The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Friday disbursed 30 million shillings (about 270,500 U.S. dollars) to 12 community-based organizations for conservation of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge in Kenya.
Nancy Chege, country programme manager for the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme of UNDP, said that the support that is given under Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCAs) empowers communities to manage their conservancies and rangelands. “The funds are intended to enable organizations to broaden the reach and quality of diverse governance of protected and conserved areas,” Chege told journalists in Naivasha, northwest of Nairobi, saying that the beneficiaries are expected to conserve and protect medicinal trees and also help communities cope with COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many conservancies were unable to cope with the adverse effects of the pandemic as people invaded them for survival after killing the wildlife. The projects are giving local communities roles to protect, conserve and provide them with livelihoods, said the official. A national catalytic organization has been set up to support the self-strengthening of ICCAs, Chege said, adding that it will promote the development of an ICCA network and also conduct a legal analysis to assess the impact of laws, policies and institutional frameworks on ICCAs. Chege said that biodiversity, ecological services and cultural values that are voluntarily conserved by indigenous and local communities through customary laws are significant.