lower, Ruko and Kaptuya conservancies are some community conservancies that have elected women to leadership positions.  This progress is due to legal reforms regarding women’s inclusion in governance structures and women’s land inheritance rights. Also, conservancies work with women to defuse resource-based conflicts among conflicting communities restoring peace and security. Progress in school enrollment for girls has increased because of education bursaries collected as revenue from conservancy fees or conservation philanthropy.

Group presentation from Biliqo Bulesa Conservancy from Isiolo County, Their main source of revenue as from Livestock.


He further emphasized the importance of conservation tourism in the county. Baringo County were elated to host the team from the three counties in the forum. Laikipia Community conservancies are considered hubs of sustainable livelihoods. In the Amaya Ranger region, the main economic activities are livestock, beadwork, tourism, and horticulture. The three-module training will ensure that the conservancies receive coaching and mentorship on business planning and possible ways of attracting funds and investments in their areas.

Participants take part in group discussions on Marketing and Digital Strategies.


The modules will culminate with a market linkage day that will bring the four counties together to get potential markets with the counties. With organized systems and groups, most of the conservancies have streamlined their products and are supporting the communities with the same.

In terms of gender equality and inclusion, the training was attended by 15 women who made up 45% of the total number of participants.


By Juddy Chebet

Project Coordinator, AMAYA RangER Project


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