The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) is a community-led initiative in northern Kenya, supported by FFI since its inception. NRT, with the support of FFI and other institutional partners, such as Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy, is working to develop capacity and self-sufficiency of community conservancies in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management. NRT is Kenya’s single largest community conservation programme, and currently works with more than 30 community conservancies covering an area of more than 44,000 km2.
FFI works collaboratively with NRT and individual targeted conservancies with the vision of achieving viable wild species and habitats that are resilient to external threats and shocks and supported by a collaborative network of effective community conservancies.
To achieve this vision we use a number of strategies to strengthen the direct conservation management of species and habitats in conservancies. This work includes supporting the Sera Wildlife Conservancy and Rhino Sanctuary located in Laikipia Country. In 2014, FFI supported Sera with the reintroduction of a founder population of black rhino making Sera the first community-managed rhino sanctuary in Kenya, to which black rhinos were reintroduced after an absence of more than 30 years.
In 2015, FFI aided another NRT community conservancy, Borana Conservancy, in the training and equipping of security and staff monitoring, as well as in successfully reintroducing and re-establishing black rhinos.
FFI also currently supports the NRT Beisa Oryx Programme which aims to improve in-situ conservation of the largest remaining concentration of beisa oryx in the NRT landscape; and introduce a viable founder population of beisa oryx within a protected sanctuary, taking advantage of the fenced sanctuary that has been established in Sera Community Conservancy for black rhinos.
Further to direct species support, FFI aims to increase the institutional capacity of community conservancies including on aspects of governance, gender inclusion, technical skills, financing mechanisms and appropriate monitoring and evaluation programmes that can be used to inform conservancy decision making. In the long-term it is hoped that this support can be widened to facilitate inter-conservancy learning, enabling where appropriate, the conservancies to themselves become the capacity builders of the future.