Equity implications of natural resources conservation, management and use in the lowlands of Samburu County, Kenya: A landholders’ perspective

This research was motivated by a dearth of empirical evidence on equity in wildlife conservation initiatives. We therefore purposefully selected four conservancies in the lowlands of Samburu County to address this shortcoming. We used qualitative and quantitative approaches in data collection and analysis. We examined equity using a three-tiered equity framework (recognitional, procedural and distributional). We found the existence of inequities in access, decision-making and outcomes. We argue that the inequities are exacerbated by the failure to acknowledge the pre-existing societal structure and dynamics. Other factors include the historical marginalization of the region by the Kenyan national government over the years and the emergence of nepotism and elitism in the distribution of resources. Therefore, relevant stakeholders should re-evaluate their current strategies for the design and implementation of wildlife conservation initiatives and pay keen attention to context-specificity. Mechanisms for fostering transparency and accountability in the conservancies should also not be ignored.