Linking poverty alleviation and sustainable coastal ecosystems in Kenya

On the 3rd and 4th February, 2015, SPACES ran a two day workshop in Kenya to improve understanding of poverty alleviation and coastal ecosystems in both urban and rural areas in the coastal region, for both local participants, and the SPACES team. The workshop took place at Leopard Beach hotel, Diani, and attracted 22 participants from a wide range of organizations including government, community-based organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

Participants at the meeting in Diani

Participants at the meeting in Diani

 

The workshop used tools and methods that facilitated system thinking – thinking about how different parts of the coastal systems are connected, and how change happens over time. The tools also ensured close interactions among the participants and facilitated sharing of knowledge and experience. The two major tools and processes that were used included:

Discussing drivers within the coastal system

Discussing drivers within the coastal system

 

1. System diagrams – aimed at showing relationships between various parts of the system. Some of the key points that emerged from the system diagram were:

• Importance and influence of politics and the will of political actors to both produce and to enforce policy.
• Centrality of networks for community organizations
• Different concepts were prioritized by participants based in communities and people working in government.

 

An example of the systems maps the participants developed

An example of the systems maps the participants developed

 

2. Scenarios – these are aimed to help people to think about change and how policies or events now might lead to different futures. The key points that emerged were:

• The importance and impact of insecurity on poverty and ecosystems at the coast
• The importance of governance for poverty and ecosystems at the coast
• Community acceptance of education and outside ideas can facilitate conservation as well as development, but can also create risks of exploitation.

 

The outputs from this workshop will be analyzed by the team and combined with the results of SPACES research to prepare system models and revised scenarios. These models will then be presented and tested at the next participatory workshop, scheduled for mid-2015.