The Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya, are on the verge of reaching a legal agreement that will have their ancestral lands returned to them. However, they urgently need financial help (around £5,000) in order to make these last steps possible. This is an extraordinary opportunity for them to regain their land and continue their sustainable livelihoods, an extraordinary opportunity for them to gain legal recognition so that they are no longer threatened with eviction. This cash is needed to support them in what we hope will be the final push to ensure their right to their land is legally recognised.
If you would like to make a donation, please visit JustGiving at: Help the Ogiek of Mt Elgon!
For generations, the knowledge and practices of the Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya, have underpinned their sustainable ways of living, and helped sustain the ecosystem on which they depend. When they have been forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands then their way of life and ecosystem has been severely threatened.
The Ogiek graze their cattle, sheep and goats on the high Chepkitale moorland of Mt Elgon and into the forests below that circle the mountain, forests where they also gather honey. Their clans, council of elders, byelaws, and indigenous knowledge ensure the continued well-being of the environment on which they depend.
In 2000 - without the free, prior and informed consent of the Ogiek - Mt Elgon County Council asked the Government to gazette Chepkitale as a National Game Reserve, and Kenya conservation regulations mean that the authorities now view it as illegal for the Ogiek to remain on their ancestral lands. Previous such evictions have led to the elephant population being decimated as poachers from outside and across the border have taken advantage of the Ogiek’s absence, they have also led to severe violence in areas where the Ogiek have been moved to by the government, areas where they have then come into conflict with the more numerous and powerful peoples who already live there.
In January 2011, the Ogiek requested urgent help from the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) to resist further evictions from their ancestral land; and, with support from the Southall Trust, FPP was able to respond. In March the Ogiek requested that IUCN and FPP hold one of their pilot Whakatane Assessments at Mt Elgon. In August FPP carried out consultations with the Ogiek, and the pilot Whakatane Assessment was held in November/ December 2011. And finally we are now at the point where the Ogiek are on the verge of regaining their rights to their ancestral lands at Chepkitale, Mt Elgon, but need support from us for this final push, including about £5,000 to cover legal and other costs. The Ogiek have raised about $10,000 from among themselves over the last 7 years to support this work, but now they need some solid support to cross the finishing line.