The Key Landscapes: Makueni in Kenya and Illela in Niger
The project is located in Makueni County, which is situated in the South Eastern part of Kenya. The county covers an area of roughly 8,000 square km2 and has an estimated population of about 1 Million – the majority of the population is reliant on rural and subsistence agriculture as the main economic activity. The key physical features in the county include the volcanic Chyullu hills, Mbooni hills, Kilungu hills, Iuani hills, Makongo forest, Makuli forest and Nzaui hill. The county is largely arid and semi-arid and prone to frequent droughts. The lower regions receive rainfall ranging from 250mm to 400mm while the high regions receive rainfall ranging from 800mm to 900mm.
Located in the north-Western part of the country, the district of Illela is one of Niger’s priority landscapes for sustainable land and water management. Its fragile ecosystem is characterised by of arid plateaus with resistant crusts and farmlands distributed across the badaguichiri valley. Illela is also commonly cited as a success story of regreening efforts using Farmer-Managed Natural Resources(FMNR) practices, which led to increased agricultural production, local incomes and household energy supply in the 1970s. However, there is still a need and scope for further improvements. With over 200,000 listed inhabitants, recent decrease in yield productivity and water availability coupled with increasing temperature, accelerated, coordinated and equitable FLR interventions are urgently needed.