In Kenya, Africa Nomads Conservation is an organization whose mission is to “help the nomads and pastoralist community in Kenya as well as improve Kenya’s environment.”
One of their key goals is to become actively involved in mobilizing Kenya’s pastoralist community through outreach efforts, such as their annual Africa Food Week. Executive Director Santosian Noor explains that Food Week involves “visiting disadvantaged areas of Kenya, having some words of encouragement, sharing the little we have in terms of cloths, food, and drinks, and trying to have fun with the family members through various games and activities.” Through face-to-face interaction with struggling members of the community, Africa Nomads Conservation is building relationships with the nomads and farmers they represent. In the past, the residents of arid parts of Kenya “have been abandoned” by the rest of their nation, according to Mr. Noor.
In recent years, these nomads have experienced severe economic difficulties. Kenya, among other African governments, has encouraged large-scale sedentary farming in an attempt to address poverty and food insecurity. As a result nomads have lost the freedom and mobility that is integral to their lifestyle. The widespread belief among policy-makers is that nomads operate “outside the mainstream of national development, pursuing a way of life that is in crisis and decline.” Disregarded by their governments, nomadic herders are forced to voice their discontent through NGOs, such as Africa Nomads Conservation.
The long-term goals of the organization involve protecting the foundations of sustainability and food security in Kenya. Their efforts are aided through their partnership with the U.N. Environment Programme.
The push for economic development has threatened the lifestyle of traditional African nomads. In an effort to protect sustainable farming and herding, Africa Nomads Conservation has taken on the mission of mobilizing nomadic communities, and voicing their concerns in the nation of Kenya.