Kenya: Hosted by the Ogiek of Chepkitale
In January 2011, the Ogiek people of Mt Elgon, Kenya, requested urgent help from FPP to resist further evictions from their ancestral land, Chepkitale, the high moorland and forest land on the Kenyan side of Mt Elgon. In response, FPP met with the Ogiek leaders who then organized a meeting at Mt Elgon.
The Ogiek requested that one of the IUCN/FPP pilot Whakatane Assessments be held at Mt Elgon. During a subsequent trip, meetings with FPP and the Ogiek were organized by the Ogiek leaders in each community of Chepkitale, the risks and potential benefits from the pilot Whakatane Assessment were explained in detail in each community and they unanimously agreed to request that the site assessments takes place on their land. FPP and IUCN ESARO then involved the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service and the World Bank, to prepare the ground for the pilot Whakatane Assessment.
IUCN ESARO and FPP worked with the Ogiek to pilot the first Whakatane Assessment in November/ December 2011. The successful process led to a better understanding of the sustainable livelihood practices of the Ogiek, and determining that their presence at Mt Elgon plays an important role in protecting the forests, fauna and water catchment area. The Assessment also provided a context in which the Ogiek could enter into dialogue with the Mt Elgon County Council, as well as with conservation organisations and Government institutions. The decisions taken during the Assessment are now being implemented.
- Consultations and dialogue separately with high-level decision-makers and community leaders to develop understanding, secure buy-in for the process and enable a constructive round-table dialogue.
- 1st Roundtable at the IUCN regional offices in Nairobi on November 21st 2011. This brought all the key stakeholders to the table: the Ogiek, Mount Elgon County Council, IUCN, FPP, IPACC, ERMIS mapping, Peace and Rights local peace building NGO, World Bank (that has a NRM project on Mt Elgon), IMPECT from Thailand, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service. The new conservation paradigm was presented by FPP.
- Scoping Study visit to Chepkitale, Mt Elgon, to consult with the Ogiek and assess the situation. The team consisted of the Ogiek, Mount Elgon County Council, IUCN, FPP, IPACC, IMPECT, KFS and KWS.
- 2nd Roundtable on December 5th: All the previous participants attended, plus the Office of the President and the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife. The World Bank did not attend but asked to be informed of the outcome.
- Conservation: The Assessment’s Scoping Study found that the Ogiek have a positive relationship with their natural environment and indicated that community structures, presence and livelihood practices contribute to protecting the forest, moorland and fauna. There is therefore an
- FPP and IUCN ESARO put together a programme of work – validated by all participants at the 2nd Roundtable - to work on establishing clear evidence based co-management structures that can ensure Ogiek management of their land is respected. There is currently no resource to implement this programme of work.
opportunity for decision-makers of the County Council to reverse their earlier attempts to evict the Ogiek, and to instead support their continued conservation of their lands.