The 33 community conservancies in the NRT family cover 44,000 square kilometres of northern Kenya. These conservancies form a patchwork of protected areas that incorporate ocean, mountain, desert, forest and grassland habitats. Each habitat supports a breathtaking range of biodiversity - from the most iconic African mammals like rhino, elephant and lion to the lesser known birds, reptiles and marine life.
The last 30 years have seen significant declines in wildlife across Kenya due to habitat loss, illegal poaching and competition with livestock. The ivory trade continues to threaten the future of elephants all over Africa, but this is where the conservancies have had great success. Between 2012 and 2015 – there was a 53% decline in the proportion of illegally killed elephants in community conservancies.
Slowly but surely, attitudes toward wildlife are changing. Well-established conservancies lead by example to new and emerging ones, proving that wildlife conservation can bring substantial and sustainable income. Increasingly, communities have a sense of pride in their wildlife, as the ripple effects of conservation extend to peace, education, health and family income.
BeadWORKS not only empowers women, but it is helping to diversify family income in rural areas – income that would otherwise come from livestock rearing, charcoal burning and other unsustainable means. Many of our artisans are former charcoal sellers – an industry that is devastating the last remaining forested areas of northern Kenya.