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Kenya is rapidly losing its biodiversity and a forest cover as a result of rapid population growth, tremendous land-use changes, poaching, climate change and low competitiveness of conservation as a land use choice, says Charles Oluchina, The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Country Program Manager for Kenya. This is despite the fact that wildlife-based tourism contributes to 12% of Kenya’s GDP, fisheries provide for major nutrition needs, 85% of rural Kenyans depend on wood fuel for energy and 70% of electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants.

With the national leadership of Oluchina, TNC is supporting a process of building a strong and progressive domestic constituency for conservation covering over 8 million acres of community and private lands in Kenya. While Kenya’s network of protected areas cover about 8% of the total land surface, close to 60% of the wildlife resides outside of official gazetted protected areas, TNC is advancing a theory of change that seeks to substantively empower local people to participate and benefit from conservation.