American TV show ’60 Minutes’ features ILRI research in Masai Mara

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The work of ecologist Robin Reid, who spent 15 years conducting pastoral research at the Nairobi headquarters of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and is now Director for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, is featured in a current segment of the American television program ’60 Minutes’, which aired last Sunday, 3 October 2009. You can view the segment on the 60 Minutes website here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5362301n

This story of the great annual wildebeest migration, the last such spectacle of big mammals on the move, focuses on two things—the danger that destruction of Kenya’s Mau Forest presents to the Mara River, the artery that keeps the wildlife and livestock in the Masai Mara region alive, and the hope for sustaining both wildlife populations and the Maasai’s pastoral livelihoods presented by new public-private initiatives called wildlife conservancies.

Poverty reduction lies behind both the danger and the hope.

Kenyan governments have allowed poor farmers to inhabit the Mau Forest, high above the Mara Game Reserve, which provides the waters for the Mara River. These farmers fell the trees to grow crops and make a living. The current government has recently acted to evict these communities to protect this important watershed.

Downstream, meanwhile, Maasai livestock herders, who have provided stewardship for the wildlife populations they live amongst for centuries, are bearing the brunt of the declining water in the Mara River, which threatens both their livestock livelihoods and the populations of big mammals and other wildlife that have made the Mara Game Reserve famous worldwide. Robin Reid says that should the Mara River disappear entirely, some experts estimate some 400,000 animals would likely perish in the very first week.

The new wildlife conservancies being developed in the lands adjacent to the Reserve are also about poverty reduction. They are an ambitious attempt by the local Maasai and private conservation and tourist companies to serve the needs both of the local livestock herders and the many people wanting to conserve resources for the wildlife. The conservancies are paying the Maasai to leave some of their lands open for wildlife. They appear to be working well, with the full support of the local Maasai. Dickson ole Kaelo, who is leading the conservancy effort, was recently a partner in an ILRI research project called Reto-o-Reto, a Maasai term meaning ‘I help you, you help me’. Dickson was a science communicator in that 3-year project, which found ways to help both the human and wildlife populations of this region. In his new role as developer of conservancies, Dickson and his community have managed to bring nearly 300 square miles of Mara rangelands under management by the conservancies, which pay equal attention to people and animals.

The long-term participatory science behind this story is demonstrable proof that, difficult as they are to find and develop, ways to help both people and wildlife, both public and private goods, exist, if all stakeholders come together and if the political will and policy support are forthcoming.

In other, drier, rangelands of Kenya, now experiencing a great drought that is killing half the livestock herds of pastoralists, some experts are predicting an end to pastoral ways of life. Other experts are predicting the end of big game in Kenya. Both, ILRI’s research indicates, are tied to one another. It appears unlikely that either will be saved without the other.

Staying Maasai? Livelihoods, conservation and development in East Africa rangelands

Staying Maasai

As East Africa’s iconic tribe changes with the times to keep its pastoral heritage alive, will the herders also be able and willing to save the wildlife populations around them? (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

Every year, over a million people visit the national parks and game reserves in East Africa, generating up to nearly US$2 billion a year in revenue. The most famous of these parks are in the Maasai heartland straddling the Kenya-Tanzania border. This ‘Maasailand’ supports the most diverse concentrations of big mammals left on earth.

Often overlooked is the abundance of wildlife mixed with livestock and pastoral peoples on grasslands adjacent to the parks and reserves—and the ways these pastoral herders and their animal stock contribute to the balance of these wildlife-rich savanna ecosystems.

A new book, Staying Maasai? Livelihoods, Conservation and Development in East African Rangelands, looks at thirty years of research on East Africa’s iconic Maasai people. In it, a group of international researchers argue for big and deep changes in the region’s policies affecting Maasailand and its people.

