Community conservancies are legally recognised institutions. They are registered with the government as not-for-profit companies, and run by democratically elected boards. Each conservancy board has 12 members, elected on a 3 year term of office. Board members meet quarterly, to discuss matters pertaining to conservancy funding, operations and partnerships. Their primary role is to provide leadership and oversight in all matters, to ensure transparency, adherence to the law, and equitable representation and sharing of revenue. They are also key in ensuring the voice of the constituent community is heard.

Good governance is at the heart of community conservation. It affects levels of community support, ensures the quality of security, grazing and other programmes, brings together different ethnic groups in peace, and builds on traditional institutional and cultural practices to promote conservation and community development.

READ MORE: how corporate leadership training is being adapted for, and transforming, the way conservancy managers and board members approach their work

How do we measure good governance?

 Governance scores for nrt conservancies. 2015

Governance scores for nrt conservancies. 2015

Each Conservancy is scored annually on a set of governance and performance criteria, to help managers and boards identify areas of strength and weakness. The following criteria are measured:

  • Accountability, representation, transparency and equity (effective AGMs, leadership and community support, institutional registration, composition and rotation of board, revenue sharing bylaws, publication of revenues, reporting to the board)

  • Financial management, donor relations and fund-raising (budget management, audit and follow-up, donor relations, and independent funds raised)

  • Conservancy operations (programme and budget execution, asset management, HR and admin procedures)

These assessments are important benchmarks for enhancing engagement with the community and highlight priorities for NRT support.