Samburu Becomes the First County to Approve Bill for Community Conservancies Funding

A Samburu landscape - Namunyak conservancy. Photo: Kieran Avery.

A Samburu landscape - Namunyak conservancy. Photo: Kieran Avery.

County Assembly of Samburu have approved the Samburu County Community Conservancies Fund Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to fund community owned conservancies, starting with KSH. 120 million this financial year. Samburu is the first County to approve such a bill, which will have significant impact on the ability for community conservancies – who largely still rely on donor funding – to be independent and sustainable. 

The bill was subjected to review by stakeholders including Samburu Members of County Assembly (MCA), representatives of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), conservation partners and conservancy managers, in a forum spearheaded by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT).

The bill was praised by Samburu Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto and County Assembly Speaker Solomon Lempere, who said it would boost conservation, create employment and generate more revenue to the County through wildlife.

A Community Conservancies Board will be established, which will be tasked with scrutinizing proposals from conservancies and disbursing funds, as well as lobbying for funds from donors.

“We have been supporting our conservancies but there is need to have legislations that govern disbursement and usage of funds,” said Peter Leshakwet, Samburu Tourism executive.

The Bill will also seek to support the establishment of more community conservancies in the region, in consultation with the County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committee, KWS and other relevant conservation. There are currently 10 NRT-member community conservancies in Samburu County - Kalama, Westgate, Nkoteiya, Ltungai, Namunyak, Sera, Kalepo, Ngilai, Nalewoun and Meibae - all of whom have greatly welcomed the Bill and will benefit from the dedicated funding. 

Financial support to community conservancies will help with operational costs, peace and security initiatives, and wildlife conservation projects. It will also provide grants to support the development of tourism products and livelihoods projects.

Sophie Harrison