Resilient Futures: Empowering Youth and Women for Sustainable Livelihoods in Marsabit, Kenya.
The interlinked climate change and biodiversity loss crises have compromised the ability for communities in remote rural areas to access natural resources and earn a sustainable living. This has led to complex socio-ecological challenges where scarce natural resources have led to social conflicts, such as livestock theft, ethnic clashes, marginalization and further exploitation of the remaining natural resources. In particular, women and youth have been disproportionally affected, and have often been left out from discussions and decision making processes, despite being the groups that are most dependent on natural resources for a living. In addition, remote areas often lack electricity, internet access and up-to-date information resources that are vital in empowering these groups and transforming lives. A novel idea led and run by a diversity of Kenyan youth at The Explorer’s Club of Kenya aims to address these interlinked challenges by creating a conservation hub that will convene youth and women groups from multiple ethnic tribes to ideate environment and social solutions.
We aim to tackle this enormous challenge gradually, beginning with a project to convene affected youth and women groups to upskill and build their capacities to address the impacts of climate change and curb unsustainable livelihood practices. We are looking to establish a hub equipped with an education hall and library, including computers that will teach and empower their targeted youth and women groups on sustainable conservation practices, smart agriculture and digital literacy in a bid to create innovative solutions to the challenges highlighted above.
What we aim to achieve
The first purpose built conservation hub established, led and run by youth for the benefit of marginalized and vulnerable youth and women groups in Marsabit. We would like to test out two programs:
- Develop a conservation education curriculum that incorporates digital learning for groups to be taught and access the latest information resources on sustainable livelihood practices that can then be adapted locally to address the context-specific challenges of Marsabit. This will also promote cross-cultural learning between groups and the involved organizations.
- Develop the technical and financial capacity of two women groups and one youth group to develop projects that will provide income and help tackle environmental programs. The three projects include
- Apiculture (sale of honey, wax and bees, and its associated benefits of pollination, elephant repulsion and ecosystem health).
- Tree nursery development to boost forest restoration efforts through the sale of seedlings, fodder, timber, fuelwood, shade and non-timber products.
- Cultivation of hay and fodder for sale during the dry periods to livestock herders and aid rangeland restoration efforts.
- Addressing human-wildlife conflict using tech.
Human-wildlife conflict has risen in Marsabit, particularly with elephants, baboons and hyenas. The result is destruction of property, injuries, loss of lives and livelihoods and retaliatory attacks on wildlife ending with habitat destruction and wildlife death.
Our solution provides real-time alerts (online for the app and offline for SMS), boosting community engagement in wildlife conservation for timely conflict response. It’s cost-effective, low data usage, eco-friendly (no paper records), and tailored to local needs, outperforming traditional methods. No current early warning system exists in Marsabit. Most importantly, it fosters sustainable coexistence between people and wildlife.