Document Type

Report

Journal/Book Title

Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program

Publication Date

12-2007

Publisher

University of California at Davis

Abstract

The rural population of Baringo District in the Rift Valley of north-central Kenya faces numerous challenges including widespread environmental degradation and poverty. The region has endured decades of failed development projects, proliferation of food aid, and has been studied extensively. We have recently undertaken a different approach focused on bottom-up participatory action research and outreach among the Il Chamus and Tugen ethnic communities. The objective is to explore new ways to empower local people via provision of information, novel experiences, and initial access to resources to allow them to envision an alternative future and implement their own activities to better-manage risks. Here we report on the first phase of this activity. Twelve potential entrepreneurs (six from each of the two ethnic groups) were carefully selected and sent on an extensive training and educational tour to Mwingi District in eastern Kenya. There they visited a variety of successful, community-led development projects. The tour helped convince the entrepreneurs of neglected opportunities in Baringo. They have since taken a lead in assisting their communities to form collective-action groups. The groups are now registered with the Kenya government and pursuing work plans aimed at improving their circumstances.