Alexander Omondi Imbo works in the field of wildlife and environmental conservation and management in Kenya and is currently pursuing his PhD studies at IHE- Delft. His research interests are on biodiversity and environmental management, community livelihoods and development, and climate change resilience building. His PhD reserach aims at understanding the conditions for effective community-based conservation. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Kenyatta University in Nairobi- Kenya, and a Master of Science degree in Sustainability, Development and Peace from United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo- Japan. His Masters thesis focused on land grievances in Kenya and explored alternative land reform processes for sustainable solutions.
This research aims to further our understanding of the conditions for effective community based conservation. Community based conservation models provide mechanisms for local people to participate in the collective management of natural resources which they depend on for their livelihoods, for sustainability. At the same time however, there are concerns that such schemes continue to underperform in terms of their conservation and development objectives due to ineffectual participation by local communities. The establishment of conservancies, which refers to lands set aside by local communities for wildlife conservation mainly for revenue generation through tourism, has gained traction as an important rural development measure in the wildlife rich rangelands of east and southern Africa. Whereas the conservancies contribute income from tourism to participating households, they restrict access to natural resources which are important for local people’s livelihoods thereby creating considerable trade-offs. Local resource users are therefore confronted with resource use decisions which have far reaching implications for the viability of the conservancies. Through a qualitative case study of the conservancies’ model of Maasai Mara in Kenya, this research will examine the factors and conditions which influence individuals’ decisions for resource access and use in the conservancies and their implications. These factors and conditions provide incentives and disincentives which underpin local people’s responses and their interactions with the natural resources. The study will apply both institutional models [Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development Framework] and social-psychological predictors [Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour] to understand the motivations behind specific conservation behaviours. This knowledge is important for improvement of strategies for community based conservation.