Semi-nomadic herders have maintained a pastoral way of life, co-existing with the wildlife in this region, for several thousand years. But that balance appears to have reached its tipping point. A recent study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), for example, has shown dramatic declines of six species of wild ungulates (hoofed animals)—giraffes, hartebeest, impala, warthogs, topis and waterbuck—in Kenya’s famous Masai Mara Game Reserve, in just the last 15 years. The researchers found that these wildlife declines are linked to growing human populations crowding at the boundaries of the Reserve, which are transforming these former grasslands, the traditional ‘dispersal lands’ for wildlife, into urban settlements and crop and livestock farms, thus fragmenting the former wildlife habitats.

Staying Maasai? portrays the many ways Maasai are adapting to—and driving—rapid environmental, political and societal changes. Substantial components of the book are a product of a collaborative research program, ‘Assessing Trade-offs between Poverty Alleviation and Wildlife Conservation’, involving a multidisciplinary and international group of natural and social scientists and their Maasai collaborators, funded by the Belgian Government and coordinated by ILRI. The book’s authors encourage decision-makers to look to the Maasai peoples themselves for sustainable solutions to conserving both wildlife and pastoral lifestyles, noting that contrary to conventional wisdom, few Maasai families are yet benefiting much from wildlife tourism. A fresh look at land, pastoral and conservation policies is urgently needed to ensure the survival of this community and its wildlife-rich pastoral lands in Kenya and Tanzania.

Wildlife revenues reach few Maasai people
The findings in this volume counter national policy maxims in Kenya and Tanzania by demonstrating the generally disappointing performance of wildlife for local livelihoods. While delivering significant returns to a few landowning households living adjacent to top-end wildlife eco-tourist destinations, wildlife brings very limited returns to most Maasai households.
A case study included in this book on wildlife and Maasai living in the Kitengela region just outside Kenya’s capital of Nairobi shows that leasing and other ecosystem services payment schemes are promising ways to enhance local livelihoods. Much more work needs to be done, however, to fulfil the promise of these schemes to benefit most of the pastoral people living in wildlife areas. Allowing the schemes to merely hobble on will fail to stop the continuing declines of wildlife and continuing impoverishment of most Maasai.

The lasting value of pastoral livestock production
The research findings reported in this volume confirm the continued centrality of livestock to local livelihoods across Maasailand, making clear the lasting economic importance and resilience of pastoral livestock production. Katherine Homewood, professor of anthropology at University College London, who is a lead author and co-editor of the book, writes in the final chapter that livestock production should not be viewed ‘as some romanticized throwback to an earlier age, but as a robust and vital component of twenty-first century livelihoods in Maasai rangelands.’

Four policy lessons
With a wide range of livelihood strategies now being pursued in East Africa’s Maasailand, pastoral policy needs to take better account of the situation evolving on the ground.

(1) Support livestock production.
First and foremost, says Katherine Homewood, policy needs to take account of ‘the central nature and resilience of livestock production in the rangelands, and to embrace and foster pastoral production, supporting mobility, access to key resources, veterinary provision and marketing infrastructures.’ Homewood argues that ‘Rather than dismissing pastoral production as backward, unproductive and as failing to contribute to the national economy,’ Kenyan and Tanzanian national policies need to recognize the actual worth of this form of land use. She says these issues are insufficiently addressed in Kenya’s draft National Livestock Policy and that Tanzania’s current policies not only deny pastoralists some of their basic rights (by evicting pastoralists from some areas and denying others grazing land tenure), but in addition are counter-productive to Tanzania’s stated aims for achieving environmental and economic sustainability.

(2) Limit cultivation.
Second, governments need to be more realistic about the potential for, and impacts of, intensifying or extending crop cultivation across the rangelands to replace pastoralist livestock production. ‘It is unrealistic to envisage a major increase in food production from cultivation in arid and semi-arid rangelands,’ writes Homewood, ‘given the agro-ecological limitations both of water availability and of soil fertility.’

