A Samburu herder’s son has won a prestigious global environment award for his efforts in conservation and entrepreneurship.
Tom Lalampaa, a University of Nairobi PhD student-turned nature conservationist, won the Bright Award for Environmental Sustainability for his efforts in promoting peace through conservation and entrepreneurship.
He was recognised by the Stanford University in the US for his outstanding contribution to northern Kenya’s communities and wildlife through his work as the leader and Chief Programmes Officer of Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT).
Mr Lalampaa is the first African to receive the award.
The Bright Award was created by the late Raymond Bright of Stanford University in 2007 and inaugurated in 2013.
It is given annually to an “individual who has made significant contributions in the environmental preservation and sustainability area” on a rotating basis in ten regions.
The Northern Rangelands Trust was started in 2004 with a goal of developing resilient community-owned conservancies that transform lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources.
NRT covers 33 conservancies across 44,000 square kilometres of land and is home to 480,000 people drawn from 15 different ethnic communities.
Two million hectares of communal lands has been put under planned grazing management by the local communities through the NRT, with 97 per cent of households benefitting from grazing management plans.
Poaching in northern Kenya has also significantly reduced, decreasing by 52 per cent within the conservancies between 2012 and 2015.
This is due to increasing incentives and “ownership” of wildlife by local communities and stronger law enforcement by the organisation.
The NRT conservancy model helped inform the Kenya government policy on wildlife management (2013) and Community land legislation (2016).
In 2013, Mr Lalampaa was also awarded the Tusk Trust Award by the Duke of Cambridge in London where he met Prince Williams, who is the Trust’s patron.
He will receive the award given by Stanford University Law School on Thursday.