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Journalist alleges initiative dispossessing pastoralists of land & compromising their livelihoods

Author: John Mbaria, in NewAfrican, Published on: 8 May 2017

“A conspiracy in the wild”

For over 10 years, the Northern Rangelands Trust [NRT], a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country…Today, the NRT effectively controls 44,000 km2 (or 10.8m acres) of land – that’s roughly eight per cent of Kenya’s 581,309 km2 landmass…This has been done through community wildlife conservation, a model in which landowners assert the right to manage and profit from wildlife on their lands.

… As New African found out…the NRT-inspired community-conservation model is simple and can be quite attractive for anyone ignorant of its implications, especially for the lives and livelihoods of local people…[The] organisation has come up with quite an attractive package for the  communities, including securing for them investors interested in developing lodges and other tourism facilities, once they agree to set aside some of their lands for exclusive use by wildlife and the investors…

However, hidden in the fine print are consequences that are considered grave for the pastoralist groups in Northern Kenya. “Even when droughts occur, many of the pastoralist groups [who have signed up to the agreements] cannot access part of their lands that are now set aside for wildlife conservation and which constitute community conservancies,” says Michael Lalampaa…who hails from Samburu County.

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