(3) Encourage non-farm employment.
Third, governments need to foster potential for non-farm employment in Maasailand through rural industries and better education. ‘The potential of pastoral systems will be realized only with better educational and rural diversification opportunities,’ says Homewood, ‘and acknowledgement of the importance of pastoral livestock production.’

(4) Distribute tourist revenues.
Finally, governments and conservation groups need to rethink their understanding of the contribution of wildlife conservation to rural livelihoods. Homewood concludes that ‘The structure of the tourist industry needs to change to allow landowners in Kenya to capture more than the 5% of revenues they are estimated to receive.’

For more information on the book Staying Maasai? and the complexity of ILRI’s work, click on the links below.

Table of Content PDF
Chapter One Introduction PDF
Chapter Four Kitengela PDF
Chapter Ten Wildlife PDF

To order a copy: Staying Maasai? Order form

More relevant information:
1.ILRI wildlife study press release

2.
Mara study press room
3.Mara report- MEDIA COVERAGE

For more information please contact:

Dr. Patti Kristjanson
Leader, Innovation Works Initiative
International Livestock Research Institute
Telephone: +254-20-422-3000
Email: P.Kristjanson@cgiar.org
Website: www.ilri.org/InnovationWorks

New study shows widespread and substantial declines in wildlife in Kenya’s Masai Mara

Monthly surveys over 15 years link surge in human settlements near Mara Reserve with large losses of wildlife that have made Kenya popular safari destination

Populations of major wild grazing animals that are the heart and soul of Kenya’s cherished and heavily visited Masai Mara National Reserve—including giraffes, hartebeest, impala, and warthogs—have “decreased substantially” in only 15 years as they compete for survival with a growing concentration of human settlements in the region, according to a new study published today in the May 2009 issue of the British Journal of Zoology.

The study, analysed by researchers at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and led and funded by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), is based on rigorous, monthly monitoring between 1989 and 2003 of seven “ungulate,” or hoofed, species in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which covers some 1500 square kilometers in southwestern Kenya. Scientists found that a total of six species—giraffes, hartebeest, impala, warthogs, topis and waterbuck—declined markedly and persistently throughout the reserve.

The study provides the most detailed evidence to date on declines in the ungulate populations in the Mara and how this phenomenon is linked to the rapid expansion of human populations near the boundaries of the reserve. For example, an analysis of the monthly sample counts indicates that the losses were as high as 95 percent for giraffes, 80 percent for warthogs, 76 percent for hartebeest, and 67 percent for impala. Researchers say the declines they documented are supported by previous studies that have found dramatic drops in the reserve of once abundant wildebeest, gazelles and zebras.

“The situation we documented paints a bleak picture and requires urgent and decisive action if we want to save this treasure from disaster,” said Joseph Ogutu, the lead author of the study and a statistical ecologist at ILRI. “Our study offers the best evidence to date that wildlife losses in the reserve are widespread and substantial, and that these trends are likely linked to the steady increase in human settlements on lands adjacent to the reserve.”

Researchers found the growing human population has diminished the wild animal population by usurping wildlife grazing territory for crop and livestock production to support their families. Some traditional farming cultures to the west and southwest of the Mara continue to hunt wildlife inside the Mara Reserve, which is illegal, for food and profit.

The Mara National Reserve is located in the northernmost section of the Mara–Serengeti ecosystem in East Africa. The reserve is bounded by Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to the south, Maasai pastoral ranches to the north and east, and crop farming to the west. The area is world-famous for its exceptional wildlife population and an annual migration of nearly two million wildebeest, zebra and other wildlife across the Serengeti and Mara plains.

Ogutu and his colleagues focused much of their attention on the rapid changes occurring in the large territories around the Mara Reserve known as the Mara ranchlands, which are home to the Maasai. Until recently, most Maasai were semi-nomadic herders—known for their warrior culture and colorful red toga-style dress—who co-existed easily with the wildlife in the region.

