Will securing pastoralist land rights protect vulnerable communities against poverty and climate shocks?

Land ownership rights among marginalized communities living in Arid and Semi-Arid areas in Kenya remain an unresolved thorny issue. According to Kenya-based land rights and conflict monitoring and resolution organization RECONCILE, seven counties of Baringo, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana and Wajir, which are predominantly pastoralist areas, are some of the worst hits by declining resources for sustenance, food insecurity and conflict with neighboring communities as well as wild animals.

Spirited efforts to create policy documents and blueprints to guide land use for the benefit of the local communities have not gained sufficient traction to solve the longstanding historical issues, of ownership, use and conservation.

RECONCILE which started work in some of the conflict areas, has brought together stakeholders and local communities to review the existing land governance policies, and their implementation and address the emerging challenges.

Partnering with local and national governments, and organizations such as ILRI and others, RECONCILE is working to provide solutions to conflict, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Quote from Peter Ken Otieno E.D RECONCILE

From July 2022, RECONCILE and ILRI organized a series of workshops with key stakeholders in the Kenyan Lands sector as part of the concerted efforts to fit the poor, marginalized communities into a national land governance and management system. The objective was to review the progress of implementation of the communal land act (CLA)of 2016 and draw possible steps forward toward the CLA’s approach to the ‘inclusion’ of informal landholders.

A recurring theme revealed through community engagements is the communities’ lack of awareness of their land rights, resource management and land registration. From these workshops, resolutions were drawn to create awareness within affected communities on the communal land rights act while engaging with relevant authorities on bottlenecks in the land registration processes. Stakeholders also agreed to interrogate climate conflict and pay special attention to inclusion for young people.

Facilitating sustainable land use

The partnership between RECONCILE and other stakeholders for implementing the communal land rights act is a foundation to help communities use the land for productivity and self-sustenance. ILRI through the Participatory Rangeland Management (PRM) project is training pastoralist communities to jointly make decisions on how sustainably exploit their rangelands and water resources. The joint community initiative predicated on land rights is supported by among others, civil society organizations, and national and county agencies promote both conservation and peaceful co-existence among communities.

Securing land rights for vulnerable communities by RECONCILE is in collaboration with UN-FAO, The Christensen Fund, ILRI, ILC, WHH, Mercy Corps, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, IMPACT, DLCI, NAMATI, Natural Justice, Pamoja Trust among other relevant stakeholders.