CASE STUDY 5
Conservation empowerment: building and scaling an African community conservancy movement
The term ‘Community Conservancy’ is now common parlance amongst conservation practitioners. At its core it simply means a well-governed community institution with conservation management responsibility over a defined area. This model is today seen as the optimal blueprint for actively engaging local people in wildlife conservation and natural resource management across Africa. The innovation of community conservancies began independently in northern Kenya and Namibia, Africa’s two most successful community conservancy programmes. Conservation Capital and its principals were intimately involved in the birth of this movement.
Northern Rangelands Trust, Kenya
Our Role: Pivotal to the management and strategic development of Northern Rangelands Trust during its most formative years, Conservation Capital principals were integral, as seconded staff, board members and technical experts, to the operational management, governance, institutional evolution and enterprise development of the Trust and its constituent community conservancies, creating revenue and benefit flows to over 100,000 people, and establishing the foundation for community conservancy expansion.
Outcomes: Northern Rangelands Trust now represents and supports 27 community conservancies totaling an area of 31,000 km², equivalent in size to over 60% of Kenya’s formal protected area estate of national parks and reserves. These community conservancies are now seen as a benchmark for community-based conservation with the model enshrined under new wildlife conservation legislation in Kenya.
Zambezi Region, Namibia
Our Role: Initiated and pioneered community-based conservation in the Zambezi Region (formerly Caprivi) with over 20 communities, and established Namibia’s second community conservancy.
Outcomes: There are now 13 registered community conservancies in the Zambezi Region forming a critical mosaic of wildlife conservation estate at the heart of the Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, home to Africa’s largest elephant population. These conservancies are recognised leaders within the national community conservancy movement, which now comprises 82 community conservancies covering 161,900 km², more than doubling the protected area estate of Namibia in the last 20 years.