Safeguarding Endorois people’s knowledge and ecosystems via an inclusive and autonomous governance protocol

Description of the project: This project supports the discriminated Endorois people around Lake Bogoria to articulate their own priorities and procedures for the conservation of their natural resources by developing a Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP). It documents the ancestral knowledge of Endorois women and men on their ecosystems and provides proactive responses to climate impacts, among other threats. It guides the community on collective engagement with external stakeholders on access, use and management of their endogenous resources, based on the legal framework of the Nagoya Protocol. The elected Endorois Welfare Council, representing all 17 target communities (up to 60 000 people), and respecting gender balance, contributes to the protection of genetic and biological resources, including the neighboring ecosystems due to the transboundary nature of ecological effects.

Climate impact: The BCP ensures the use of Indigenous knowledge to launch initiatives to adapt to climate impacts – droughts, loss of biodiversity, invasive species – and unlock multiple socio-economic benefits. The community has documented their traditional beliefs and indigenous knowledge and thus, the BCP is an intergenerational negotiation tool to address collaboration with external actors and provide solutions that safeguard and complement traditional knowledge for climate resilience and other key environmental issues.

Gender impact: The BCP adopts an inclusive strategy where women were included in leading positions in the governance structures and have become active agents in environmental conservation. Women actively participated in the negotiations and articulation of their rights, culture and traditions for natural resource management. The BCP clearly maps out women’s age-set, with separate representation of female youth and elderly, and recognizes their roles and rights with regards to conservation. Capacity-building also enhanced their understanding of policy, legal and institutional frameworks.

Scalability: The BCP strengthens the community’s capacity to use traditional knowledge to achieve sustainable natural resource management, and it aims to influence other Indigenous communities in similar circumstances, having positive impacts on neighboring territories. Such methodology can be replicated in many endangered ecosystems. The Endorois people are able to protect their rights and knowledge via collective engagement with external stakeholders. As a result, with a more cohesive society, they can avert possible conflict situations among members of the community arising from declining natural resources.

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Miticash- Citizen science

Description of the project: Miticash is a participatory science project which helps women smallholder farmers become citizen agronomists and contribute to climate resilience in drought prone Kenya, using conservation agriculture techniques. 630 women farmers from the arid lands of northeastern Kenya and Boni forest were trained on selecting and growing drought resistant crops, ensuring food security throughout the year for their communities. The project involves men, women, persons with disabilities and children equally in policy planning and implementation. Women assume leadership roles thanks to a train of trainers model, and take part in decision making processes to address the hunger challenges they face due to climate change. Miticash has provided green scholarship to 23 young girls.

Climate impact: With climate adapted crops and sustainable farming, vegetables and fruits grown in their gardens, women farmers reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Farmers also have stopped unsustainable practices like bush clearance or charcoal burning, which contributes to deforestation and environmental degradation. Over 300,000 trees seedlings have been planted in social institutions to encourage children to be nature enthusiasts. 40,000 tree species in the project’s seed bed will be planted to rehabilitate degraded ecosystems.

Gender impact: This initiative has empowered women smallholders, living in patriarchal communities, to be part of climate negotiations at the local or national level. The women are able to grow drought tolerant crops and have food security throughout the year for their family as well as manage all their farm affairs. This project has also given them a chance to own land and understand their rights. Miticash supports the goal of equal access to education by financing tuition fees to 23 vulnerable girls with a green scholarship.

Scalability: Women in the project area take part in 90% of the agricultural production activity but they practice unsustainable agriculture such as shifting cultivation and bush clearing, which contributes to deforestation. Using an approach called train the trainer, women smallholders are divided into groups and they will then choose their group leaders. The group leaders would undergo training and after that they will go back to their own group to train their members. This approach has ensured wider coverage and the same approach could be used to scale up and replicate this project.

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