Kenya’s Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) grew out of the dedication and perseverance of Ian Craig, who, along with his brother Will, converted their ranch at Lewa Downs into the Lewa Conservancy in the 1990s. NRT’s mission is simply stated: To develop resilient community conservancies that transform lives, secure peace, and conserve natural resources. Today, the communities of this part of northern Kenya have placed almost 10,000 square miles of their territories under the management of the NRT.
While many “mission statements” for conservation organizations in Africa include references to transforming lives and communities and conservation of natural resources, the words “secure peace” stand out in the NRT statement. The tribal communities of northern Kenya have traditionally been enemies, especially when it comes to cattle. And when drought strikes, as it has now, tensions can rise to the point that, in the past, have led to armed conflicts.
The success of the NRT’s efforts at securing peace are on display in their newsletter. In August, Samburu herders lost track of 13 head of cattle. These cattle are worth approximately $4,440 – an impressive amount in a country where the average agricultural wage is just $2 a day! Let me remove the suspense – the cattle were found and returned to the Samburu herders. But the fascinating part of this story lies within the details – those who found and retuned the missing cattle were members of the Borana tribe, who have often been the Samburu’s enemies. This was a groundbreaking event in the NRT’s effort to secure peace. And there’s much more to the story. Please take a look at the NRT newsletter to discover what happened next: Northern Rangelands Trust newsletter