“A Baseline Study of Selected Socio-ecological Landscapes in the Horn of Africa Region” is a transboundary project commissioned to Frontieri by Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC&N). The HoA-REC&N is a regional organization with headquarters in Ethiopia and chapter offices in Kenya, south Sudan and Djibouti. HoA-REC&N is the lead center and network in the Horn of Africa with an objective of promoting natural resources preservation and environmental protection.

Below you find the details of the project and how we supported our client.

The project

The project “A Baseline Study of Selected Socio-ecological Landscapes in the Horn of Africa Region” is designed to achieve two major objectives. The first is to support countries with their commitments to reduce pressures on biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. The second is to promote research for informing better policy formulation and sustainable land management practices and support restoration of the quality of ecosystem services.

The project identified appropriate interventions in three major landscapes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea and South Sudan. The selected intervention landscapes are characterized as environmentally troubled though with high economic potential for social transformation and strategically important to improve regional environmental governance, enhance regional cooperation and promoting peace building in the region. The finding of Project is used for interventions in the following three landscapes.

Landscape Intervention 1: SouthwestRift Valley Socio-ecological Trans-boundary Landscape (SWSEL) that encompasses Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. In Ethiopia, this landscape covers  Gambella, Omo and Mago National Parks; in South Sudan–Badingilo and Boma National Parks and Loelle Proposed Game Reserve; while in Kenya the landscape covers Lake Turkana National Parks which is a group of three national parks located around Lake Turkana, UNECSO World Heritage site and Sibloi National Park and hotspots in the rift valley.

Landscape Intervention 2: Lake Abbe and Lake Assal-Dafo (LALA) Trans-boundary Landscape/ Seascape connects Ethiopia with Djibouti. It is an important freshwater ecosystem with high biodiversity which has regional and global importance.

Landscape Intervention 3: Kafta-Shiraro and Gash-Setit (KS-GS) Trans-boundary social ecological landscape which is situated in the far North of Ethiopia and connects Ethiopia with Eritrea. It was originally established as a wildlife reserve and upgraded to national park in 2007.

The specific Objectives of the project

In addition to the general objective of the study the following specific objectives were identified to be met:

  1. Understanding of the relevant regional landscape and environmental conditions
  2. Identifying opportunities of interventions in the areas  founding on the  following study points
  • Identifying opportunities in Landscape restoration ,resilience to bring sustainable environmental resource management
  • Identifying opportunities to supporting the livelihood of the communities living in the landscapes to convey community resilience
  • Identifying development opportunities to introduce efficient energy technology for securing needed energy provision to the community
  • Identifying opportunity of research and evidence based policy dialogue for future intervention
  1. Identifying opportunities for enhancing public private partnerships in the identified landscapes
  2. Generating information for identification of gender sensitive livelihood options

The study tools applied

The project is dominantly qualitative and the major tools applied to achieve the objective of the project were diverse. As a first step, the team mapped major national, regional and local stakeholders of the study except Eritrea in all the identified countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Djibouti). We have conducted stakeholder consultation in all the countries to generate relevant information for the study. Primary information was generated through key informant interview and consultative meeting with the community in each of the specific intervention areas. Moreover, key informant interview was conducted with major stakeholders.  We have applied gender sensitive platform throughout the information gathering.

After information and data are gathered, a validation workshop was held at Nairobi, Kenya [February 28-29/2020] for the technical information gathered from the field study to be validated. Pertinent stakeholders from all study countries were present at the validation workshop and additional input was gathered and the technical report was endorsed.

How we support Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC&N)

Based on the above objectives the following outputs were provided:

  1. We have generated four large Technical reports for the identified landscapes that suffice the above expected objectives. Because of its large coverage two technical reports were generated only for the first landscape (Southwest-Rift Valley Socio-ecological Trans-boundary Landscape).
  2. We have generated a standalone Gender report.

Based on the technical reports prepared, a five year specific action plan for the three landscapes and also for the gender sensitive interventions was prepared. The prepared action plan comprehend specific activities, specific time frame of intervention and also stakeholder responsibility. It will be used to achieve the main objective namely protecting the environment, preserving the natural resources while enhancing the livelihood of the community living in the project landscapes.

Key Learnings in leading the project

There were enormous achievements by conducting this transboundary project. Among the many, the following were the key lessons:

  1. A demanding and very comprehensive project was accomplished with expected output was generated with high quality with a very tight timeframe.
  2. A new and rewarding experience in conducting such intensive and transboundary study was gathered.
  3. With the output generated from the study, viable recommendation was forwarded to Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC&N) for informed intervention and decision making
  4. The study finding and action plan produced is an immediate output to be transformed into implementation
  5. Frontieri’s institutional capability of establishing strong team of local and international technical experts for diverse studies was also demonstrated.

Frontieri is proud to successfully complete a project of a multi-country ecosystem, which presents an important dimension in biodiversity conservation and protection. As we remain a trust worthy advisor to our clients, accomplishing such projects with highest standard of excellence did offer us with a new outreach of service, new way of delivering tasks  as well as and new geographical expansion.