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Empower locals if you are to succeed in conservation activities, EU and DANIDA urge conservationists.

By EU Delegation to Kenya
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The European Union and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) are urging conservationists in the country to economically empower communities living around forests in their bid to rehabilitate the degraded natural resources.

The two organizations noted that supporting community projects aimed at poverty reduction through livelihood systems and the conservation of community natural resources and initiatives was key in ensuring enhanced environmental management and governance.

Speaking during the commissioning of the Lanameduba Ecosystem Conservation project in Nakuru County, EU Head of Cooperation, Erik Habers said the initiative was aimed at attaining a well-managed and conserved forest for sustained yields and to reduce pressure on the forest. He said this can be achieved through adoption of energy saving technology and tools, as well as improved household income resulting from increased farm productivity and an empowered community. “If productivity of the locals land can be improved through appropriate irrigation technologies, majority of the community members who over-rely on forests for their dairy activities will desist from forest destruction as they will have alternative means of livelihoods,” he said.

The Ksh31.4 million Lanameduba Ecosystem Conservation project aims to promote sound environmental awareness, community participation and involvement in soil and water conservation and management and enhanced food security.

The project seeks to protect and conserve forest cover and water catchment areas of Menengai, Dundori and Bahati forests, improve community livelihoods through nature based initiatives, income generating activities and drought coping strategies and further control soil erosion and enhance river banks protection through appropriate land use practices.

“The problems faced by the Lanameduba community are depletion of forest resources by local communities due to poverty and insufficient intervention by the government. The initiative has addressed these challenges through capacity building efforts involving both men and women and engagement government,” said Habers.