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Solving water conflicts on the foot of the Kilimanjaro, Kenya

From 2005 till 2010, Wetlands International worked with our partner the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in Kenya with the communities in the Kimana wetlands to improve water use. We helped to organise that the water needs of all, including three Masaai tribes, farmers and widlife for the National Parks, are balanced.

Action Description:

About the Kimana wetlands

The Kimana wetlands are found in one of the driest districts in Kenya. The pressure that has been imposed on them by small-scale farmers farming in the wetlands and abstracting water for irrigation, and pastoralists in search of water and pasture due to the prolonged and persistent drought has caused further degradation. This prolonged drought is attributed to climate change, and though most agree this situation is going to get worse, yet there are few reliable forecasts of the likely extent of climate change impact on these wetlands in the future.


The Kimana Wetland System in Southern Kenya is critical to three large Maasai pastoralist communities. The area is crucial for the survival of their cattle, but more and more ground is being taken by migrating farmers for their crops. The area is also an important wildlife corridor especially for elephants linking two world-famous national parks.

Water is the only single critical resource dictating both the ecological and economic functions around the landscape. The water is mainly coming from the Kilimanjaro on the Tanzanian site of the border. Rainfall is low. Read more about the Kimana wetlands.


Unplanned water use, conversion of the wetland system to cultivation is leading to soil salinisation and fertility loss, increasing conflict between farming, livestock and wildlife, and threatens to result in a lose-lose-lose situation. Read more on the degradation of Kimana wetlands.

Our work in Kenya

Wetlands International and partner organization African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) work on the ground with the local communities in the Kimana wetlands to improve water use. 

Furthermore, we pushed the National Wetland Policy. AWF in collaboration with Kenya Wetlands Forum have been directing its efforts towards sound legislation and policy for sustainable wetlands management, community and other stakeholder involvement and participation. Read more on our policy work in Kenya.

Video: Solving Conflicts over Water Scarcity in Kenya



Action Partners:



Government partners: Department of Livestock, Department of Agriculture, Kenya Forests Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Ministry of Water, The Water Resources Management Authority, The Water Resource Users Associations, The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Local Administration, including the Chiefs, District and Divisional Officers, District Commissioners

NGO and CBO partners: World Vision, The Noomayianat Community-based Organization, The Kimana Wetlands Association


Local implementing partner

We have been supporting the Asian Wildlife Foundation since 2005 in the Kimana Wetlands work.