As a result of an intense community process of mapping and dialogue, the Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya, have written down their customary bylaws for the first time, in order to ensure the continued conservation of their ancestral lands and natural resources.
As one Ogiek community member explains:
“We have never conserved. It is the way we live that conserves. These customary bylaws we have had forever, but we have not written them down until now.”
“About 300 families from the Ogiek community who inhabit the Mau Forest, and 28 families from the Sengwer people in Embobut Forest had seen their homes demolished or burnt down, and their farms destroyed by forest guards, they said.“Reuters, 23 July 2020
“By 2017, communities were already acknowledged as owner-conservators in over 448 million hectares of forests. Many Community Forests are even now designated as Forest Parks and Reserves of national importance, and scientific studies testify to their success.”Science Africa, 24 July 2020
“This is one of the evictions that have really hit us differently because it’s an eviction during COVID times. It’s evictions when children are not in school and from nowhere they are just being rendered homeless and it’s during the coldest season of the year up in the mountains.”Voice of America, 23 July 2020
“The indigenous communities should be recognized as primary protectors of forests and other natural resources. Forceful evictions should be avoided because of legal and public health considerations.”News Ghana, 23 July 2020