The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is an award-winning catalyst and model for community conservation, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Green List of successful protected areas.
Lewa is the heart of wildlife conservation, sustainable development and responsible tourism in northern Kenya and our successful working model has provided the framework on which many conservation organizations in the region are based.
Why Would a Wildlife Conservancy Engage in Community Development? The greatest potential challenge for wildlife conservation is gaining the support of local people, who will not only share their land but will be motivated to offer their support.
In this area, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is known as a groundbreaking model. By directing the benefits of our success to helping our neighbours, Lewa has helped alleviate poverty, and created enthusiasm among communities for wildlife conservation.
Many people around Lewa live in extreme poverty – on less than $1 a day. It is the poor themselves who understand first-hand the causes, nature and extent of these conditions. Our values reflect this reality: empowerment & participation; transparency, openness, & accountability; and equality.
As the ever expanding human population comes into conflict with wildlife, Lewa has been at the forefront of helping communities in northern Kenya to initiate and promote community driven conservation programmes, which allow the people to view wildlife as an asset and not a liability.
The solution to living in harmony lies in the sustainable use of wildlife and its natural habitat. A growing number of communities around Lewa are adopting this principle and converting large areas of their land away from unviable livestock farming and now recognise that sustainable utilisation of their wildlife and conservation can improve livelihoods and alleviate poverty.
Lewa is strategically placed to support these communities due to its location, historical relationship, shared interests, technical expertise and experience in wildlife management and conservation.