The future of East Africa’s rangelands and the livelihoods of the stakeholders who depend on them, are uncertain. Due to changing climate and lifestyles and a rapidly growing population, these systems are facing increasing challenges. Greater support is therefore needed to build community capacity in Sustainable Rangeland Management.
WILL THE RANGELANDS SURVIVE?
Many questions are asked about the sustainability of these systems;
Can the trend of deteriorating land health, increase in bare land and failing water systems be reversed?
Are there opportunities for pastoralists to develop productive, vibrant and market- oriented livestock and other enterprises to expand their livelihood options?
Can all stakeholders work together effectively to build sustainable futures in the rangelands?
How relevant is biodiversity in the face of drought and poverty?
What are the best ways for livestock and wildlife to coexist?
HERDING THE FUTURE
The Mara Training Centre is committed to provide high-quality practical training that focuses on learning for effective real-life solutions to address these questions, centred on natural resource regeneration and community revitalisation, linked to improved decision-making and coupled with business development to create a prosperous and healthy future for rangelands in East Africa.
The Herding the Future Program offers a unique opportunity for participants to gain knowledge, skills and experience through a range of integrated training programs for individuals and groups across communities as well as development and conservation practitioners.
LAND AND WATER REGENERATION
A clear understanding of the basic ecosystem processes that determine land health and productivity (‘eco-literacy’) plus available tools for management (grazing, rest, fire etc) provide the fundamental knowledge that allows the reversal of land degradation and regeneration of plants, animal populations, water systems, communities and soil carbon, implemented effectively through holistic planned grazing and demonstrated on Enonkishu Conservancy.
CONNECTING TO MARKETS
The commercialisation of pastoralist livestock is well underway, which provides huge "work-in-progress" learning opportunities for how various communities are organising themselves, accessing markets and increasing their returns including collective grazing management, animal production, herd make-up, pricing and marketing. MTC offers access to real life examples.
Social, environmental and economic factors cannot be separated from each other: changes in one will also produce (often negative) changes in the others; hence management must focus on all outcomes, not just some. The Herding for Future program teaches practical frameworks for managing complexity.
MAKING EFFECTIVE CHANGE HAPPEN
Culture is the key to change; thus all training is based on principles of adult learning, in particular experiential and social learning processes that combine traditional knowledge with innovation to improve management of local complex situations.
EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY & STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT PROCESSES
Creating effective participation and governance structures that define the roles, responsibilities and relationships between the different stakeholders, including communities and external partners, using conservancy and non conservancy models in the Mara and elsewhere.
KEY AREAS OF TRAINING
Regenerative planned grazing Water systems regeneration
Land health monitoring
Effective community engagement
Building local ownership / drive
Multiple goals and choices Visioning, strategic &
Livestock husbandry Market access & returns
Herd production planning Financial management
THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
The Herding the Future program introduces new knowledge and innovations while building on indigenous knowledge of the local situation. It is primarily engaged in capacity-building (competence, confidence, commitment) through experiential learning techniques applied in a group setting, with follow up extension services over a longer time period. In the process communities learn how to analyze their situations, apply new knowledge, and make informed decisions about their livelihood practices and resource use strategies.
The learning process is facilitated through an experienced and knowledgeable training team who are directly involved with continuous materials development, in-the-field implementation, testing and validation of ‘approaches that work’ across East Africa material taught and guide the learning process.
MTC offers a unique learning environment where what is taught is also being implemented and tested in our partner entities Enonkishu Conservancy, a community-owned 6000-acre mixed livestock-wildlife conservancy.
These provide all trainees access and insight into real life case studies covering the whole range of community engagement; organization and governance; trading and breeding herd development and management; costs and returns; planned grazing management for increased forage and soil fertility; and sustainable wildlife based tourism.
WHAT TRAINING DO WE OFFER?
The 3 day bootcamp is aimed at community and other groups to engage, create awareness, obtain buy in and plan next steps. The 10 day bootcamp offers more in depth training for management teams and champions.
These are offered and comprise a team of trainers who offer regular support over a defined period of time to train as they mentor practitioners on the ground as they implement.
Short trainings together with facilitation of data collection on site.
CERTIFIED TRAINER AND PRACTITIONER PROGRAMS
The Mara Training Centre is the first learning hub in East Africa accredited by the Savory Institute.
Certified programs run between 6-12 months and involve a mixture of periodic weeklong learning intensives which trainees then apply to their work or community situations.
Grazing & Livestock Managers
Trainer of Trainers
1. Improved soil health and biodiversity of rangelands
2. Increased grazing and wildlife carrying capacities
3. Increased animal production and revenues
4. Significant increase in rainfall capture and retention
5. Reversing land degradation and desertification in rangeland environments
6. Breaking the cycle of food and water insecurity
7. Enhancing community relationships and future management
8. Resisting and positively affecting global climate change (increased soil carbon)
"We have been working with a community group in Kitenden and bringing the elders, youth and women to visit the Mara Training Centre has been transformational in getting the community to work together; this could make a big difference to the rangelands in our area.”
James Iseche, IFAW
"An excellent training facility and program, we will bring more of the community next time!"
Dalmas Tiampati, Kajiado
“It is crucial to properly manage livestock. Livestock is not the problem, it is how humans manage livestock that is the problem, or the solution. Well done to the Mara Training Centre for working on the solution”