SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF MAU FOREST DISPLACEMENT ON THE OGIEK COMMUNITY IN KENYA.
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University of Eldoret
There has been a global concern about reduction of land under forest cover in the world. In Kenya; this has resulted in forest eviction. Mau forest complex which is located in the central region of the rift valley of Kenya is the biggest water tower in eastern Africa. Much of the forest in this tower has been excised. This has led to stringent measures taken by government to conserve the forest including eviction. The study was conducted in part of Eastern Mau, covering Nandi and Uasin Gishu Counties. The purpose of this study was to assess the socio- economic impact of forest displacement among Ogiek community. The specific objectives was to assess the actual impacts of displacement on household livelihoods, to examine Environmental impacts of displacement on Mau forest, the challenges facing the displaced Ogieks in their new resettlement site and the strategies employed by the evictees to cope up with new environment, and to suggest the best practices in Mau forest management. This study adopted a descriptive survey method. The sampling frame for this study comprised of 15,000 (N= 15,000), key informants, drawn from Government Agencies, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations while respondents were drawn from household members of Ogiek. Multi-stage-cum-stratified random sampling technique was used in selecting respondents for this study. The instruments to be used for collection of data relevant to this study were questionnaires, interview schedules and focus group discussions. The study utilized descriptive statistics techniques for analysis. Quantitative data were analyzed by use of measures of central tendencies such as frequencies, means and percentages while qualitative data were summarized and interpreted in line with the research objectives and questions. Results of data analysis were presented in form of figures and tables. The study thus aimed at documenting Socio-Economic impacts of Mau forest eviction and forest conservation .The study was conducted between the month of September 2013 and May 2014. The Socio-economic impacts of displacement of Ogiek Community, majority of the respondents agreed that Mau forest displacement has affected the use of common property. The displacement has even gone to the extent of causing death to the affected. On environmental impacts majority of the respondents were of the opinion that the Mau displacement has brought about positive environmental impacts. For example majority of the respondents agreed that displacement has affected the Mau forest environment, other respondents had a positive opinion that the planting of conifers has positively affected the Mau forest environment. The study concluded that displaced persons are prone to a lot of social-economic problems. They have to struggle much for livelihood in the new place, he or she is always under stress and that because the social, cultural, economic and other values of the village life differs with that in their original place and undergo several changes which is quite strenuous. From the study it is noted that the Ogiek community suffers economically as they compete for resources and opportunities in their new areas, they are also socially challenged though it was revealed in the study that they struggle as much as possible to mingle with the host community so as to bridge the gap. The study recommended that the government should ensure that victims of forced evictions in the Mau Forest Complex and all other forest areas are provided with assistance in accordance with international human rights standards, including access to resettlement sites with effective access to basic services.