Northern Rangelands Trust

Resilient Community Conservancies

Northern Rangelands Trust - grassroots conservation aimed at enhancing people’s lives, building peace and conserving the natural environment.

The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) is a membership organisation owned and led by the 43 community conservancies it serves in Kenya (northern and coastal regions) and Uganda. NRT was established as a shared resource to help build and develop community conservancies, which are best positioned to enhance people’s lives, build peace and conserve the natural environment.


Kenya’s community conservancies are one of the most progressive conservation models and demonstrate how people and wildlife can coexist and ultimately thrive together.

‘The Story of Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT)’ is a series of short films funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and created in partnership with the Government of Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and the Northern Rangelands Trust. The films showcase the work and impact of NRT and local community members in northern Kenya. Getting community conservancy news into households and making conservancy stories part of dinner-table conversations is critical for educating people at various levels about how and why the conservancy approach works.

During World Environment Day in June 2021, the films were aired on KTN News, garnering an audience of 1.8 million viewers across the nation. ‘The Story of NRT’ showcases the success of the community conservancy model and how it brings peace to communities and wildlife. In 2019, the series was filmed in several community conservancies in northern Kenya for USAID and NRT, with National Geographic filmmaker Peter McBride serving as director. Before the film series premiere, a screening was held for community members in Kalama, Namunyak, Sere-Olipi, and Sera Conservancies whose stories feature in the films.

“I saw the NRT film about the community conservancies. I realised that people had a vision not only for conservation and wildlife but also how communities can participate and benefit. It’s about valuing that this heritage is important not only to us—but to future generations of our country,” - Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.

NRT’s CEO Tom Lalampaa noted, “it is widely acknowledged that for humans and wildlife to coexist and to continue to use our earth’s natural resources, we must protect 30% of the land, rivers and wetlands across the world within the next decade.” At the Northern Rangelands Trust, we recognize that to do this successfully, we need to work hand in hand with the communities we serve to develop solutions that benefit the people, land and wildlife. This is what the community conservancy model is all about.

Presently, NRT serves 43 community conservancies, conserving 6.2 million hectares of land and benefitting 465,170 people. Thanks to the support of our donor partners, in particular USAID, NRT can assist communities living in these unique landscapes in the protection of their land, wildlife, livestock, and culture for themselves and the next generation.”


TRANSFORMING LIVES: NRT serves its member conservancies. These are local institutions run for and by indigenous people to support the management of community-owned land for the benefit of improving livelihoods. As institutions, community conservancies not only give people a voice, but provide a platform for developing sustainable enterprise and livelihoods either directly or indirectly related to conservation.

BUILDING PEACE: Northern Kenya is a very different landscape now to the one it was ten years ago. Community conservancies are changing the narrative - a region once infamous for conflict and poaching is now at the forefront of community-led development, enterprise and peace efforts, all inextricably linked to the protection of its incredible wildlife and landscapes.

CONSERVING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: NRT member community conservancies work to conserve wildlife and sustainably manage the grassland, forest, river and marine ecosystems upon which livelihoods depend.


A community conservancy is a community-based organisation created to support the management of community-owned land for the benefit of livelihoods. They are legally registered entities, governed by a representative Board of Directors and run by a locally-staffed management team.

Conservancies work to improve governance and representation for their members by building on traditional, indigenous cultural structures, and empowering women and youth in particular to become agents of change. Good governance enables livelihoods and development projects to be owned, driven and maintained by indigenous people, as well as providing a solid point of contact for donors or investors.

Conservancies give indigenous communities a framework and the right incentives to protect the diverse wildlife they share the landscape with, manage rangelands and fisheries more sustainably, and improve regional peace and security. They also provide a vehicle for business development, helping to diversify and boost economies in some of Kenya's most marginalised areas.

Courtesy: Northern Rangelands Trust -


‘It all hinges on the herders’: world’s largest soil carbon removal project enlists Kenyan pastoralists - The Guardian, Nov 2022.

Celebrating Community-Led Conservation (video).

The Elephant Guardian: Reteti Elephant Sanctuary (video).

BeadWORKS: Empowering Women, Protecting Wildlife, Supporting Communities (video).

The Women of NRT (PDF).


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