Making the Linkages - Conservation as a Core asset for Livelihood Security in Eastern Africa

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Conservation as a Core asset for Livelihood Security in Eastern Africa

Livelihood security in Eastern Africa is inextricably linked with the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources. While there are efforts under way to mainstream the environment in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, there is still a great need for an improved understanding of the poverty-environment linkages and in facilitating community-policy linkages to catalyze changes.

This project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) aims to improve the understanding of the importance of sustainable natural resource management for livelihood security and economic growth. The project is focusing on three important poverty-environment linkages: HIV/AIDS & environment, dryland and marine natural resources & livelihood security. The project aims to achieve improved awareness and understanding of the linkages at the community level through community workshops and resulting community lessons learned brochures. These are complemented by more in-depth studies.

The major activities of the project are:

  1. Community workshops and community lessons learned brochures to improve the understanding and awareness on the linkages at the community level
  2. More in-depth studies on the linkages
  3. Community-policy dialogues and interactions to improve the understanding at the policy level
  4. Policy influencing at the IGAD level through studies and conferences of directors of conservation, health and economic planners to facilitate the dialogue between the different sectoral senior decision-makers.

The theory of change of the project is in essence that if

  • A strong case is made
  • Communities are supported to make that case, policy changes can be achieved now and in the future that will lead to sustainable development.

It is assumed that support for communities to engage in policy processes, from drafting of policy documents through to implementation and monitoring of policy impacts, is necessary for pro-poor development. It is further assumed that to change policy requires changing attitudes and practice in government and empowering champions, both within and out of government.

Figure 1: Theory of Change

Theory Of Change

Underlying this theory of change are a number of other testable assumptions, one of which is that rural communities have rich knowledge about their natural resources and about how to manage them effectively, and with appropriate support they can become important agents of change. It is further assumed that if policy and decision-makers are given the opportunity to witness poverty-environment linkages first hand and discuss this with communities then it will influence their behaviour and understanding to the extent that they will make better policy and planning decisions in future.

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    IDRC logo

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