KOEF Grantee Spotlight: Cherangany Multipurpose Development Programme

January 23, 2018

The Cherangany Multipurpose Development Programme (CHEMUDEP) in Nairobi, Kenya works for the land, culture, language, and natural resource rights of Indigenous Peoples through community empowerment, human rights advocacy, and general development. The organization was founded in 2003 by the Cherangany people and has been working to develop and implement its community protocol for  obtaining the Cherangany community's Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). The group is utilizing its established FPIC protocol to address shortfalls in the 2005 Forest Act, 2010 Kenya Constitution, and to work with the Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) on its current conservation project plans. Until recently, the KWTA has deliberately ignored the Cherangany people while developing its own plans for the resources contained in the Cherangany Ancestral Domain. This community, along with many others, have endured ongoing violence and forced evictions from their own territories by various entities.

A small grant from Keepers of the Earth Fund is enabling CHEMUDEP to continue its FPIC implementation activities through the Cherangany Indigenous Peoples Community Engagement & Negotiation Project. The project aims to stop the ongoing exclusion of Cherangany people by the KWTA activities and other conservation efforts like it. The Cherangany are asserting their rights, at the very least, to be involved in the management, development, use and utilization of their land and resources within their Ancestral Domain, but more preferably to be in control.

The KWTA developed its own plan without seeking the Cherangany people's participation. By enforcing its own plan, the KWTA is deliberately ignoring the Cherangany and circumventing the Cherangany’s right to deny the agency entrance or extraction of resources. By acceding to the Cherangany Indigenous Peoples’ FPIC Protocol, the KWTA could give voice and fulfill international Indigenous rights obligations. The Cherangany are demanding that KWTA initiate the mandatory FPIC process in the implementation and operation of its plans, programs, projects and activities in Cherangany Ancestral Domain and give due regard not only to the physical environment but the total environment, including the Cherangany identity, cultural dignity, and spiritual and cultural bonds.

For the Cherangany people, FPIC actualizes and strengthens the exercise of their rights to Ancestral Domains, social justice, human rights, self-determination, self-governance, and cultural integrity.