Credit: The Alliance/Esther Nzuki

AICCRA and Lewa: Forging a Path towards Sustainable Agriculture and Community Resilience

The Northern rangelands of Kenya are home to some of the most scenic and prestigious wildlife conservancies in the country, including the Lewa Conservancy, a UNESCO heritage site. Underneath, however, is a simmering threat of climate change that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and the entire ecosystem. A partnership between AICCRA and Lewa is enabling valuable knowledge exchange on building resilience and sustainable development, fostering mutual learning, and enhancing our respective outcomes.

Lewa’s story is one of resilience, determination, and reality. Struggling in a changing climate without losing hope is a clichéd reality. “Should we now rethink what farmers have learned in dryland ecosystems?” This is the question we asked ourselves repeatedly during initial discussions on this partnership. This question is still on the minds of many – the transition from research, to development, to practical, participatory, and locally driven adaptation.

The Lewa Conservancy generally favors a holistic approach to livelihoods – people, animals, health and the planet. Such is the impactful collaboration we have forged through Lewa Conservancy. This partnership is dedicated to building community resilience by enhancing widespread access to enhanced climate smart agriculture (CSA) technologies. 

Run by Kenyans for Kenyans, Lewa Conservancy serves as a secure habitat for Africa's most endangered species through locally led wildlife protection and community development programs. Under their Community Development Programme, Lewa actively engages with over 60,000 people annually, addressing fundamental needs such as basic health, education, and livelihood needs. Over the past decade, Lewa Conservancy has supported thousands of farmers through various projects and programs. These initiatives have effectively increased agricultural outputs, improving food security and higher household incomes.

Based on the synergistic efforts and aligned goals of Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) and Lewa, we partnered to enable valuable knowledge exchange on building resilience and sustainable development, fostering mutual learning, and enhancing our respective outcomes. Additionally, leveraging the extensive networks and partnerships within the agricultural and conservation sectors strengthens our collective impact.

One such initiative highlighting our collaborative efforts is the Farmer Field Day, which took place at Munanda Primary School. This event brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including input suppliers, producers, processors, and researchers forming a collaborative network dedicated to advancing sustainable farming practices. Munanda was the ideal venue as it embodies a commitment to education, innovation, and community engagement. In addition, AICCRA has established a demonstration site for climate-smart technologies such as improved forage types, and efficient water use through drip irrigation.

Authors: Esther Nzuki, Ivy Kinyua, Boaz Waswa, Alex Nderi

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AICCRA-CIAT-Lewa Partnership: Empowering Farmers with Climate-Resilient Farming Practices

James Muthaura, Agricultural Extension Officer for Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, addressing the farmers. Photo @The Alliance/Esther Nzuki


On January 24, 2024,  Lewa Conservancy, in collaboration with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, hosted an impactful farmer field day at Munanda Primary in Meru County.

The event, conducted under the umbrella of ‘Accelerating the Impact of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA)-CIAT’ project, attracted around 500 farmers and 35 exhibitors. These organisations included financial institutions and various agricultural stakeholders, such as processors, agricultural machine suppliers, and integrated pest management experts.

Following the event, Project Coordinator Ivy Kinyua emphasised, “AICCRA prioritises knowledge dissemination, and this event served as a platform for various agriculture stakeholders to converge, share, and learn essential insights around farming. AICCRA remains committed to fostering partnerships and creating avenues for information exchange and learning that will empower farmers.”

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