Strengthening Local Communities Participation in Forest Governance Under a Devolved Government System in Kenya

Project Overview:

ILEG with the support from the Embassy of Finland in Nairobi is implementing a project entitled “Strengthening Local Communities Participation in Forest Governance under a Devolved Government System in Kenya”. This is a three (3) year project whose long-term goal is to promote sustainable forest management by enhancing participatory forest governance and improve community livelihoods in a devolved governance system in Kenya. It builds upon previous work undertaken by ILEG with the support of the Finnish Embassy.

 Specific objectives of the project are:-

 (a) To build the capacity of local communities to participate effectively in forest governance by strengthening community institutions (CFAs and CFA networks), help review their constitutive documents; and support their engagement in ongoing policy and law review processes

 (b) To support implementation of the Constitution (2010) at county level by fostering participatory forest governance; influencing the development of county legislation on forest management, benefit sharing, forest concessions;

 Proposed Project Activities

 Research and documentation

 Research will be undertaken to develop an analysis of the policies, laws, regulations, and institutional structures (both government and community) required for sustainable forest management that incorporate effective community participation in line with the Constitution and a devolved system of government. It will also generate information, educational communication (IEC) material that will be used in enhancing the capacity of communities in the project areas and beyond.

Outputs:-

  1. One research paper that clearly delineates the policy, legal and institutional requirements for successful participatory forest management in Kenya.
  2. Information, education and communication materials developed for advocacy, policy outreach, awareness and training in the two target counties.

 Advocacy and Policy Outreach

 Formulating appropriate policy and legal framework for sound decision-making and equitable sharing of benefits in the forest sector still remains a big challenge in Kenya. The Constitution envisages that parliament shall enact a Community Land Act and develop regulations on controlled transactions within five years. In addition, the many sectoral laws existing in Kenya need to be updated and harmonized with each other and the Constitution. ILEG will draw from its research findings, consultations and experience from this and previous work to advocate for appropriate laws and policy frameworks. It will also reach out to government departments to provide technical support and inputs into the formulation of such laws and policies. To this end, ILEG will organize a series of county policy dialogue sessions. These will bring together relevant county level officials responsible for natural resources management on a regular basis to review their activities and emerging policies, laws and issues. The discussions would be organized around specific themes such as land tenure, land ownership, natural resources management, REDD , sustainable forest utilization, etc and would be based on research analyses done by ILEG and shared as briefing notes.

Outputs:-

  1. 2 county dialogue sessions (one in Kwale & Kericho respectively) on policy, laws, regulations and institutional frameworks required for enhancing community participation in forest governance at county level with county government (governor, county government committees/ assembly officers)
  2. 2 county dialogue sessions (one in Kwale & Kericho respectively)with national government (institutions) officers at county level on enhancing community participation in forest governance

 Capacity building, education and training

Despite Kenyans voting overwhelmingly for a new Constitution in 2010, there is considerable knowledge gap on its provisions. The Constitution provides a comprehensive set of social and economic rights and a basis for robust participation of citizens in decision-making processes and overall governance. Environmental matters arising from land and forests related transactions directly affect the livelihoods and socio-economic rights of citizens throughout the country. The project will involve local community education, training workshops and dialogue sessions in the two counties of Kwale and Kericho. The education and training workshops will also be used to gather data and views some of the pertinent issues around forest governance, concessions, benefit sharing and monitoring in the forest sector.

 Outputs :-

  1. 4 community sessions (2 each in Kwale & Kericho respectively) on the policy and legal provisions for community participation in forest governance; strengthening CFAs and how to effectively participate in the development of policies, laws and regulations on forests and natural resources at county level
  2. The development(strengthening) of a county CFA network in Kwale and Kericho
  3. Community (CFA) participation at policy and law review sessions at County and National level