The Tana Delta, located in Tana River and Lamu Counties, is rich in biodiversity, supporting diverse species of flora and fauna and a wide variety of habitats including riverine forest, grassland, woodland, bush land, lakes, mangroves, dunes,beaches, estuaries and coastal waters.
It is internationally important for the survival of not less than 22 species of birds, a home to uncounted plant and animal species including, endangered marine turtles, two endangered primates- Tana River Red Colobus and the Crested Mangbey monkey, Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and elephants. There are also varied fish species in the coastal waters and fresh water rivers and ponds which holds the breeding sites of valuable edible fish and shellfish.
The delta is the latest Ramsar site declared on October 12 2012 in Kenya.
Biodiversity of the delta is steadily deteriorating, because of large scale commercial and peasant farming, extractive industries, and poor fishing and pastoral practices. Some of the villages, for example Ozi and Kipini, have high poverty prevalence estimated at 76% compared with Kenya’s national average of about 50%. Illiteracy levels are very high impeding understanding and adoption of knowledge on biodiversity conservation and Natural Resource Management.
The project Enhancing Community Environmental Stewardship (ECES) is funded by the Dutch government through Ecosystem Alliance, a Consortium of Both Ends, IUCN Netherlands and Wetlands International to enhance sustainability of nature and livelihoods of the Delta communities. The project targets fishers, farmers, pastoralists and wild harvesters. Activities are organised under three pillars, thus:
Ecosystem & livelihoods, ELCI supports the community groups to establish sustainable bio-enterprises based on resources on their environments. Specifically, ELCI facilitates development of a demonstration sustainable bio-enterprise for the fishers. Key features of this enterprise include strengthening the roles of the participating group(s) in conservation of the resources, diversification of income sources, and building the communities’ management capacity of such a nature based enterprise with a view to giving them a competitive edge in product standards and market penetration. Long term plans will be to encourage replication of the business model in other contexts in the delta and elsewhere, with the effect of stable livelihoods and sustainable ecosystems. -ELCI is working on resource use and management plans for the four resource user groups-fishers, pastoralists, farmers and wild harvesters.
Greening the Economy, ELCI enhances the capacity of civil society organizations to be effective in natural resource management. Key features include developing skills in general green production methods specifically for the prawn fisheries sector, development of natural resource use plans and building capacity of the civil society organizations to implement the same in the course of their livelihood ventures. ELCI also builds capacity of the civil society organizations on general sustainable lands management as well as policy influencing to ensure large scale economic activities in the delta take into account their wellbeing.
ELCI has a long time experience in organic production and certification and is using these skills and knowledge in developing a bio-enterprise for the fisheries and wild harvesters.
Climate, ecosystems and people, ELCI supports community managed bio-enterprises aimed at strengthening sustainable resource use and enhancing livelihood security of the resource-dependent communities. The bio-enterprises also demonstrate application of renewable energy like solar, thereby contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The enterprise models promoted and demonstrated by the project are expected to elicit long term impact as neighbouring communities and entrepreneurs adopt the same approaches. The long term results of this are in the areas of enhanced livelihood security and increased stability of the delta ecosystem