Location: Didewaride Location, Witu Division, Lamu County
Postal address: P.O Box 23, Witu
Manager: Mustafa Godana Dae
Contact: 0726 083 062
Ethnicity: Orma, Swahili and Boni
Land Ownership: Group ranch and community land
Core Conservation Area: 120,000 hectares
Main Livelihood: Livestock, farming, fishing
Key Wildlife Species: Elephant, buffalo, hippo, common zebra, crocodile
Year of Registration: 2012
Staff Employed from the Community: 12
Annual Operating Budget: US$ 30,000
Hanashak-Nyogoro shares its northern border with Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy. Communities in Ishaqbini have been highly praised for their outstanding efforts in protecting the endangered hirola antelope, and in easing the ethnic tensions that once plagued the area. With such a shining example of an effective community conservancy as a neighbour, it was only a matter of time before the communities of Hanashak-Nyogoro followed suit. They too had their share of ethnic violence in 2012 and 2013, as political tensions and competition for natural resources heightened. Hanashak-Nyogoro is now part of NRT-Coast, a regional NRT support centre with a headquarters in Lamu. Its focus is solely on the priorities of the 7 coastal NRT conservancies, who face different challenges than their inland cousins.
As with many of the communities in NRT conservancies, the Orma community are semi-nomadic pastoralists. They have a wealth of knowledge built up through decades of farming unpredictable terrains, but as changing times bring increased pressure on natural resources, grazing cattle has become a volatile livelihood. By joining NRT, pastoralists can combine their traditional knowledge with modern science to more sustainably manage their rangeland, and other members of the community have means of diversifying their income through alternative livelihoods, so as not to rely so heavily on livestock. It is hoped than Hanashak-Nyongoro will, in time, become involved in a similar programme to that of the ‘linking livestock to wildlife conservation’ project that is proving so successful in other community conservancies, as well as engaging in enterprise projects.
One of NRT’s main focuses is on securing peace through dialogue and finding common goals. The majority of community conservancies are home to more than one ethnic group, and many have a long history of conflict between one another. The Hanashak–Nyogoro area saw bloody violence in 2012 and 2013, as political tensions in the area reached boiling point. The conservancy board took immediate action, initiating dialogue between the Orma and neighbouring Pokomo, and the clashes were soon stopped. Peace talks like these have proved highly successful in other NRT conservancies with ethnic tensions, such as Biliqo-Bulesa, who now holds the annual inter-tribal Kom Peace Marathon.
Hanashak-Nyogoro borders Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy to the north, and the Lower Tana Delta Conservancy Trust to the south. As well as vast grasslands and thick bush, it also includes a section of the Tana River which nurtures a riverine forest, and Lake Moa. The lake provides a vital and consistent water source for wildlife all year round, and elephant and other herbivores are frequently seen here. The estuaries in the conservancy are a favourite habitat for numerous water birds.
There are 11 community rangers in Hanashak-Nyogoro, employed from all three ethnicities that share this area. Equal representation is vital if they are to manage conflict and raise conservation awareness in the area. Six of these rangers are currently undergoing training at the Manyani Training School in the famous Tsavo National Park. Funded by NRT and with generous support from the Kenya Wildlife service, these rangers are gaining knowledge in discipline, field craft, wildlife law and wildlife monitoring.
Being a relatively new NRT conservancy, the communities in Hanashak-Nyogoro are concentrating on improving security operations, infrastructure development and sustainably managing their precious natural resources. This area holds such a unique diversity of wildlife and culture, that there is no reason it will not be able to generate income through successful eco-tourism ventures in the future.
With assistance from NRT and partner organizations, Hanashak-Nyogoro aims to achieve the following in the coming years:
- To convene, along with all other NRT community conservancies, in annual general meetings to share plans and progress
- To take part in a livelihood baseline survey, commissioned by NRT, with a view of determining the status and priority of education, health, water, jobs, food security, infrastructure and current availability of government services
- To continue the strengthening of wildlife security and monitoring within the conservancy
- To sign a partnership memorandum of understanding, along with all other community conservancies, between themselves and NRT
- To register as not-for-profit
- To develop a conservancy management plan endorsed by the constituent community in Hanashak-Nyogoro