Enhancing Community Resilience against the impacts of COVID-19 in the Kamungi Conservancy, Southern Kenya

Tsavo Trust
Published: 07 June 2023
Last edited: 07 June 2023
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Summary

Tsavo Trust (TT) works in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) which spans 42,000km2. It incorporates Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyulu Hills National Parks. Local communities surrounding the TCA have limited economic opportunities, unfavourable agricultural conditions, and lack basic governmental services, forcing some individuals to turn to illegal activities to survive. 

TT applied the SAPA tool to the Kamungi Conservancy, a simple and low-cost methodology for assessing impacts of Protected Area (PA), conservation and development activities on the well-being of communities living within the PA. TT established a baseline of key social impacts, understood underlying causes for community challenges and identified ideas that positively contribute to communities' well-being. 
TT constructed 4 10% fences (HWC mitigation) benefiting 40 people. M&E indicated a 100% decline in crop loss to wildlife, improved perceptions and improved livelihoods; reducing the pressure on the PA.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Local
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Cropland
Grassland ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Theme
Access and benefit sharing
Agriculture
Food security
Indigenous people
Local actors
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Restoration
Species management
Sustainable livelihoods
Water provision and management
One Health
Good governance of landscapes
Wildlife trade and human-wildlife conflicts
Challenges
Erratic rainfall
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Poaching
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of food security
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge

Location

Mtito Andei, Makueni, Kenya | Kamungi Conservancy

Challenges

TT used the SAPA tool to identify and prioritise Positive and Negative impacts from a beneficiaries perspective in Kamungi. The challenges identified by the study were hindering the process of community development and empowerment.

Challenges include; Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC), the 1st ranked negative impact at 99%,  TT has developed HWC mitigation measures i.e.10% Fence Plan and Elephant Exclusion Fence.

Access to water was the 2nd ranked negative impact at 97%; this is due to erratic rainfall patterns in the area, to address this, TT had sunk a borehole for the community and established 110 water pans.

Nepotism, lack of and bias in employment were ranked 3rd, 5th and 7th with 94%, 81%, and 74%.  TT has employed over 45 permanent employees from communities to date.

In education, lack of scholarship support and inadequate support to schools were ranked 4th and 8th at 86% and 72%. TT has managed to raise funds for 9 scholarships and build a Science and Computer lab in a local secondary school.

Beneficiaries

Local communities living around Kamungi Conservancy 

Local and National Government agencies

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS)

Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

How do the building blocks interact?

The SAPA process consists of 5 phases (preparation, Scoping, Information gathering, Assessing and Taking Action) some phases were combined in the building blocks and actual implementation to achieve the overall goal of SAPA assessment

Building Block 1, combined SAPA Phase 1 and 2, (Community Assessments) which included Planning the assessment, community mapping, reviewing existing information and identification and analysing stakeholders, conducting community FGDs to gather positive and negative impacts and the 1st Stakeholder meeting to add more positive and negative impacts

The process proceeded to Phases 3 and 4, "Data for decision making" in building block 2, a questionnaire from the prioritised impacts identified from the FGDs was developed, enumerators were trained on household data collection, the data collected was analysed and results shared with communities and 2nd stakeholders, who contributed to more positive and negative impacts

This led to the third and final block "Partnership Collaboration, Action Planning and monitoring progress" which comprised of sharing the results from the assessment with key stakeholders, answering assessment questions from the second stakeholder workshop and discussing ideas for action planning into thematic areas

Impacts

By conducting SAPA, TT identified gaps in perceptions by communities in regard to projects implemented in Kamungi, this was key in identifying community-led interventions to help improve their livelihoods and conservation of the PA.

The collected data is an essential baseline tool for resource mobilisation. As a result, TT has been able to secure funding from partners such as BIOPAMA, and 7 others to implement the joint action plan that was developed.  8 more 10% fences. TT scouts have undergone training and support in monthly elephant drives, driving 89 elephants from small scale farmland within Kamungi between January & March 2023. As a result of partner's support, TT provided 110 dam liners for water pans each with a capacity of 56,000L, reducing the distance covered by the communities to fetch water, TT is also providing scholarships for 9 students and has constructed and equipped a Science and computer laboratory in a local secondary school. 

To address the information barrier between TT, communities and scouts, TT established a BULK SMS platform and grievances log which is used to communicate on Key issues, planned and ongoing projects and address grievances.

All 4 families with fences have reported 100% decline in HWC, improved livelihood, and improved perception towards wildlife.

Story

Tsavo Trust

Through SAPA, TT identified the negative social impacts in Kamungi Conservancy. A joint action plan was developed to address the negative social impacts and improve the situation. 

The following are some of the negative social impacts that were identified and interventions that TT has put in place to address them:

1. Human-Wildlife Conflict

  • Installation of a 3-strand Elephant exclusion fence. Has significantly reduced Human – Elephant Conflict to over 7000 people by 80%.
  • 10% Fence Plan (10% of a household’s land put under a porcupine electric fence). 8 more fences have been constructed with 80 people benefiting. M&E indicated a 100% decline in crop loss to wildlife, improved perceptions and livelihoods; reducing the pressure on the Protected Area (PA).

2. Long distance to fetch water

  • Construction of 110 water pans. The water pans enable approximately 1,100 people to collect up to 6,160,000 Litres surface runoff water. kitchen gardens and tree nurseries have been established thus promoting food security and environmental conservation.

3. Lack of scholarship support

  • Secondary Education full Scholarship to 9 needy students (6 girls and 3 boys) in boarding schools. 

4. Inadequate support for schools

  • Infrastructure Support: Completion and Equipping of Kyusyani Secondary School Science Laboratory.
  • Equipping of a computer Laboratory at Kyusyani Secondary School – solar power, 20 Laptops, a Projector, and e-learning resources. This is expected to result in improved performance and improved enrolment of the school from the current 160 students.

5. Information barrier between TT and local communities

Bulk SMS was introduced and thus enabling communities to receive timely information from TT. The number of local community members participating in Tsavo Trust project activities has doubled. 

6. Poor relationship with TT Rangers

Rangers attend community meetings on a quarterly basis where they respond to community queries and explain what their role entails.

7. 60 Local community members have been trained in climate-smart agriculture. This has improved their knowledge of dryland farming and best agricultural practices, thus enhancing food security.

8. 60 households received home solar solutions. This helps in reducing fossil fuel emissions and saves families approximately KES 1,620,000 per year.

The above interventions coupled with other existing interventions are already bearing fruits. The membership of Kamungi Conservancy increased by 80% in 2023.

Contributed by

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Nicholas Njogu Tsavo Trust