In the past seven years, Grassroots Development Initiatives Foundation-Kenya (GRADIF-K) has been partnering in the successful implementation of a Natural Resources Management (NRM) Project focusing on Agriculture as the key component. The key strategies applied in the implementation of this project are: Capacity Building for various project stake holders, Advocacy& Policy influencing, building of strategic partnerships, documentation and dissemination of success stories, use of demonstration sites, networking and linking up targeted farmers’ groups/organizations with key actors and various service providers. The project’s interventions have been focusing mainly on addressing the key challenges earlier identified in the mentioned sector including but not limited to:  Inadequate capacities among individual farmers, farmers groups and related organizations, Unsustainable land use systems, food insecurity, inadequate networking and collaboration among key actors in NRM & Agricultural sectors, depletion and over exploitation of natural resources base, lack of united citizenry voice,  inadequate stake holders’ participation in reforms, Influencing favorable policies  and decision making in the management and governance of natural resources particularly agriculture in Nyeri, Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties in Kenya. Then, following the commendable project performance, Act Change Transform (ACT!) organization awarded GRADIF-K a scale up grant to support the strengthening, consolidation and scale up of the activities already initiated in the previous two years. Further, ACT extended to GRADIF-K an additional for project scale up period and conclusion of Phase 1 activities. The project is funded by the Embassy of Sweden and UKaid with fund channeled through Act Change Transform (ACT!) organization’s Changieni Rasli Mali (CRM) Facility. Agriculture is promoted as the key NRM Component.

Project Goal:The NRM/Agriculture project goal is “Increased citizenry participation in governance and sustainable utilization of natural resources in Tharaka Nithi County. The project objectives:

  1. To promote accountability by county governments in natural resources management and enhance equitable and efficient environmental management regimes in the targeted
  2. To strengthen the capacity of farmers groups to influence agricultural policy frameworks development in the supported
  3. Promote the diversification of livelihoods for increased incomes at the household levels and enhance community based climate change interventions.
  4. Intensify Climate change mitigation interventions through supporting community based Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation initiatives in all the counties targeted.

The implementation of this project is strongly backed by and vested in the provisions in the new constitution-Constitution of Kenya, 2010 (COK 2010) and the implementation of the devolved government’s systems which places the citizens in the center of the development agenda. One of the key purposes of devolution is to enhance public participation and in decisions making in all matters affecting their lives. The project has continuously made efforts to use advocacy to achieve change in policy and practice. Various project’s activities are aimed at enhancing citizenry participation in the governance and management of the resources within their counties, building transparency and accountability in policy making and decision making in Agriculture and the general Natural Resource Management sector.

Project Collaborators & Partners:

In large parts of the Kenya’s Arid and Semi- For quicker realization of the project’s set objectives and contribution to the overall GRADIF-K NRM/Agriculture Goals, the project is partnering with various NRM/ Agriculture actors within and beyond the targeted Counties including: The National and County Governments’ relevant ministries: Ministry of Natural resources, Agriculture & tourism, Agriculture, Forestry department, Water Local and international, Development partners in the county, Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO), forestry departments, The Caritas, various Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations, USAID-Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project (KHCP), Tharaka Nithi County, Cereals Growers Association (CGA), Youth Enterprise groups, Framers groups & networks, Corporates, farm inputs and financial services providers like Agro-Farm inputs distributors, financial institutions e.g. Banks and farmers SACCOs among others. The mentioned partners/collaborators including ACT provide technical, materials and financial resources as well as the moral support to the project.

NRM Brief Introduction:

Arid lands and particularly in rural areas, a large fraction of the population depends directly upon natural resources for their livelihoods. However, their efforts to improve living conditions are often thwarted by degradation of these resources. This more often than not is taking place at an alarming rate as a result of a complex interplay of natural factors, climate variability, climate change and human-induced factors for instance unsustainable land use driven by geographic pressure and insecure land tenure system. In Kenya, the underlying causes of the human-induced depletion of a range of natural resources are numerous and lie at different levels, but essentially revolve around their increased demand for profit and subsistence from a growing population. Natural resources conservation and management by state administration has largely failed because local people’s necessary reliance on these resources for their livelihoods has often not effectively been taken into account.

Some of the key interventions undertaken by GRADIF-K in Natural Resource Management (NRM) & Agriculture include:

  • Mapping and inventorying the Natural Resource base in the targeted counties of Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Meru and Nyeri.
  • Conducted baseline survey on existing farmers. Organizations, cooperatives and their capacities gaps
  • Dissemination of the counties profiles to stakeholders including the CSOs networks, farmers’ cooperatives and county leadership.
  • Conducted the Organizational Capacity Needs Assessment (CAN) for all supported Framers groups/organizations and developed training curriculums for those groups.
  • Facilitated the formation and capacity development of 218 farmers groups which are further groups into 8 networks for effective service delivery.
  • Conducting trainings for  Natural Resources and Agriculture CSOs networks in each county on advocacy, NRM and climate literacy
  • Setting up agricultural demonstration sites in all  the 4 sub counties for community training centers
  • Conducting trainings for CSOs networks in each county on advocacy, NRM and climate Change mitigation &Adaptation
  • Working closely with County Governments in the targeted counties to influence policy, other supportive legislations and reforms in Agriculture, Natural Resources and in climate change interventions
  • Supporting communities to establish and management fruit tree nurseries to for improved nutrition, diversified incomes and environmental conservation.
  • Facilitated the formation and capacity development of the well-structured networks to effectively participate in County’s’ Natural Resource and Climate Change Adaptation initiatives.
  • Supporting vulnerable households with certified seeds of various food crops.
  • Facilitating the formation and capacity strengthening of farmers’ groups and networks.
  • Conducted baseline survey on existing farmers’ organizations cooperatives and their capacities gaps
  • Conducted trainings for farmers groups/cooperatives in each of the selected counties in natural resource management and agricultural policies advocacy
  • Capacity building for farmers groups on Gender and Value Chains and Agribusiness
  • Formation and strengthening farmers groups to strengthen their voice in Agricultural production, marketing and land rights & land use reforms.
  • Capacity building on Gender issues in Environmental Conservation, Value addition, Value Chains, linkages and marketing of products.
  • Conducted trainings for farmers groups/cooperatives in each of the selected counties in natural resource management and agricultural policies advocacy
  • Facilitated 62 farmers groups’ representatives and selected county leaders exchange visits and twinning programmes with other counties with model initiatives.
  • Facilitated farmers groups and selected county leaders exchange visits and twinning programmes with other counties with model initiatives.
  • Conducting expert Radio sessions with local FM stations on various NRM/Agricultural topics andnatural resource management, reforms and policies advocacy.
  • Trained communities on water harvesting, management and handling.
  • Mobilizing and training communities on Environmental Conservation, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.
  • Supporting the establishment of nature based enterprises including planting of Giant Bamboo to support community enterprises.