As stewards of their land, indigenous peoples in northern Kenya have governed natural resources sustainably for generations in ways that are compatible with their food systems, cultures and social organizations.
However, in recent years, landscapes historically used and managed by pastoralists in northern Kenya have come under unprecedented external pressures e.g. mega-infrastructure projects and large-scale investments, that are seriously affecting their unique rights as indigenous peoples and, by extension, their food and livelihood sovereignty. New pressures on land and resources, coupled with lasting marginalization rooted in colonial rule, have rendered pastoralism less resilient and highly susceptible to climate change related shocks.
In addition to the loss of land and natural resources, there has also been a loss of traditional livelihood practices and lifestyles, including inter-generational transfer of traditional knowledge, social organization, traditional institutions, cultural and spiritual practices – all of which contribute to perpetuating the structural inequalities that work to the disadvantage of pastoralist communities.
Addressing the above challenges requires dedicated efforts, multipronged approaches based on a combination of skillsets that is difficult to have within a single organization. These complexities also require team work and joint approaches for improved effectiveness. This was the reason behind the formation of PARAN as an Alliance so that members can design pathways to address challenges and build a voice around issues. The PARAN members aim to work together in a coordinated approach, learn and over time, generate a sustained flow of collective and individual actions, activities and lasting positive impact.
PARAN was initiated by five indigenous organisations: Kivulini Trust, Samburu Women Trust, Waso Trust land, Indigenous strategies and Institution for Development and Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation. Since the Alliance initiated a process of formulating this strategic plan, an additional 23 pastoralists organisations across the northern rangelands have registered interest in joining and working with PARAN. PARAN recognises that Alliances are innovatively designed and started, they don’t just happen – and intends to work on this aspect.
PARAN alliance current membership is composed of 5 CSOs that came together with the invitation of IMPACT to share the idea of establishing a social movement that will address the common overarching issues bedeviling the pastoral communities in northern Kenya. The founding members represent the geographic scope of Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit Counties. During the development of this strategic document other organizations were invited after PARAN mission team visited these counties to identify CSOs and grassroots organizations operating in these areas for collaboration, common strategies development on common issues and creating a platform for amplifying the voice, Capacity building and institutional strengthening with creating stock for skills set and expertise available and synergy building.