- ENDOROIS WELFARE COUNCIL BACKGROUND
Endorois Welfare Council (EWC) is a registered community-based organization in Kenya under the Registrar of Societies, established in 1995. It was founded by senior members of the Endorois indigenous minority community living in the Lake Bogoria area, Marigat and Mogotio Sub-Counties of Baringo County, as well as in Nakuru and Laikipia Counties within the Rift Valley Region of Kenya. One of the reasons for establishing the organization was to seek restitution of Endorois Peoples land which was seized by the Government of Kenya in 1973 to create the present-day Lake Bogoria National Game Reserve. Subsequently, this led to loss of ancestral land and other natural resources, economic, cultural, religious, social status rights of the Endorois People.
The organization, with support from its partners including Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE), successfully launched and won a case against the Kenyan Government in February 2010 over the forceful eviction of the Endorois Community from around Lake Bogoria area. The EWC, therefore, seeks to empower this indigenous and minority Community to advocate for their social, economic and political rights with special attention to vulnerable groups such as women, youth and children within the communities.
EWC has been able to carry out training activities that are aimed at building the capacity of the Endorois Community members to advocate for their socio-economic rights. This initiative was part of the wider strategy that resulted in successful launching of the Endorois case at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). EWC has also successfully collaborated with other civil society organizations to initiate community development projects in the Lake Bogoria area of Baringo and Laikipia Counties
EWC has realised the importance and the need of organizational focus and strategic partnerships to be able to achieve its vision and mission. With help of Partners that included ABS Capacity Development Initiative, Natural Justice and GIZ amongst others, EWC developed its Bio-cultural Community Protocol (BCP), which was launched on 31 August 2019, in line with the provisions of Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
The governance structure (see Annex 2: organogram) was reviewed and reorganised in 2019 so as to conform with dynamics in the community’s operating internal and external environments. The Full Council
(FC), the supreme arm of the Endorois Community governance structure, draws its membership from the 17 administrative locations across the Community’s land. The FC exercises it mandates during the Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and/or Special General Meetings (SGMs). The FC members are elected by the people from the Sub-Locational level every 3 years. The outfit is an inclusive representation with 7 members in every administrative location – 1 female youth, 1 male youth, 1 woman, 1 man, 1 person living with disability, 1 professional and the Chief of the respective location who is an ex-officio. Below the FC is an advisory arm comprising of 3 senior elders who are not involved in the election or administrative functions of EWC. The next arm is the EWC Board of Management followed by the Secretariat. The Board of directors, with an equally inclusive membership, are elected every 3 years as well.
2. VISION, MISSION AND CORE VALUES
A safe, just and prosperous community in Kenya
Advocate, promote and facilitate social justice and sustainable development among the Endorois and other minority and/or marginalized communities.
EWC is founded on and consequently guided by the following values: –
- Integrity and Accountability: EWC aspires to be honest in all its dealings and be accountable for any resource and contribution from its stakeholders. Further, EWC will always ensure that any resource is used for the intended purpose (s).
- Justice and Equity: EWC is committed to justice and respect of gender parity.
- Fair Representation: EWC is to ensure that all the categories of the Endorois People are represented in any forum or activity it undertakes
- Respect for Human Rights: EWC is committed to the respect of basic human rights of each individual within it and the people it represents with all its diversity.
3. MANDATE AND SCOPE OF EWC WORK.
EWC draws its mandate from its stakeholders as a registered community-based organization in Kenya. EWC works towards:
- Advocacy for a safe and just Endorois community.
- Promotion and facilitation of sustainable development in the Endorois community.
- Building the capacity of the Endorois community.
- Networking and building alliances with other marginalized as well as Indigenous Peoples Local Communities (IPLCs) or minorities to facilitate desirable change towards social justice.
- Advocating for the indigenous women land and natural resource rights.
EWC engages in litigation in support of community issues but must not engage in any activity that contravenes the Constitution, any state law, is contrary to its organizational values, or directly affects the management of the community resources adversely.