But over the last few decades, some Maasai have left their traditional mud-and-wattle homesteads, known as bomas, and gravitated to more permanent settlements—on the borders of the reserve. For example, Ogutu and his colleagues report that in just one of the ranchlands adjacent to the reserve—the Koyiaki ranch—the number of bomas has surged from 44 in 1950 to 368 in 2003, while the number of huts grew from 44 to 2735 in number. Their analysis found that the “abundance of all species but waterbuck and zebra decreased significantly as the number” of permanent settlements around the reserve increased.

“Wildlife are constantly moving between the reserve and surrounding ranchlands and they are increasingly competing for habitat with livestock and with large-scale crop cultivation around the human settlements,” Ogutu said. “In particular, our analysis found that more and more people in the ranchlands are allowing their livestock to graze in the reserve, an illegal activity the impoverished Maasai resort to when faced with prolonged drought and other problems,” he said.

In addition, the study warns that retaliatory killings of wildlife that break down fences, damage crops, degrade water supplies or threaten livestock and humans is “common and increasing” in the ranchlands. Ogutu said the various forces threatening wildlife in the ranchlands “could have grave consequences” for protecting wildlife in the reserve. That’s because, given the seasonal movements of the animals in and out of the reserve, on most days, most of the wildlife in the region regularly graze outside the protected reserve, in the ranchlands.

While not covered in their analysis, the researchers involved in the study are quick to point out that the Maasai’s transition to a more sedentary lifestyle has been driven partly by decades of policy neglect that left many Maasai with no choice but to abandon their more environmentally sustainable practice of grazing livestock over wide expanses of grasslands.

“The traditional livestock livelihoods of the Maasai, who rarely consume wild animals, actually helped maintain the abundance of grazing animals in East Africa, and where a pastoral approach to livestock grazing is still practiced, it continues to benefit wild populations,” said Robin Reid, a co-author of the paper who is now director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University in the United States. “There appears to be a ‘tipping point’ of human populations above which former co-existence between Maasai and wildlife begins to break down. In the villages on the border of the Mara, this point has been passed, but large areas of the Mara still have populations low enough that compatibility is still possible.”

Previous research by Reid and Ogutu has shown that moderate livestock grazing in the Mara Reserve could also benefit wildlife. For example, many species of grazing wildlife avoid the reserve when the grass is tall in the wet season to avoid hiding predators and coarse, un-nutritious grass. Instead, wildlife tend to graze near traditional pastoral settlements where grass is nutritious and short because it’s used to feed pastoralist herds, and predators are clearly visible.

Reid added, “These apparently contradictory findings are now being used by local Maasai communities to address the loss of wildlife. They see that wildlife are lost when settlements are too numerous, but that moderate numbers of settlements can benefit wildlife.”

Maasai landowners are working together with the tourism companies to establish conservancies where they carefully manage the number of settlements and the number of livestock to achieve this balance. They also have the incentive to do so because the local community receives a share of the profits from tourism on their land.

Dickson Kaelo, a Maasai leader, works with tour companies and local communities to design these conservancies. During a recent experience at the new Olare Orok Conservancy, he found that wildlife initially flooded into the area when people removed their livestock and settlements. But soon, the grass grew tall and many wildlife left for the shorter grass near settlements beyond the conservancy.

“We know from thousands of years of history that pastoral livestock-keeping can co-exist with East Africa’s renowned concentrations of big mammals. And we look to these pastoralists for solutions to the current conflicts,” said Carlos Seré, Director General of ILRI. “With their help and the significant tourism revenue that the Mara wildlife generates, it is possible to invest in evidence-based approaches that can protect this region’s iconic pastoral peoples, as well as its wildlife populations.”

