The Role of Advocacy in Environmental Conservation: The Case of Mau Forest

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Daystar University, School of Communication


Forests serve as important natural resources to boost livelihoods and economic development if used in a sustainable way, yet conservation of these forests has often been threatened in many regions across the world. The destruction of the Mau Forest in Kenya has huge implications for the region, as it is the source of several rivers. The concept of advocacy implies a group effort focused on changing particular public policies. This research’s objectives were to evaluate the importance that communities living next to forests attach to the Mau Forest; to identify the forms of advocacy that were used in the rehabilitation of the Mau Forest and their effectiveness as well as challenges faced in the process of rehabilitating the Mau Forest. One hundred and thirty-one questionnaires were administered, while an interview schedule was administered to three senior officials from The Kenya Forest Service, Mau Secretariat, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Data was entered using EPI INFO 3.0 version and imported into SPSS for analysis. Findings indicated that 99.2% of the communities living near the forest attached a lot of importance to the forest and 97.7% of them relied on the forest for their livelihood. 88.5 % of the residents relied on water from the river while 85.5 % relied on the forest for firewood. Distribution of seedlings, environmental education and barazas were some of the advocacy efforts. These were complemented with use of mass media such as radio and TV talk shows, press conferences and newspaper articles. Multi stakeholder partnerships with renowned and credible institutions raised the profile of the advocacy effort. Political goodwill and government support enhanced the advocacy effort, while insufficient funds, poor co-ordination and exclusion of locals were some of the drawbacks. The study recommended more funds be allocated for advocacy besides strengthening communication units.


Master of Arts in Communication


Advocacy, Environmental Conservation, Mau Forest


Omungo, R. E., (2016). The Role of Advocacy in Environmental Conservation: The Case of Mau Forest. Daystar University, School of Communication, Nairobi.