EWC Strategic Plan (2017-2021), was expected to address the following issues in the five years of its life cycle: –
1: The implementation of the ACHPR Ruling.
The ACHPR ruling was a land mark case for EWC and the Endorois Community at large. EWC has been the pioneer of a case of this nature and level. EWC is the organisation best placed to oversee the implementation process of the said ruling because this is part of its core mandate. EWC is well placed to provide the community with the needed support for advocacy and leadership for the implementation of the ruling.
If EWC were not involved in the implementation process of the ruling, the community will lose trust in the process and might lose the momentum a whereas the government might take advantage on the community’s lack of leadership over the issue.
2: Advocacy for social justice, human rights protection and cultural diversity.
Advocacy for social justice is key if EWC were to achieve its mission. There are still lots of injustices the Endorois and other marginalized communities are experiencing in Kenya and other parts of the world. The focus on social justice, human rights and the larger good governance is, therefore, critical for growth and sustainable development of the communities like Endorois. EWC mandate also includes negotiating and signing contracts or agreements with third parties on behalf of the Endorois Community, for instance, Prior Informed Consent (PIC), Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) and, Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).
3: Women, land, socio-economic and political rights.
The Endorois women and those from the other marginalized communities are yet to fully secure their land rights. The socio-economic and political rights are also not enjoyed by many women from these indigenous communities. EWC will work with all the institutions, leaders and different segments of the community to ensure that women enjoy secure land rights and are recognized as key players in societal development processes, thus, granted socio-economic and political rights.
4: Climate change, resilience and natural resource governance
As the impact and effects of climate change intensify, indigenous communities like the Endorois stand to suffer more as their livelihood assets suffer the most. It is important to prepare the Endorois and other marginalized communities to increase efforts in building climate change resilient livelihoods and development. They also need to improve natural resource governance to boost their livelihood base sustainably. The Endorois Community, like other IPLCs need capacity development as regards technologies, innovations and management practices that are climate- and water-smart in order to overcome the climate change attendant challenges from now henceforth.
5: Community capacity building for sustainable development.
The EWC target group is subjected to structural poverty, marginalisation and powerlessness. EWC has got the mandate to advocate for sustainable community development through building up the community’s capacity to help them to embark on self-development. In spite of the work that is being done by other
organisations, there are still gaps in issues of poverty marginalization and community empowerment. EWC should build the capacity of the people to empower them for self-help and self-reliance sustainably.
6: Institutional capacity building
Institutional capacity building is a pressing issue for EWC. For effectiveness and efficiency, EWC must focus on improving the internal governance instruments, build capacity on resource mobilization and mentor young people for a more active role in the management of the organization. It is imperative to state that EWC should embark on an in-depth institutional capacity building if it were to achieve its mission. EWC would be able to undertake institutional capacity building with the support of its partners. This would have a significant impact in its programme effectiveness for the benefit of the target groups.
4. MAIN STRATEGIC AIMS AND STRATEGIES
The EWC’s main strategic aims for the period from 2017 to 2021 are to: –
- pursue the implementation of the ACHPR ruling as per the specified therein, in collaboration with the Government of Kenya.
- effectively advocate for social justice, protection of human rights, good governance and cultural diversity among marginalized communities.
- empower Endorois women on land, socio-economic and political rights for equity and sustainable development.
- enhance the capacity of Endorois Community on Climate change resilience and natural resources governance.
- facilitate and support capacity building initiatives targeting youths and other vulnerable groups for sustainable development among the Endorois People
- acquire the necessary institutional capacity to effectively and efficiently discharge its mandate
5.OUR PARTNERS, FUNDERS AND STAKEHOLDERS
These parties include American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Natural Justice (NJ), GIZ, ABS Capacity Development Initiative, CEMIRIDE, MRG, Witness, IWGIA, Voice, UNDP, UN Environment, Christensen Fund, Indigenous Information Network, Baringo County Government, National Government agencies (KWS, NEMA, NACOSTI, Universities, Research organisations, line ministries etc.), IPLCs e.g. Ogiek, Sengwer, Samburu Women, Maasai, Waata, Yiaku , Boni etc.