Another such initiative already under way, the Wildlife Conservation Lease Programme, is being implemented in the Kitengela rangelands adjacent to Nairobi National Park. The programme uses cash payments to encourage pastoralist families living on leased lands not to fence, develop or sell their acreage. This lease programme, which is supported by The Wildlife Foundation, Friends of Nairobi National Park (through reimbursement of the costs of predators killing livestock), the Kenya Wildlife Service, and the United States Agency for International Development (through land-use mapping and livestock marketing), has been successful in keeping rangelands open for wildlife and livestock grazing, while also providing Maasai families with an important source of income. ILRI believes the scheme should be broadened urgently to include more families here and should be introduced in other pastoral ecosystems and rangelands.

“We have evidence that the sharp declines of East Africa’s wildlife populations in recent years can be slowed and ecosystem crashes prevented by bettering the livelihoods of the Maasai and other pastoralists who graze their livestock near the region’s protected game parks,” concluded Seré. “Our work demonstrates that scientists, policymakers, and local communities can work together to build the technical means and adaptive capacity needed to keep this region’s pastoral ecosystems, and the people who depend on them, more resilient, even in the face of big changes.

Safeguarding the open plains

Increasing urban populations are threatening pastoral lands and ways of life.

Safeguarding the open plains The Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem, wildlife-rich pastoral grasslands south of Nairobi, is under threat from rapid construction of fences, infrastructure, residential areas, and the growth of urban agriculture. Unchecked, this unplanned growth will destroy Nairobi National Park, the famous unfenced wildlife park 20 minutes drive from city centre that has always been connected to this ecosystem.

A program funded by the American Government through its development arm, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), seeks to secure open plains in Kaputiei, providing a dispersal area for big mammals within the Nairobi National Park, pathways for their seasonal migration to calving grounds outside the park, and open areas for both livestock and wildlife to graze.

Launching the project, American Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Michael Rannenberger, termed Nairobi National Park a “unique resource”, which needs to be conserved for the benefit of the entire country and the world.

“But it does not exist in isolation. If we can conserve it, it will benefit all of you – the economy will continue to grow through tourism and we will preserve the culture of the Maasai community”, he said.

He added that public-private partnerships are a key to conservation efforts and encouraged more private enterprises and businesses to join hands with local people and governments for environmental conservation.

For centuries, the indigenous communities, mainly of Maasai origin, living on the plains of Kenya’s Kajiado District, have reared livestock in expansive grasslands that are also home to big mammals and other wildlife. The Maasai have mastered the art of co-existing with the wild.

The Kaputiei Open Plains Program will help create value for the open plains and economic returns to the land owners through recreation, improved livestock production and tourism.

“We will consult all stakeholders, including women and the youth. The Kenyan Government, through its Ministry of Lands, will be a key player as they work on the land policy which gives a legal framework land issues”, said Kenyan Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Dr Wekesa.

The project aims to institute a natural resource management program to complement the existing short-term initiatives such as a land-leasing program that has helped keep land use here compatible with conservation. The project enables residents of Kaputiei to benefit more from managing their traditional grazing lands.

Speaking on behalf of the community, the former OlKejuado County Council Chairman, Julius ole Ntayia, said Athi-Kaputiei residents have produced a land-use “master plan” that needs to be implemented. He said while wildlife conservation was important, it was also important to help the local population improve their lives, especially through eco-tourism and better access to livestock markets.

Some of the expected outcomes are:

  • Improved institutional capacity for demand-driven land-use planning and enforcement for long-term social, economic and environmental benefits.
  • Site-specific natural resource management initiatives implemented outside protected areas that improve or maintain biodiversity and the condition of the existing natural resources.
  • New sustainable financing mechanisms focused on tourism and livestock development that enable residents of Kaputiei, particularly ethnic Kenyan pastoralists, to derive long-term benefits from managing their traditional grazing lands for the mutual benefit of livestock and wildlife, as opposed to sub-dividing, fencing and converting their lands to other uses for short-term gains; and
  • Pilot initiatives in support of the project area.
  • The project area becomes a conservation model for other wildlife-rich regions of Kenya and East Africa.

