What is the innovative 10% Fence Plan?
The 10% Fence Plan was first designed for communities living in the Wildlife Friendly Zone of Kamungi Conservancy where the elephant exclusion fence has limited impact on most wildlife (apart from elephants) causing Human Wildlife Conflict. Consequently, Tsavo Trust has designed the 10% fence plan, an innovative model that prevents crop raiding and livestock predation, and with this increase’s food security. This builds on Tsavo Trust’s existing beehive fences, which deter crop raiding elephants (who actively avoid bees).
Under this plan, 10% of each individual’s land (plots vary from 20-150 acres each) is fenced using electrified “porcupine fences”, widely used to mitigate human wildlife conflict in Kenya, allowing the landowner to grow crops. The unfenced 90% is left accessible for transient wildlife (such as Dikdiks, impala, elephants etc) and livestock to graze. This idea has both the marginal environment (90%) and the landowner’s subsistence needs (10%) in mind.
The 10% fence plan has already been installed for three farmsteads in Kamungi under the Pilot Phase supported by Tofauti Foundation. Socio-economic assessments have been conducted following the construction of the pilot fences; and have already shown a 100% decline in crop loss to wildlife, improved community perceptions and improved livelihoods to those families that received this model. This in turn has reduced the pressure on the Protected Areas.
With this plan Tsavo Trust seeks to promote co-existence between wildlife and community members of Kamungi Conservancy. Each plot chosen for this plan is selected from the wildlife friendly zone of Kamungi. The gender friendly Kamungi Conservancy Board will vote on who’s land is to be the recipient of the 10% Fence Plan.
A combination of beehive and electric fences, as well as the presence of Tsavo Trust’s Kamungi Scouts team, will provide a mosaic of human wildlife conflict mitigation uses in Kamungi Conservancy. This is an ideal location to try differing mitigation options given the Conservancy borders onto a Park and there is no hard boundary such as an electric fence. This differing array of human wildlife conflict mitigating fences should prove to be an excellent trial that can, over time, give informed advice and direction for other community projects that border onto the formal Protected Areas.
Who will benefit from this Plan?
The local community would benefit most from the success of this concept. Incidents of human wildlife conflict will be considerably reduced, as well as damage to crops from wildlife. This will ensure food security for households. Resources initially used to purchase food could be channelled to other uses such supporting children’s education.
The wildlife of Kamungi Conservancy will also benefit through the use of fallow blocks of land and a community that is increasingly tolerable towards local and transient wildlife. Reduced human wildlife conflict translates to fewer wildlife retaliatory killings. Land left fallow will be utilized as habitat for many and varying species including Dik-diks, Duikers, Elephants and Wild Dogs.
Most conservation projects focus on wildlife as opposed to communities. The community view on this is that conservation organizations value wildlife more than people. Focusing on the local community may win their support in conservation of wildlife and their habitats. This is to the benefit of conservation organizations and likeminded institutions.
Very important aspect of this project is that if, over time, we can show that this relatively cost- effective way of securing land on the boundaries of formal Protected Areas can help local communities to farm successfully in areas where human wildlife conflict has been ever prevalent, it will be a conservation success that can be replicated elsewhere in dry arid environments.
What is planned now? – Phase Two
European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Action Component
In May 2021, Tsavo Trust, partnered with the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Action Component to build on this new concept by installing 4 more 10% Fence Plans in the Kamungi Conservancy under the Phase Two Project. Approximately 40 members of Kamungi (4 families) will benefit from this project.
In addition, and under this significant partnership, Tsavo Trust will roll-out the Social Assessments for Protected Areas initiative, a participatory process that assesses positive and negative social impacts of Protected Areas on target communities, and to understand perceptions of well-being. With this process, Tsavo Trust will continue to build trust with the Kamungi community, providing a baseline of community perceptions for future monitoring and evaluation, to assess success of community programmes, but most importantly to inform community intervention strategies moving forward so that the Protected Areas are contributing to human wellbeing and financial resilience.
This project is financed by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme
Tofauti and Exodus Travel Foundation
In June 2021, Tsavo Trust, was thrilled to receive additional and significant funding support from the Tofauti Foundation and Exodus Travels Foundation, to construct an additional 5 10% Fences in the Kamungi Conservancy under this Phase Two Project (3 under the Tofauti Foundation and 2 under the Exodus Travels Foundation). These fences will benefit 5 families in the Kamungi Conservancy, approximately 50 individuals of all ages and gender. Construction of these fences under Phase Two are ongoing and all activities specific to this project will be reported on in Tsavo Trust’s Monthly Reports.
