Community Conservancies Seed Grant Program in Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara ecosystem is home to the iconic wildlife migration in Africa, a world-renowned tourist destination and a critical ecosystem for tourism and wildlife conservation as well as community livelihoods in Mara landscape and in Kenya. With only 26 percent of the ecosystem under government protection, private and community land is becoming important for conservation efforts through the conservancy model. The benefits of Mara conservancies to wildlife and people are numerous. These include: enhancing the potential for greater and more-diverse wildlife population through protecting key wildlife species and dispersal areas, law enforcement across the entire landscape, reducing human-wildlife conflict and supporting community livelihoods of estimated 3,000 landowners, and 24,000 people. The conservancies in Mara face three key challenges: (i) lack of a unified Mara-wide conservation approach, including ecosystem planning; (ii) limited resources, capacities and governance structures to fulfill the mandate of nascent and existing conservancies; (iii) inadequate institutional support for the development and sustained growth of the Mara conservancies.

USAID is supporting enhanced biodiversity conservation in both community and privately owned conservancies adjacent to the protected Maasai Mara National Reserve. This will increase employment opportunities for the land owners and income diversification amongst the local community whose main livelihoods are anchored on a healthy ecosystem that supports pastoralism and tourism. A healthy ecosystem will guarantee biodiversity and wildlife conservation and the prosperity of the Maasai population as well as promoting recreation for locals and visitors and revenue generation through the tourism industry in Kenya. The goal of the Effective Biodiversity Conservation and Livelihood Improvement by Community Conservancies in the Maasai Mara project is to ensure that conservancies in the ecosystem are effectively and sustainably managed to promote biodiversity conservation and improve income generation at household level. 

Issuing Country 
Friday, March 8, 2019 - 11:15am

Last updated: March 08, 2019