Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in Kenya represent diverse ethnic groups that have inhabited the country’s territories for centuries. They have distinct cultural identities, traditional knowledge systems, and close relationships with their lands, territories, and natural resources. IPLC groups in Kenya include various indigenous communities such as Maasai, Samburu, Turkana, Pokot, Borana, Endorois, Sengwer, Waata, Yiaku, Njemps, Ogiek, Ilchamus and many others, as well as marginalized local communities residing in different regions of the country.
These IPLC groups face a range of challenges, including limited recognition of their land and resource rights, marginalization, discrimination, and socio-economic disparities. Rapid urbanization, resource exploitation, climate change, and development projects often pose threats to their traditional livelihoods, cultural heritage, and overall well-being. IPLC groups are often confronted with issues related to land grabbing, forced displacement, lack of access to basic services, and limited participation in decision-making processes that affect their communities.
In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the rights of IPLC groups in Kenya. The country has adopted several legal and policy frameworks to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples, including the 2010 Constitution, which recognizes the collective rights of indigenous communities and their right to ancestral lands.
The Sessional Paper Number 3 of 2022 acknowledges and guarantees land rights for indigenous peoples based on their unique cultural and spiritual values attached to their lands. These protections prevent displacement and include consultation and consent for development projects. The Kenyan government, through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), its 4th Report on the ICCPR, and its 6th periodic report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, affirms the existence of indigenous peoples in Kenya and their rights. They also recognize the need for a specific mechanism or framework to protect and promote indigenous rights. The NCCAP 2018-2022 acknowledges the importance of engaging indigenous communities in climate action and ensuring their participation and feedback in the climate change action plan.
Additionally, Kenya is a signatory to international instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) provides indigenous communities with rights to land, including access, sustainable use, and management of natural resources, to achieve a decent standard of living and cultural development. The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) has also recognized indigenous peoples’ right to their traditionally owned land and their right to development under the African Charter.
Furthermore, Article 2 (5) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, states that ratified treaties and conventions become part of the law of Kenya. Kenya’s ratification of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishes the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, making its decisions binding to the State parties.
Efforts are underway to strengthen the voices and representation of IPLC groups in decision-making processes at local, regional, and national levels. IPLC organizations and community leaders actively engage in advocacy, capacity-building initiatives, and community-driven development projects to assert their rights, preserve their cultures, and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Collaboration and partnerships with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders are critical in advancing the rights and well-being of IPLC groups in Kenya.
The IPLC groups in Kenya play a vital role in the country’s biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, and sustainable development. Their traditional knowledge and practices contribute to the preservation of natural resources, climate resilience, and cultural diversity. The objective of the IPLC is to foster sustainable utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge by creating supportive environments. This will ensure that the communities have access to and benefit from the sharing of their genetic resources. Recognizing and respecting the rights of IPLC groups is essential for achieving inclusive and equitable development that leaves no one behind in Kenya.
To network, empower, consolidate, voice, document and accelerate the traditional knowledge rights of indigenous people and local communities to attain fair value and innovation for their natural resources available in their regions through Lobbying, creating sustainable market and linkages.
Self-determined stewards, indigenous people and local communities with proper, sustainable, management systems, vibrant cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and natural resources for the common prosperity.
Create a society that upholds IPLCs’ rights, embraces their wisdom, and fosters inclusive partnerships, ensuring a flourishing present and a resilient legacy of social equity, environmental conservation, and shared prosperity for generations to come.
To Build a thriving sustainable IPLCs’ society in Kenya where their rights and traditional knowledge are recognized, respected preserved and protected.
1. To advocate for the resource rights, well-being, and sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in Kenya.
2. To empower Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in Kenya by upholding their rights, promoting sustainable development, and preserving their rich cultural heritage. Through advocacy, capacity-building, and partnerships.
3. To foster inclusive governance, environmental stewardship, and equitable opportunities for IPLCs, ensuring their voices are heard, their lands are protected, and their well-being is enhanced.
4. To empower IPLCs, preserve their cultural heritage, and promote inclusive decision-making processes through collaboration, advocacy, and capacity-building by achieving social justice, environmental stewardship, and equitable opportunities for IPLCs in Kenya.
2. IPLC centricity
4. Ethics and Integrity
5. Transparency and accountability
6. Rule of law
7. Flexibility and dynamic