The Maasai are among the most well-known and studied indigenous pastoral group in East Africa. As a result of the interactions with their social and ecological environments, the Maasai have developed ways of coping, adapting to and building resilience within a changing environment. The same has been the case with other non-Maasai indigenous peoples who live in various parts of the country. However, these communities' systems are severely overstretched as a result of adverse changes in climate.
Kenya is undertaking REDD+ readiness activities under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility housed at the World Bank along side other interventions being undertaken by other different quarters from various funding sources. Consultation and participation especially with forest based or forest dependent communities in the design and implementation of REDD programs is, therefore, crucial. The interventions undertaken so far have, however, not reflected the full participation of indigenous peoples in the drafting of the RPP and hence the need for awareness creation and capacity building of the indigenous peoples to be alert and take part in these processes.
MPIDO has played a big role in supporting the indigenous peoples in integrating their concerns in the newly approved Kenyan Constitution. Likewise, in presenting their views in the Njonjo Land Commission. It is the only indigenous peoples organization which was given an award on human rights advocacy by the National Human Rights Commission of Kenya. MPIDO organized the Africa Regional Summit on Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in March 2009, which brought together indigenous peoples from 43 countries in Africa. This Summit came up with the Nakuru Declaration which it brought before the Global Indigenous People's Summit on Climate Change held in Anchorage, Alaska in April 2009. Furthermore, in March 2009, the civil society formed the Kenya Working Group for Climate Change, with MPIDO as one of the selected members. The Working Group drafted the policy paper and submitted this to the members of the National Parliament. This then formed partt of the national policy paper on climate change. Another National Working Group on REDD was established and MPIDO was again invited to sit in this body.
MPIDO, in partnership with Tebtebba, is facilitating information sharing with the Loita community on REDD at the community level, while ensuring the Kenyan indigenous peoples' participation and engagement at the national and international levels on REDD processes. This is aimed at enhancing and upscaling their practices on conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks and to help in the efforts to include REDD in the post-2012 global climate change regime. Under awareness creation, the project has sought to increase knowledge and understanding of indigenous peoples on REDD and how it links to their traditional forest management practices and their rights to control, manage and own their forests. The project has also enabled indigenous peoples to engage with the climate change negotiations to at the international level, as well as undertaken a study on the Loita community to understand how the indigenous peoples have effectively and sustainable managed their forest.
Demonstration Project - The Loita Naimina Enkiyo Forest: Gateway to Understanding the Maasai's Sustainable Forest Management
The demonstration area is the Loita community in the Narok District, South of Kenya where the Loita Naimina Enkiyo Forest is situated. Loita Forest is located between the Mara and Serengeti plains and the forests of the western escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. It is one of the traditionally-managed forests by the Maasai indigenous communities whose well-conserved state is attributable to their strong and vibrant traditional practices.
Among the socio-cultural institutions that enhances the vitality of traditions on resource management is the Oloiboni who is highly regarded as the spiritual leader and adviser of the Council of Elders. He approves all ceremonies and rituals involving the community and the age sets or age groups in the community, the location of the emanyatta among other community rituals, among others.
On the importance of the Forest:
"The bat can fly but it still lays its eggs on the trees."
--Mokompo Ole Simel, Oloiboni, Loita Community
Also the Council of Elders serve as the decision makers on matters relating to everyday affairs of the community, such as forest management, among others. The Council of Elders served as key informants for an initial data gathering for the case study.
Relative to the capacity building objective of the project, the Local Research Training was conducted to prepare the local researchers to conduct the case study and learn skills that they can use. This capacity building activity is conducted with a long term view that indigenous peoples should be capacitated to undertake their own researches based on their priorities.
Partner's Profile: The Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development (MPIDO) serves as Tebtebba’s country partner for the implementation of the climate change capacity building project in Kenya, together with the Loita Development Foundation (LDF), the Council of Elders, the Oloiboni and the members of the Loita community at the local level.MPIDO is an organization working with the Maasai and other indigenous peoples, like the Ogiek, with a mission to promote, facilitate and create an enabling environment for securing human rights and social dvelopment among Kenya's Pastoralists communities. It has a Land Rights and Natural Resources Programme which is focused on how to secure the rights of Maasai Pastoralists to their lands and natural resources. (Contacts: P.O. Box 226 - 00206 Kiserian, Kenya, Tel: +254 20 3882944/50, +254 723 561012; Website: http://www.mpido.org/; Email:
 Commission of Inquiry into the Land Law System of Kenya