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Mara Naboisho Conservancy

Mara Naboisho Conservancy integrates Maasai, tourism and wildlife interests through equitable decision rights and income participation.

Facts

Investee Mara Naboisho Conservancy, founded 2010
Location Kenya
Sector Employment and skills
Funding start 2016
Funding type Grant
Website www.naboisho.com

 

Impact

Context

Three problems are faced in the Maasai Mara (one of the largest game reserves in Kenya):

  • Threats and damages to the ecosystem (wildlife and vegetation) due to fencing, overgrazing and increased farming activities.
  • Poverty of the local Maasai population in the surrounding areas as the pre-existing conservancy models provided only few local economic benefits in terms of land-lease payments, employment and grazing land.
  • Exclusion of the local Maasai population from decision making regarding conservation and tourism related activities on their land.

Solution

  • Most tourism conservancies in the Mara are run solely by tourist operators. Mara Naboisho Conservancy (“Naboisho”) has developed a unique conservancy model in which both tourism operators and the local Maasai landowners are equally represented on the conservancy board and involved in decision making.
  • The model empowers the Maasai also economically through income from land leases and employment in the tourist camps within Naboisho. The local population (both land and non-land owners) also benefits from other projects initiated by Naboisho such as access to schools and hospitals.
  • Naboisho enables the Maasai to continue their traditional way of life as it allows for controlled grazing within the conservancy during periods of drought. This limits overgrazing and maintains the longevity of livestock farming- a significant activity of the Maasai culture.

Impact depth

  • Naboisho provides stable income for 554 Maasai landowner households, ca. 300 jobs and indirect benefits for 10’000 local people. Expansion of the land leased by Naboisho (southern and northern corridor) would increase the number of beneficiaries to 2’000 landowner households with secure income and 25’000-30’000 indirect local beneficiaries.
  • Since the formation of the conservancy in 2010, there has been a dramatic increase in wildlife, e.g. with Naboisho now believed to have one of the highest lion densities in Africa and is home to over 220 recorded bird species.
  • The Naboisho conservancy model could actually be replicated in other, existing conservancies or scaled to un-managed land in the Masai Mara ecosystem (ca. 4’000 km2 and 0.5-1m Maasai population) and other endangered ecosystems.

Naboisho ensures:

    • Increased income to landowners: up to 3x from earned land-lease fees and additional income from employment within the conservancy.
    • Wildlife protection: the Naboisho model encourages co-existence between local communities and wildlife thus reducing human wildlife conflicts.
    • Improved quality of life: through benefits achieved through Naboisho programs that support access to clean water, access to renewable energy, education programs, and the promotion of women’s economic activity.
Impact Reach 2010-2015 2016 2017
# of Maasai landowners (cumulative) 554 621 705
# of local people indirectly benefitted n/a 4'968 5'826
# land directly controlled (ha) 20'000 22'213 22'767

SDGs

By investing in Naboisho, we align with and contribute to seven of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

LGT Venture Philanthropy has become one of the key players in preserving and scaling the protection of the Masai Mara Serengeti wildlife ecosystem, which contains some 40% of Africa’s larger mammals.

Svein Wilhelmsen, Founder of Basecamp/Board Member MANCO of Mara Naboisho Wildlife Conservancy