NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Leveraging Markets for Climate Friendly Sustainable Development, in Laikipia, Kenya [NDF C62 B6]

Photo: Heli Sinkko
Photo: Heli Sinkko
Photo: Heli Sinkko
The project has contributed to securing livelihoods for small-scale farmers and mitigating climate change in the semi-arid county of Laikipia

Leveraging Markets for Climate Friendly Sustainable Development, in Laikipia, Kenya
Ref: NDF C62 B6

Nordic Partner: NEPCon
Local Partners: Zeitz Foundation Kenya
Total Project Cost: EUR 802,965
NCF Financing: EUR 468,201
Agreement Signed: 25.2.2015
Project Classification: Combination
Duration: 34 Months

Project Objective

The objective of the project was to improve the livelihoods of marginalised communities living in an area highly vulnerable to climate change, and to sequester significant amounts of carbon as a contribution to stabilising global GHG emissions.


The project, located in the Laikipia County in Kenya, has improved the livelihoods for 4,000 small-scale farmers directly and for 24,000 people indirectly. Improved livelihoods have been achieved through the introduction and scaling up of resilient, environmentally and socially appropriate conservation agriculture (CA) practices at ten different locations throughout Laikipia. Scaling-up conservation agriculture and innovative rainwater harvesting technologies have been the principle vehicle for adapting to changing climate and changing weather patterns which have also generated mitigation benefits. The farmers have been supported in producing a marketable surplus. Three Produce Marketing Organisations (PMOs) were formed during the project for collective marketing of farm produce, and the project partners have studied various ways to connect the farmers to the international market. In addition to achieving mitigation impacts through the implementation of conservation agriculture, more significant carbon sequestration has been specifically achieved by restoring degraded, privately managed wild lands through the introduction of planned grazing. These gains, along with increased productivity and the basis for sustained access to profitable markets, have enhanced the socio-economic well-being of local communities.

The project has delivered the following main outputs:

  • (i) Introduction and scaling up of climate friendly conservation agriculture in 10 locations throughout Laikipia backed up by harvesting of 8.3 million litres of rainwater annually and introducing human wildlife conflict mitigation technologies
  • (ii) Reversal of land degradation through planned grazing on ca. 300,000 acres of privately owned rangelands
  • (iii) Local business development through reliable and profitable market access for farm produce

Relevance for Climate Change

The project has enabled people to adapt to the scarcity of water complicated by unpredictable patterns of rainfall and higher rate of abstraction of surface and sub-surface water by the growing population. Through the introduction of conservation agriculture, with focus on less water intensive crops and varieties, and scaling up of water efficient technologies have lowered the demand for irrigation and ensured that farming systems become more resilient. CA practices and the implementation of Rainwater Harvesting have enhanced food security and secured livelihoods. Ecological Restoration of degraded wild lands has resulted in conserving more soil and vegetation which is expected to result in the sequestration of some 1,893,920 tCO2e over a period of 20 years. Improved environmental management practises and planned grazing in particular will ensure also in the future that soil carbon, which prior to the project was being released as a result of severe rangeland degradation, overgrazing of pasture and soil erosion, is maintained in-situ. Further, unsustainable tree cutting for charcoal production - arising largely because it is the cash income generating activity available to thousands - will be reduced as alternative income sources through increased farm yields have become available.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

Farmers showed an overwhelming uptake of the RWH techniques and some farmer Community Based Organisations (CBO) have started to create water pans and test innovate approaches used such as the water cellar building based on the experiences from the project. Communities have also adopted new techniques to avoid wildlife conflicts both in practical ways and by postponing the harvest time to when animals are less likely to be a nuisance. Using participatory methodologies during stakeholder meetings brought up points of views that were not likely to be heard in a conventional meeting setup. Finally, the project adopted a smartphone based reporting using the free tier of ona.oi mobile data collection platform from the beginning allowing the project team to easily monitor data during the project period.

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