Securing Rangelands, Securing Livelihoods: Piloting Participatory Rangelands Management (PRM) in Baringo County

Christina Keyser, Intern at RECONCILE

PRM is a flagship project in Tanzania and Kenya that aims to improve the livelihoods of pastoralist communities in arid and semi-arid lands. In the year leading up to the PRM launch, RECONCILE achieved three critical goals: building a strong partnership with the County Government of Baringo and attracting buy-in of the project from various community members and relevant stakeholders. The project is designed to promote inclusive and sustainable management of rangelands, empower participatory access and use among rangeland users, and expand the role of women in pastoral communities.

This participatory approach ensures that management of rangelands is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and will improve food security and nutrition for all communities involved. PRM aligns with Agenda 2030, and is particularly relevant to the achievement of SDG target Goal 15:  Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

This is a pilot project that will test and develop the PRM system for Kenya and Tanzania with the intention to be scaled up, improved, and mainstreamed to improve pastoralist livelihoods throughout East Africa.

Although March 22nd, 2019 marks the formal launch of this long term project, RECONCILE has worked diligently over the past year to lay a strong foundation for its implementation. These preparations involved building a diverse and knowledgeable team, strengthening partnerships, investigating potential project sites, and refining PRM strategy through research.

RECONCILE strengthened its project teams to enhance collaboration, county ownership, and sustainability of the project.

A Technical Working Group was established to oversee the implementation of PRM and preliminary visits to Baringo County were carried out to meet with potential partners, stakeholders, and national and county government authorities. These field visits also included assessing and selecting four conservancies in Baringo for PRM implementation: Kaborion in Baringo South, Koitegan in Mogotio, Paka Hills in Tiaty sub-county, and Irong Conservancy in Baringo North.

RECONCILE met with the conservancies’ leadership to engage with the community on the PRM process and identify key issues unique to each conservancy, such as resource based conflicts, soil erosion, limited markets for honey products, deforestation, and poor road networks. These issues will inform the priority areas of intervention as PRM is implemented.

To gain an in-depth understanding of the different resources and users in each conservancy, stakeholder mapping and resource mapping were conducted. This data will inform resource management and stakeholder collaboration in the PRM process for each conservancy.

Along with visits to Baringo, project teams from Kenya also visited various conservation zones in Ethiopia to learn experientially about PRM strategy. Visiting rangelands in Ethiopia helped project teams contextualize PRM in Kenyan rangelands and specialize the PRM approach for Baringo County.

RECONCILE’s comprehensive preliminary research work has laid the foundation for a successful project launch that will enhance the productivity, sustainability, and resilience of pastoralist communities. PRM is already well on its way towards securing rangelands and securing livelihoods in Kenya.