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Teamwork and mapping transform Ogiek Community conservation practices


“The Ogiek Community is part of the ecosystem”



The Ogiek indigenous cultural community of Mt. Elgon, in Kenya, is focused on community-led conservation of their environment. The Ogieks co-exist with wild animals such as elephants, antelopes, buffaloes without destroying their already existing environment. Since the time of their ancestors, the Ogieks have been engaged in environmentally friendly practices which attest to the preserved state of their verdant forests and environment. 


Colonialists conquered Chepkitale, and the government is claiming that the land belongs to them. It is difficult for Ogieks to claim back their land. They want it known that the Ogieks are the custodians of their land and there is no way an external party can claim it and allege that they know best how to conserve it. 


Year after year, Ogieks learn new ways of conserving the environment guided by their elders. These conversations help cascade indigenous knowledge to the young generation. One aspect was missing: they were not involving all stakeholders in the meetings. Ogieks needed better relations with the national and county governments. 



The Chepkitale Indigenous People Development Project (CIPDP), works in Mt. Elgon region where the Ogiek community lives and has established working relationships with the community and the hunter-gatherers on land and resource rights. Through partnership with the Voice-funded Wealth of Our Lands Project (Boititap Korenyo), CIPDP supported the Ogiek Community in pursuing their land rights. 


From learning with other Voice grantee partners, Ogieks have grown as a community. We now work as a team to ensure that we achieve our objectives. We ensure involvement of all community members in decision-making. We engage other stakeholders: the government, non-government actors and agencies. This way, it is easy for us to come up with decisions and ways forward. The government now is able to hold meetings in the community and talk to the members freely. We now have a location as Chepkitale people, which is an achievement to us as we can go for posts like chiefs and sub-chiefs. 


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