The aim of this project is to build resilience for members of the Kamungi Conservancy; strengthen their capacity to survive the impacts of Covid-19; and ensure they are equitable stakeholders in wildlife conservation.
Why is this so Important NOW
Covid-19 has had devastating impacts, particularly for vulnerable communities in developing countries where there is no resilience and social welfare support, and healthcare is lacking.
As a lower middle-income economy, Kenya’s capability to respond to this global pandemic is limited. Given tourism generates 1.1 million jobs, the sudden hiatus of this sector presents enormous social and economic pressures. As many people live hand-to-mouth, and with poverty rates at 36.1% of the population (pre Covid-19), Kenyans are particularly vulnerable to these impacts over an extended period. This is particularly true for rural communities, such as the Kamungi community of Tsavo, where only 10% of individuals were employed prior to Covid-19 and poverty levels are 87%. With no end in sight and global economies likely to take years to recover, there is an urgent need to support the most vulnerable members of society.
Under the Phase 2 10% Fence Plan Project, Tsavo Trust has raised the funds to implement nice 10% fences of nine farmsteads in the Kamungi Conservancy. This Phase 2 Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) mitigation initiative and brainchild of Tsavo Trust will assist at least 90 members of Kamungi (including youth and women) with improved food and property security from crop raiding animals. Under this Project, two plots have been funded by the Exodus Travels Foundation, three by the Tofauti Foundation and four by the BIOPAMA Programme – Rapid Action Grant. Of the four under the BIOPAMA grant, one of these fences was constructed at the farmstead of Agnes Ndumi Mulei.
Agnes Ndumi Mulei is a widow aged 71 years from Kamunyu Village, Kamungi Conservancy located on the northern boundary of Tsavo West National Park between Mtito Andei to the West and the Athi River coursing alongside the Yatta Plateau to the East.
Agnes has five children, three daughters and two sons and lost her husband in 1997. She was married to a polygamous family and had two co-wives. As it is common with traditional African polygamous families, land issues are unending. The extended family members of her late husband claimed that where she was living was family land and they demanded that she relocate to a new area owned by her parental family. Having lived on this homestead since 1978, Agnes wondered what had changed as she watched helplessly alone, with both her daughters already married, and her sons away in pursuit of livelihoods. With no significant source of income and struggling to put a meal on the table, relocation was impossibility. The land issue coupled with significant Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) made life hopeless.
During a socio-economic survey conducted by Tsavo Trust on 15th March 2021, she estimated 76.25 % of crop produce lost in the last growing season because of crop raiding by Wildlife (Elephant ranking as the most problematic). She perceived her household to be extremely troubled by crop raiding.
The Kamungi Conservancy Board in cognizant of Agnes Mulei’s situation and in consideration of 10% Fence Plan criteria for selection, selected her as one of the beneficiaries under the Phase 2 Project. In August 2021, the 10% Fence Plan was implemented on her paternal piece of land. 50 Kamungi Conservancy members volunteered to assist her to relocate to her piece of land where the fence had been constructed. These members constructed a mud house, cleared the compound and started preparations on an area for farming. Tsavo Trust assisted in the relocating process by mobilizing the Kamungi members and supplying water for construction of her house etc. In August 2021 the Kamungi Conservancy monthly meeting was held at her new homestead, where all those in attendance helped to clear the farmland.
This project has meant that Agnes could relocated to her piece of land, where she now has three acres fenced and secure from wildlife under the 10% Fence Plan. 90% of her farmstead, 30 acres has been left as fallow for use by wildlife and livestock.
In an interview with Agnes after the 10% fence was completed, Agnes expressed a positive perception towards wildlife and conservation organizations in general. She said ‘’with an existing condition of high blood pressure, were it not for Tsavo Trust and the Kamungi Conservancy to come to my rescue, life would have been meaningless. But now I am very happy as the project has relocated me to my land where I will live peacefully without the previous family land issues, loss of crops and property, and my life will now be secure.’’
This Phase 2 project is financed by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme