Tuesday, October 29, 2019 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
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The Nature Conservancy, 
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Arlington, VA

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Meeting ID: 550 091 405

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Evelyn Namvua
Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group
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Scaling Up Community Conservation in The Greater Mara Ecosystem 

Land owners MMWCA ABCG talk Oct2019

Register NowThe Maasai Mara ecosystem is home to approximately 25% of Kenya’s wildlife. It hosts more than 95 mammal species besides being a recognized Important Bird Area with 550 bird species. Presently, about 70 per cent of this wildlife is living outside the gazetted conservation area - the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Adjacent land owned by local communities form key dispersal and diversity areas and are designated as Wildlife Conservancies that surround the National Reserve. Presently 15 conservancies have been established. They are all unique in natural habitat, size, and structure, and all share the same philosophy that both wildlife and local people should thrive.

Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) was formed as a membership organization for current and future wildlife conservancies in the Greater Maasai Mara. We have a mandate from landowners and tourism parties to play an overarching coordination role for Greater Mara Ecosystem stakeholders. By conserving the greater Maasai Mara ecosystem through this network of community protected areas, we ensure the prosperity of biodiversity and wildlife, the regional Maasai population, recreation, tourism, and the nation of Kenya for generations to come. Through its conservancies’ council, MMWCA is positioned to bring together key parties in the region, including the local communities and landowners, conservancy boards and managers, community institutions, conservation partners, scientific experts, as well as government institutions including the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Narok County Government.

Currently local landowners and their families benefit directly from land leasing guaranteed income. No other activity provides as much income to as many people as conservancies. Landowners can access loans, pay for education and health services, get veterinary care for livestock, as well as plan for and survive extreme weather conditions, like droughts, where families use the money to buy food and move their cattle. Conservancies provide hundreds of thousands of international tourists a high-quality safari experience, while maintaining intimacy and a light carbon footprint.

Many operational conservancies allow managed grazing of landowner members’ cattle, at agreed times of year and agreed numbers, with a fine system for illegal grazing. With a lot of unprotected land under private title deed and at the risk of being fenced, some conservancies absorb herds of cattle under the stewardship of the conservancy management that would otherwise graze illegally in the Reserve. 

Thanks to the conservancies, the community can self-organize, enabling elective and accountable leadership, with Annual General Meetings for all members to attend. Nominated conservancy boards with both tourism parties and landowner representatives cultivate a common vision, a sense of communal decision-making and are a prerequisite for community development. Government and non-governmental actors use these structures as entry points for implementing and managing community-based projects.

To attend this event in-person, email: kholbrook@tnc.org        

Speaker Bio

Daniel Sopia, CEO Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association

Daniel is an accomplished leader in conservation, with a track record of working with local communities to protect Kenya’s diverse ecosystems. He brings to MMWCA a great mix of leadership, inspiration, and passion for conservation. He possesses management experience in the conservation and tourism sectors. He serves on the Board of Greater Mara Trust/Greater Mara Management Limited as well as the Board of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association representing the Maasai Mara region. As a founder member, Daniel has done a remarkable job with MMWCA’s formation, firstly as the Chairperson of the Conservancies Council prior to joining the Secretariat as Chief Programs Officer then CEO. Daniel is a Silver rated Professional Tour Guide who left active tour guiding to help set up Olare Motorogi Community Conservancy Trust in Maasai Mara.  He co-steered Olare Motorogi Conservancy as a Director from 2006 to 2008, a Trustee and as a Community Development Manager in the year 2013. He has also served in the capacities of Board Member for Olare Motorogi Conservancy and Vice Chair of Olpurkel Company Limited, the Management Company managing the conservancy. Currently, Daniel has also been appointed as a Member of the Human-Wildlife Compensation Schemes Task Force.

 Daniel Sopia ABCG talk Oct2019