In fact, conservation research provides evidence that securing the tenure rights of forest inhabitants can increase forest cover and species diversity, reduce deforestation and degradation, especially if the forest communities are ‘traditional’, or if they have a long term relationship with their natural resources from which they derive some of their livelihood options, as do the Sengwer.

Amnesty International also found that those Sengwer still living in the forest are being forced to reside in sub-standard, makeshift housing, because their homes are constantly being burnt down.

The situation has torn many Sengwer families apart, as one parent often remains in the forest to safeguard their ancestral heritage, while the other lives with the children, often in deplorable conditions, outside the forest for safety. More than 50 Sengwer women we interviewed told us their husbands had left them altogether because of the indignity of being unable to provide for their families following their expulsion from their homes.

More than 50 Sengwer women we interviewed told us their husbands had left them altogether because of the indignity of being unable to provide for their families following their expulsion from their homes.

“The situation is urgent as people are still at risk of being forcibly evicted from their homes. The government must immediately cease all evictions and those who have been evicted must be allowed to return to their homes to dwell in safety and dignity, and participate in reforestation,” said Irungu Houghton. 

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