The Northern Rangelands Trust is a community led, non-governmental organisation that was set up in 2004 in northern Kenya by a coalition of local leaders, politicians and conservation interests. Its mission is to develop resilient community conservancies, which transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources.
NRT is a community conservancy membership organisation. The 35 member conservancies work across 4.5 million hectares of northern and coastal Kenya. With support from principal donors USAID, The Nature Conservancy, DANIDA, and AFD, and many smaller donors, NRT is supporting and empowering communities to develop locally-led governance structures, run peace and security programmes, take the lead in natural resource management, and manage sustainable businesses linked to conservation. The community conservancies are starting to have a significant impact on building peace, improving lives and managing the rangelands, and their success has helped shape new government regulations on establishing, registering and managing community conservancies in Kenya.
NRT supports it members in a number of ways:
- It raises funds for the conservancies
- It provides them with advice on how to manage their affairs
- It supports a wide range of training and helps broker agreements between conservancies and investors
- It monitors performance, providing donors with a degree of oversight and quality assurance.
NRT is accountable to an over-arching Council of Elders. The chairmen and chairwomen of the conservancies make up the majority, and are joined by institutional members representing county governments, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the private sector. The Council guides NRT policy and is responsible for maintaining high standards of governance and accountability amongst member conservancies. It also appoints eight of the 15-member NRT Board of Directors, who the chief executive officer reports to.. The Council of Elders is currently chaired by David Lekoomet (Kalama Conservancy), and vice chaired by Omar Godana (Nasuulu Conservancy).
The NRT Board of Directors is currently chaired by Hon. Mohamed Elmi MP and vice chaired by Dr Hassan Wario, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts. The NRT Board includes institutional membership from KWS, KFS, three pioneering private conservancies, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Interior.
There are now five regional NRT hubs:
- NRT Centre
- NRT Coast
- NRT North Rift
- NRT North East
- NRT West
The main NRT headquarters is in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and this also serves as the base for the NRT Centre conservancies. NRT Coast, NRT West, NRT North East and NRT North Rift are semi-autonomous, with their own headquarters, boards and management teams.