With a long history of exclusion from their traditional homes and increasing pressures on land tenure from politically connected outsiders, the Ogiek community is engaging in domestic and international legal action to protect their rights. The Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP), a key organisation in this process, suggested that Natural Justice could assist in supporting the Ogiek to establish their rights over their lands and resources. OPDP and Natural Justice agreed that one mechanism to help consolidate community sentiment around land and conservation and supplement the pending court cases could be a Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP).
On 2nd December, Natural Justice travelled to meet with over 50 elders and other representatives of the Ogiek community of the Mau Forest, near Nakuru, Kenya, to explain the principles of BCPs and ascertain if the community was interested in pursuing a BCP. At the meeting Natural Justice presented on the process of developing a BCP, focusing on the importance of engaging the broadest possible section of the community through all stages of the BCP development.
After this presentation community members asked questions about the practical steps needed to establish a BCP. They offered suggestions on how to ensure full participation. The attendees unanimously endorsed OPDP’s suggestion that a BCP process should be initiated.