blank pixel spacer Kakamega integrated conservation project
Reducing Population Pressure on Forest Resources

Population density in Western Province where Kakamega Forest is located is high. The pressure on land in the province is reflected in high land prices, a small land purchase market and increasing sub-division of holdings. The average population density in the forest adjacent sub-locations is 600 people per km
2, with higher figures to the south and west of the forest and in areas adjoining Kakamega municipality. The average household size is in excess of 10, including 6 adults and four children.

The mean farm size of households living around Kakamega Forest is 1.9 ha, of which 1.5 ha is potentially cultivable land. Forest adjacent Sub-locations lie in high potential agro-ecological zone. Ninety-eight percent of forest adjacent households are using the forest to supply at least one essential household need. The most prevalent activities being grazing and fuel-wood collection. The pressure is therefore, very high not only for forest products but also for conversion of forest land to agriculture.

The 1993 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) reported that Western Province, where Kakamega Forest is located has traditionally had some of the poorest health indicators, e.g. higher fertility rates and higher incidence of HIV/AIDS. Fertility rate in Western Province is 6.35 and is above the national average (5.4). The percentage of women using contraceptive methods is also one of the lowest (25.1%) compared to Nairobi (45%) and Central Province (56%). Population growth rate in western Kenya is also very high at 2.5% coupled with a contraceptive prevalence well below the national average.

The integrated conservation project, in partnership with the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) and the existing government family planning program provide family planning services aimed at reducing fertility rates and slowing down population growth rates by:

  • Providing family planning information and services to assist the target communities make informed reproductive health choices, use contraceptives safely and effectively.


  • Using the community based distribution system to reach the communities with family planning services.


  • Expanding the range of contraceptive choices by introducing surgical contraception and Norplant insertions previously not available in the health centers serving the forest area communities.


  • Providing income-generating projects to the community based distributors (CBDs) as incentives to achieve their retention and commitment to the project since they provide voluntary family planning services to the community.


  • Providing information, education and communication materials on effective family planning methods and inter-linking family planning programs and conservation.
Through this program, the following family planning services have been put into place.

  • New long-term and permanent family planning methods have been introduced for the first time in the area, through an outreach partnership with the Kisumu-based Marie Stopes-Kenya.


  • An increase of over 100% in usage of all family planning methods has been realized. This was accelerated by distribution of family planning commodities through the community based distribution system.


  • A strong supervision system has been achieved including monthly family planning updates by KMET to the community based distribution agents.


  • Improved record keeping and reporting of monthly family planning activities by the community based distribution agents has been realized.
The community based distribution agents have been provided with economic incentives such as bee keeping and silk production as well as commercial cultivation of the medicinal plant, Mondia whytei. The incentives ensure their retention and commitment to the project.

 

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