The Kitengela Project’s principal objective is to lay the necessary foundation to secure open rangelands and sustainable livelihoods in Kaputiei over the long-term. The two main targets of the project are securing 60,000 hectares of high-priority conservation land and generating US$500,000 in livestock value-chain improvements and $300,000 in tourism deals.

The project will be implemented by the African Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Further Information Contact:

Said Mohammed
Research Scientist, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Nairobi, KENYA
Email: m.said@cgiar.org
Telephone: +254 (20) 422 3260

Photo Essay: Kenya: Saving lands and livelihoods in Kitengela

State-of -the-art 'participatory mapping' helps stop the decline
of unique wildlife-rich pastoral lands.

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Pastoralists can take most of the credit for the survival of savannah wildlife herds in Kenya, since herding livestock is usually compatible with wildlife.

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But development today is threatening pastoral lands and ways of life, particularly near growing urban areas.
In Kitengela, south of Nairobi National Park, an unusual group of community, government, private and other organizations is pioneering an approach to help pastoralists and their lands, livestock and wildlife thrive. A foundation pays pastoral families not to fence, develop or sell their acreage. Strictly voluntary, the program now leases 8,500 acres from 117 families; another 118 community members, with more than 17,000 acres, are waiting to join. The program aims to lease and conserve 60,000 acres—enough to allow the seasonal migration of wildlife to and from Nairobi National Park.

OPEN ACCESS AN IMPERATIVE

If this program fails and more fences and buildings go up, the annual migration of wildebeest and other animals will be halted, provoking the crash of the Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem, which even in wildlife-rich East Africa stands out for its spectacular concentration of big mammals—remarkably right in the backyard of burgeoning Nairobi. The success of this lease program depends on spatial information about where fences have been put up that are blocking wildlife migrations and where the land remains unfenced, allowing herds of wildlife to move through a corridor of open land to their calving grounds beyond.

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STATE-OF-THE-ART MAPS

The maps needed for this project are being developed together by members of the Kitengela Ilparakuo Landowners Association (KILA) and scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The participatory mapping combines expert skills with local people’s spatial knowledge. This joint work is stimulating broad-based decision-making, innovation and social change in Kitengela, where access to, and use of, culturally sensitive spatial data is now in the hands of community which is generating the information. 

A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

The maps are helping members of KILA focus on specific areas where they can still make a difference by keeping land unfenced. Just as importantly, the maps are creating a level playing field for the local Maasai, who face an array of powerful groups wanting to develop their traditional lands, from government officials to land speculators, shopping mall operators, building contractors, stone quarry companies, politicians and ordinary people hungry for a bit of land. The community, through its county council, is in the process of developing land-use plans using some of the maps generated by the community. The land-use plans will legislate the use of land, protect important landscape such as swamps, riverine, water catchment areas, open wildlife corridors (through land lease schemes) and rehabilitate degraded areas such as quarries.

PROTECTING LANDS AND LIVELIHOODS

TS_060828_001_TN4This project has succeeded in saving lands as well as livelihoods. There is now more grazing land for livestock and wildlife, and once eroded and degraded land is recovering, since the grazing pressure has been reduced. The Maasai are working hard to conserve the Kitengela plains and are benefiting from the presence of their wild neighbours through ecotourism projects. On the socio-economic side, household incomes have risen, school enrollment is up and women have been empowered.

MAPS PROVIDE STRONG EVIDENCE

Whether the maps are in time to stop the Kitengela sprawl and the crash of a unique wildlife-rich ecosystem at Nairobi’s back door will soon be known. Fifteen years ago Kitengela had under a dozen inhabitants and three kiosks. Today, the town has swelled to 15,000 residents, and more are arriving by the day. As the numbers of people have increased, the numbers of migrating wildebeest have dropped from 30,000 to 8,000 in the last 20 years. Despite its successes, the novel leasing program must expand to reverse losses not only of wildlife, but also of livestock and the lands that support both. In addition, KILA and its partners will need the support of strong and judicious land-use planning. Scientific mapping is giving KILA the evidence they need to persuade land-use planners to help them protect their lands.

