Protection of Nyekweri Forest by local communities, Trans Mara Subcounty, Kenya
Nyekweri Forest is located to the west of Maasai Mara Nature Reserve and is an important refuge for threatened wildlife.The project assists the approximately 1000 Maasai living in the area to develop a biocultural protocol based on their traditions and cultural values. Working together with the local project partner, the project improves the exchange with the administration at national and regional level in order to achieve legal recognition as a conservancy. The project also strengthens income-generating activities to reduce deforestation for charcoal production. They include eco-tourism, improved animal husbandry and honey production. These project measures will help prevent forest loss beyond the life of the project. Women are trained to improve production and sale of traditional bead jewelry and to manage this income independently. Particular emphasis is placed on women's independent income and the strengthening of their role in traditional community bodies.
- IKI funding
- 307,573.00 €
- 07/2021 till 06/2024
- Implementing organisation
- Arbeitsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz (ARA) e.V.
- Implementing Partner
- Indigenous Information Network (IIN)
State of implementation/results
- More than 30 one to three-day workshops have so far been able to address 20 to 100 participants each. This includes members of all families of the Nyekweri Kimintet Forest Trust as well as the neighboring communities of Oloisukut Conservancy and Nyekweri Oloirien.
- In 2023, a biocultural protocol of the Siria Maasai was published. In a participatory process, the voices of elders, women and youth were heard and all views were integrated. The process has already attracted significant attention from neighboring communities interested in embarking on similar processes. Representatives from Nyekweri Oloirien, Oloisukut and Maasai Moran suggested that members of the Nyekweri Kimintet guide them through the process of creating their own biocultural protocols. The experiences of the process will then be summarized in a joint publication.
- In 2023, the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) registered the communities of Nyekweri Kimintet and Nyekweri Oloirien as “Development Forest Protected Areas”. This is an important step towards becoming an established nature reserve.
- Local community cooperation with government agencies could be significantly improved. Workshops attended by the senior warden of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in Narok County and representatives of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) provided an opportunity to discuss pressing issues such as the increase in human-wildlife conflict. Predator deterrent lamps were then made available to help prevent attacks by lions and hyenas on livestock. These are automatic lights that are charged by small solar panels installed at strategic points.
- An apiary was built in early 2022, providing space for over 40 beehives and protection from honey badger raids. 4 workshops attracted great attention from community members. Catch boxes were brought into the forest. As soon as bees begin to breed in them, they are taken to the apiary, where they are relocated to modern hives. To provide food for the bees, four native tree species were planted on the site.
- The women of the Maasai community have worked together to build a women's manyatta, which currently consists of seven traditional houses. It offers women a safe meeting place and has become a base for learning together and empowering themselves. In addition, they were able to secure a five-hectare site, providing greater opportunities for food security training and new income-generating activities.
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