|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 km2, 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:
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