Advancing Equitable Gender, Social, and Power Norms in Community Conservancies

Grantee: Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association​
Country: Kenya

Overview

In Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) partnered with Fauna & Flora International, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) Kenya, Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), and Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservancies Association (TTWCA) to implement the Advancing Equitable Gender, Social, and Power Norms in Community Conservancies project. This project addressed gender-based violence (GBV) and ensured equitable access to and control of natural resources in conservancies in Kenya.

Summary of impact

601

Project beneficiaries

658

People trained on GBV prevention

98%

Of participants are more aware of GBV through the project

Situational background

Conservation is the work of preserving and protecting Earth’s resources, and in many countries, it is essential to maintaining the biodiversity of local ecosystems and ensuring the livelihoods of the people who rely on those ecosystems. In Kenya, women traditionally do not own land and comprise less than ten percent of conservancy membership. Only five percent of conservancy manager positions, two percent of conservancy ranger positions, and five percent of conservancy committees are made up of women. Conservancy governance entrenches gender biases and ensures that decision-making and power remain with men, making it difficult for women to access, influence, and benefit from conservancies. The social norms, practices, and beliefs that lead to women’s marginalization within conservancies both are perpetuated by and contribute to GBV.

Project approach

KWCA’s project adapted elements of CARE Kenya’s Social Analysis and Action (SAA) model to facilitate staff transformation and raise awareness and confidence in discussing gender and power norms in conservancies. The SAA model is a facilitated four-step process through which individuals and communities challenge harmful gender norms that negatively impact women’s and men’s well-being and enable them to collectively envision and create gender-equitable alternatives. KWCA, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, and TTWCA staff and leadership reflected on their own biases and beliefs around gender norms and how these biases influence their conservation efforts, and the project then built their capacity to promote gender equality and GBV prevention through their work.

The project also undertook a gender analysis and used the results to integrate gender and GBV prevention into KWCA’s organizational policies and programming. These learnings contributed not only to KWCA’s improved gender capacity, but also to the wider knowledge base around GBV, access and control of land and natural resources, and conservation initiatives that support sustainable management.

Finally, CARE supported TTWCA to formulate a safeguarding policy and incorporate it into the organization’s operations and programming. KWCA and TTWCA staff and leadership reflected on their own biases and beliefs around gender norms and how these biases influence their conservation efforts, and the project then built their capacity to promote gender equality and GBV prevention through their work.

Notable results

Over the 22 months of the project, KWCA and its partners successfully trained 280 women and 321 men from conservancies in Taita Taveta on how to prevent GBV, with 98 percent of participants reporting higher awareness of GBV as a result of their efforts. Participants included KWCA, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, TTWCA staff and leadership, members of the Kasigau Ranch Wildlife Conservancy, and representatives from the Tsavo, Amboseli, and Mara landscapes. The project’s work also reached 435 indirect beneficiaries, including 13 landscape-level regional associations and 174 member conservancies.

Among KWCA staff, the SAA training created a shift in mindset against harmful gender norms and toward gender equality and GBV prevention. Following the gender analysis, KWCA proposed and approved several amendments to the organization’s constitution and conservancy guidelines related to gender equality and women’s participation. TTWCA approved and adopted a safeguarding policy that established structures to protect women working with the organization.

At the Kasigau Ranch Wildlife Conservancy’s Annual General Meeting, more than half of the respondents to an evaluation reported that the number of women who vied for positions at the conservancy had increased in 2022. Also at the meeting, the board of directors passed a motion nominating three women to be included in the board, and nine women ran for conservancy leadership positions, more than ever before.

“There is a change of attitude among the conservancies as male and female community members are becoming more responsive to female leadership in conservancy management. Compared to previous years, after the implementation of the SAA training and community dialogue sessions, there is a rise in the number of elected board members in conservancy management. Also, more women are pursuing conservation jobs that were initially male-dominated, resulting in more female rangers.”

— A KWCA staff member

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