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Matondoni Village


Conservation benefit: Permanent protection of 1,112 acres of mangroves

Community benefit: Office for Matondoni Beach Management Unit, support for environmental education, and development of beekeeping livelihood

Date Approved: 02.2021


This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Lamu Island lies in the Indian Ocean near Kenya’s border with Somalia. Founded in the 14th century, Lamu is the country’s oldest existing town and the best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island is known for its biodiversity. Extensive seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and coral reefs create one of the richest fishing areas along the Kenyan coast. The entire Lamu Archipelago is remarkable for its extensive mangrove forests, which cover over 85,000 acres – about 70 percent of all of Kenya’s mangroves.

Lamu Island’s white sand beaches, historic buildings, and laid-back atmosphere make it an appealing tourist destination, but the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt tourism. In the island’s smaller villages, residents depend more on fishing and farming. Many of them have limited access to clean water, health, or education.

Matondoni Village, population 3,000, is close to a 1,112-acre (450-hectare) mangrove forest that contains seven of Kenya’s nine species of mangroves. It is threatened by illegal clear-cutting, erosion, and improper waste disposal. People with few economic opportunities cut trees for firewood and construction materials. But community members know that degradation of the mangroves reduces fish populations and diminishes protection from sea level rise and storms.

This project supports establishment of a Community Forest Association, which will work with the Kenya Forest Service to protect the forest. Community members will assess the mangrove areas and develop a plan for managing the forest and replanting degraded areas. An information campaign will stress the importance of mangroves.

Seacology is funding an office and hall for Matandoni’s Beach Management Unit (BMU) to improve its capacity to enforce conservation rules. An environmental education program for children will be introduced to help engage youth in mangrove conservation and replanting. The community will also develop a beekeeping program as an alternative income source.

Project Updates

June 2022

Meetings have taken place with neighboring communities to create awareness regarding the protected area, as well as to secure their participation and engagement. Beekeeping training took place in February. The Lamu County government approved architectural plans for the BMU office/meeting hall, and two contractors have provided quotations; a third is being solicited. Field Representative Dishon Murage believes construction should begin soon.

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February 2022

The community is undertaking an assessment of the mangrove forest, conducting surveys of mangrove health and identifying spots in need of restoration. Replanting activities, which have included members of the youth clubs supported by the project, have so far planted more than 4,000 seedlings. Project participants have also conducted coastal cleanups, removing piles of trash from beaches and wetlands.

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October 2021

After pandemic-related restrictions on gatherings were lifted, an official opening ceremony was held for the project in September, attended by government officials and representatives of civil society groups.

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June 2021

Shortly after the project was approved with an agreement to fund construction of a water cistern for the people of Matondoni, the local government announced plans to provide this funding. So after consultations with community leadership, Seacology amended our project to fund a new office for the local Beach Management Unit, the organization tasked with managing the local marine resources. A new program was also added to the project to establish youth environmental clubs, which will learn about the local ecosystem and help out with restoration activities.

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