 

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ILRI wins two top awards

ILRI vaccine developers won an award for Outstanding Scientific Article. Another ILRI team conducting research on savannah ecosystems shared an award for their innovative collaboration with Maasai landowners in Kenya.

Scientific Recognition

Each year, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) recognizes the scientific contributions of the 15 agricultural research centres it supports through its Science Awards, presented at its Annual General Meeting (AGM), held each year in December.

At the CGIAR’s AGM held in Washington DC at the end of last year, scientists from ILRI and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) picked up the award for ‘Outstanding Scientific Article’ for their paper, published in the top scientific journal Science, ‘Genome Sequence of Theileria parva: a Bovine Pathogen that Transforms Lymphocytes’. The team, led by Malcolm Gardner of TIGR, received a cash prize of US$10,000, which is being donated to fund travel for staff and students to attend conferences in this area.

The paper’s second author, ILRI scientist Richard Bishop, said: “We are delighted to receive this award. Our multi-partner collaboration and recent discoveries illustrate that African science is forging ahead – we are collaborating with world-class players and producing world-class science right here in Africa, for Africa.”

ILRI wins 2 awards

Pictured above from left to right: ILRI’s Director of Research, John McDermott, and TIGR scientist (and former ILRI staff member) Vish Nene, with the Award for ‘Outstanding Scientific Paper’. Looking on is ILRI’s Director General Carlos Seré and Bruce Scott, ILRI Director, Partnership and Communications.

Download TIGR/ILRI Press Release

Innovative Collaboration with Civil Society

The CGIAR also recognizes the contributions of innovative collaborations between CGIAR-supported centres and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) through its ‘Innovation Marketplace Awards’. This year, 46 CSOs were invited to participate at the CGIAR Innovation Marketplace to showcase their collaborative work and share experiences.

ILRI’s collaboration with the Kitengela Ilparakuo Landowners Association (KILA) was one of four collaborations to win a Judges’ Award with a cash prize of US$30,000, to use for further collaborative work. ILRI has been collaborating with the Maasai of Kitengela Plains, located next to Nairobi National Park, in Kenya, since 2002. They have devised means to ensure that people, livestock and wildlife can live in harmony and have lobbied government to reduce fencing to allow the annual migration of wildlife though the Kitengela Plains, thus helping to prevent conflicts between wildlife and people and their livestock. Other collaborators of the program are Kenya Wildlife Service, Friends of Nairobi National Park, The Wildlife Foundation and Kajiado County Council.

The prize award was collected by ILRI’s CSO representative Ogeli Ole Makui and ILRI’s Mohammed Said. Makui said: “This award means so much to us. Our major challenge is to move forward and continue with the collaboration to help the community move forward. The Landowners Association will be using the prize money to fund further collaborative work.

ILRI wins 2 awards

Pictured above, from left to right: CGIAR Chair and Vice President of the World Bank Kathy Siena, the Program Officer of the Kitengela Land Lease Program, Ogeli Ole Makui and ILRI scientist Mohammed Said.

Download the award-winning poster

ILRI Awards

Dr Carlos Seré , ILRI’s Director General, said: “ILRI’s work is frequently recognized at the CGIAR’s annual awards. Each year the bar is raised and this year was no exception. Competition was tough with a very high standard of entries in all categories. We wish to extend our congratulations to the winners from our sister centres and are delighted that ILRI has won two of the top awards this year. This recognizes our commitment and contributions to both science and society.”

ILRI wins awards

Pictured above from left: ILRI Directors Carlos Seré and Bruce Scott and the President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz at the CGIAR exhibit booth at the AGM in December 2006 in Washington, DC.