Local communities have a critical role to play in combating illegal wildlife trade. The FLoD initiative excelled/demonstrated success in bringing out community voices in unique ways, and identifying ways of improving interventions to combat illegal wildlife trade at the community level.
Local communities have a critical role to play in combating illegal wildlife trade (IWT). In 2016, IIED , IUCN and partners launched the Local Communities: First Line of Defense against Illegal Wildlife Trade (FloD) initiative. The project partners worked in three pilot sites in Kenya to develop and test a participatory methodology to engage local communities in combatting illegal wildlife trade. The FLoD initiative takes an action research approach to testing, investigating, comparing and contrasting the assumptions, perceptions, and logic flows of IWT project designers and target communities.
In wrapping up this piloting phase, conservation partners, representatives from government and donor agencies met in Nairobi from 17th–18th January 2019 to share experiences from implementation of the FLoD initiative and discuss potential opportunities for collaboration and scale up.
The Nairobi meeting provided an opportunity for stakeholders to understand the FLoD methodology and get a detailed overview of the findings and lessons learnt from implementation in three sites in Kenya: the Olderkesi Conservancy adjacent to the Masai Mara National Reserve; Kilitome Conservancy adjacent to Amboseli National Park, and Olkiramatian & Shompole Group Ranches near Magadi.
Through a series of interactive sessions, representatives from the three pilot sites shared practical insights in the application of the FLoD methodology with colleagues and partners working in a wide range of other locations. “The FLoD theory of change allowed us to bring in influencers from the community especially youth and women. We therefore adjusted our programme to ensure inclusiveness in the entire process. We are now on track and have the entire community on board. This theory of change will continue within our programmes,” says Calvin Cottar, Owner – Cottars Safari Service
“Community engagement and participation is the most exciting part of using the FLoD tool. Using this tool we were able to get community views on the kind of incentives that influence their behaviour. This helped us in developing our five years strategy as an organisation – different from how we have done it in the past,” Says John Kamanga, Executive Director - Southern Rift Association of Landowners.
Ready for scale up:
The FLoD initiative excelled/demonstrated success in bringing out community voices in unique ways, and identifying ways of improving interventions to combat illegal wildlife trade at the community level.
According to Simon Kiarie, principal tourism officer at the East African Community (EAC), countries in the region will benefit from scale up of the FLoD approach. “The FLoD methodology fits very well with our strategic objectives to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade within the East Africa Community. I believe all the EAC members states will benefit from this methodology if it is rolled out to more communities especially in Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan where the settings are very similar to Kenya where the methodology was piloted.”
The FLoD approach was developed by IIED and IUCNwith the support of the UK Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the U.S. Department of Interior and USAID, and in partnership with Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, Big Life Foundation, Cottars’ Safari Service, and Southern Rift Association of Landowners.
The FLoD approach has demonstrated the potential to significantly enhance the outcomes of projects that engage communities in combatting illegal wildlife trade. One key priority going forward is to develop a training and capacity building programme so that FLoD methodology can be implemented at scale. Not only will this help to expand the use of FLoD in different geographies and contexts, it will also help to develop a FLoD “community of practice” helping to influence policy and practice in the region from a solid evidence base. “FLoD is looking for collaborators and partners for scale-up. We are excited for this journey that we have embarked on.” says Leo Niskanen, Technical Coordinator of the Conservation Areas and Species Programme of IUCN’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office.