Capacity building in Kenya


General Information 

Project type:
Capacity building and environmental conservation

Tana river Delta, Tana River District, Kenya

Rice and vegetables

August 2011 to March 2015

Farmer and communities within the Tana Delta
Partner organizations: Nature Kenya
Tana Delta Conservation Organization and Kenya Wildlife Service

Department for International Development (DFID) through the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), under the Civil Societies Challenge Fund (CSCF).


About the project

The project aimed to reduce the poverty of 10,000 people within the Tana Delta by enhancing their livelihoods within a framework of locally controlled sustainable natural resource management and capacity building of local communities.

In addition, this project was designed to raise awareness of entitlements and rights to participate in decision-making processes that affect natural resource management in the Delta, and access and manage land and natural resources sustainably.

Over the past 20 years, ethnic tensions have risen in the Tana Delta due to competing interests and demands on various land uses, natural resources, nature conservation and community interests. Poverty and inequality remains high in Kenya – in Tana Delta sub county 73% of people still live below the poverty line. The Tana River Delta has potential to better meet the needs of its inhabitants and to contribute to the national economy through ecotourism. However, governance of natural resources and development is very poor across the Delta and a lack of strategic planning has hindered development for both objectives. Now investors are seeking to exploit the Delta’s land and water supplies to the detriment of the local people and natural resources.

Communities in the area (totaling 80,000 people) have adapted their lifestyle to seasonal extremes, either as cultivators on receding lake edges (the Pokomo) or as pastoralists (the Orma) who use the wetlands as dry-season grazing areas for their livestock; over 300,000 cattle, or fishermen (the Luo and Luhya).

The project, valued at $840,817 focused on three result areas:

  • Developing a land use plan for the Tana River Delta
  • Building the capacity of local communities to claim their rights in the use of the natural resources
  • Improving local communities’ income from new nature based sustainable activities and disseminating lessons learned at local national and global levels.


The main outcomes of the project were that all sectors of the Delta population are now aware of their rights regarding natural resources; they have enhanced capacity and an improved institutional framework in which to claim these rights, participated in advocacy programs to counter external threats, and improved governance and attracted appropriate development.

Agriculture and pastoralism in 478 farms (193,44 hectares) are now sustainably managed to generate enhanced livelihood benefits; communities’ income was increased by beekeeping, ecotourism, vegetable growing, fish farming, and establishment of cooperative societies. Milk production was increased and a rice-processing mill for farmers-ensured better prices.