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Speeches Shim

Kenya Ranger at Ivory Burning
On April 30, 2016, Kenya burned 105 tons of elephant ivory and rhino horns, the largest such burn to date. USAID is working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to respond to these threats and scale up Kenya’s efforts to combat wildlife crime.
Eric Onyiego / USAID Kenya and East Africa


Kenya is globally recognized for its rich biodiversity and iconic landscapes.  Kenya’s economy and its citizen's livelihoods depend on their natural resources and nature-based tourism which COVID19 threatens to diminish.  Climate variability, wildlife crime, urban expansion, and rapid population growth threaten Kenya’s conservation efforts. USAID responds to these threats by expanding the conservancy model.

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Biodiversity Conservation

Sixty-five percent of Kenya’s iconic wildlife live outside the national parks.  Therefore, USAID and Kenya Wildlife Service pioneered the community conservancy model (conservation easements on communally or privately owned land) in Kenya to support wildlife and the communities they live alongside.  Our approach protects wildlife, expands economic opportunities, and enhances the ability of people and land to withstand climate variability and shocks.  In a post-COVID world, collaborative, innovative local solutions are paving the way for sustainable conservation outcomes.  

Community conservancies are the pathway to recover from the impacts of COVID and remain a lynchpin in both combating wildlife trafficking and protecting three decades of biodiversity conservation gains.  USAID has formed innovative partnerships with Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, Northern Rangelands Trust, and Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association.

Together, we conserve 7 million hectares of land on which 167 conservancies esure that wildlife thrives and communities benefit from the natural resources across Kenya.  Eleven percent of Kenya’s land is currently under conservancy management and with USAID’s support, Kenya’s conservancies will grow to 20% by 2030. 

Combating  Wildlife Trafficking 

USAID builds a strong coalition of governmental and intergovernmental agencies to address the transnational threat of wildlife crime.  We work with local and international partners, including Kenya Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, WildlifeDirect, and local communities to counter wildlife trafficking.  Our programs enhance wildlife management, raise awareness on wildlife conservation and zoonotic diseases, and help prosecute wildlife crimes.  We also provide support to research and technologies that explore innovative ways to protect animals.

Climate Action

The U.S. Government rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement in January 2021.  Together, the United States and Kenya will amplify their commitment to climate change via Kenya’s Vision 2030, of which Kenya’s commitment to a low emissions economy and climate adaptation are key components. USAID works with Kenya’s legislative framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Kenyans adapt to the impacts of climate change. USAID engages with the private sector and Kenya’s policy framework to develop a climate strategy to enact the priorities of the Biden administration. 


Overview: Environment


Community Conservancies Seed Grant Program in Maasai Mara

Community Policy Support and Implementation Program

People to People Program

Promoting Self-Reliance and Community Engagement for Water Towers

Resilient Community Conservancies Program


This Rhino is My Son

Rescuing a baby Elephant in Kenya


You can access our current and past newsletters here.

Last updated: June 03, 2021

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