Good governance is the engine behind resilient community conservancies and community development. NRT member conservancies are managed by democratically elected boards and staffed by local people, often mixing ethnic groups that have historically fought with one another. Well-governed conservancies provide an institutional framework for conflict resolution, build community support and ensure effective security, grazing and other livelihood programmes. 

How do we measure good governance?

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

  • Accountability, representation, transparency and equity 

  • Financial management, donor relations and fundraising 

  • Conservancy operations
  • Representation of women and youth

Despite the 2017 drought testing the strength of conservancy institutions in many ways, the average conservancy governance score increased from 61% in 2016 to 68%. This was mainly due to strong engagement from conservancy managers and more effective support from NRT's staff on the ground. It was also down to transformational management training, facilitated by NRT for conservancy leaders.

At a more landscape level, NRT has partnered with six other organisations to support County Governors in Laikipia, Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit with  useful environmental data and policy options to help shape new County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP).


20160523_AM_SUBT.00_15_06_02.Still003 copy.jpg

7% increase

In conservancy governance scores in 2017



conservancy leaders took part in transformative leadership training in 2017


Leadership and Management

What happens when conservancy elders meet corporate leadership training?


"Just borrow a camel." 

Fatooma Mohammed had been silent for sometime, amid the raucous discussion of all the other, predominantly male, elders loudly debating back and forth the answer to the riddle they had been presented with. She delivered her conclusion quietly and confidently. Everyone stopped.

The riddle? An old man had 17 camels, and has promised to divide them between his sons. The first-born gets half, the second gets a third, and the third-born son gets a ninth. How do you divide them? 

A few colourful solutions had been bounced between the elders, including slaughtering some camels and quite literally dividing the meat. But Fatooma, Chairlady of Leparua Conservancy, had got it. 

"You simply borrow a camel to make the herd 18. Half of 18 is 9, a third of 18 is 6, a ninth of 18 is 2. 2+6+9 = 17. Then you can give the borrowed animal back!"

Her audience pondered this for a second, then erupted in applause. For the first time in a week of training sessions, Fatooma had found her voice. 

She was one of 87 people from the NRT conservancies that took part in leadership and management training in 2017. The groups were a mix of chairpersons and committee members from all 31 conservancies, which presented Allan Ward and Heiz Wadegu from Forward Consulting with a challenge. 

Most of the principles of the training are geared towards a corporate environment, not to mention the whole programme is written in English. Allan and Heiz had to rethink their approach, and tailor the programme for an audience in which the majority have no formal education, and don't speak English.

"We've spent a lot of time modifying this programme for the chairmen and women... and my expectations have been far exceeded. We didn't expect to have this impact in such a short space of time. Leadership and management isn't about being educated, it's about someone's ability to understand the principles, and how to apply them" said Allan. 

The training covered the principles of leading and managing a team, recognising people's strengths, and how to think 'outside the box' for creative solutions to challenges. The elders also took part in practical activities that challenged their thinking, and in most cases, their teamwork - all met with laughter and enthusiasm. 

"My hope and prayer is that what we've done will allow the elders to be much more effective in their roles within the conservancies, and ultimately have a positive impact on the communities and the wildlife" said Allan   




Video testimonials from leadership training