- Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo said the funds from the carbon project benefit thousands of pastoralist communities in the region.
- He said the administration of Governor Mohamud Ali will partner with Northern Rangelands Trust to support conservation efforts in Marsabit County.
Marsabit County government has so far received Sh2.8 million in revenue generated from the sale of carbon credit.
A carbon credit is a permit which allows a country or organization to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions and which can be traded if the full allowance is not used.
Speaking at his office during a courtesy call by the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) team, Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo said the funds from the carbon credit projects benefit thousands of pastoralist communities in the region.
"We welcome the revenue from the sale of carbon credit by NRT. This is an ambitious project that is giving back to the community and building resilience on climate change," he said
He said the administration of Governor Mohamud Ali will partner with Northern Rangelands Trust to support conservation efforts in Marsabit County.
The deputy governor has called on operators of non-governmental organizations to ensure transparency in their operations to gain people's confidence.
"All non-governmental organizations must create a philanthropic environment for public-spirited entities to contribute and create the conducive atmosphere to earn public confidence," he said
He urged them to honour their obligation as an affirmation of their commitment to the values that underpin the course of true service to humanity.
Gubo challenged the organizations to prioritize development projects in critical sectors while aligning their programmes with the government's agenda.
He encouraged residents to embrace the culture of planting trees to reduce the devastating impacts of climate change.
" Tree planting plays an important role in addressing the negative impact of climate change and mitigating effects of climate change besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he advised.
Carbon credits work like this: an organisation that pollutes can buy a credit which is worth one tonne of carbon dioxide.
The money paid by the organisation is meant to go towards carbon-lowering schemes, so for every tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted, the credit represents a tonne of CO2 that was captured.
In this way, the overall amount of (CO2) and other pollutants produced is supposed to stay the same, or even be lowered.
Pastoralist communities living in the Melako Conservancy area have embraced carbon credit projects that focus on environmental conservation, economic growth and community livelihoods.
The projects provide technical expertise for the conservation of rangelands and ecosystem protection for carbon trade.
Already more than 29,000 residents in conservation areas have experienced a positive socio-economic impact.
This ranges from well-conserved rangelands to the revenues generated that are channelled into community projects such as water infrastructure, bursaries and drought response.
According to data from NRT, at least 1,500 students benefitted from Sh15 million disbursed in 2023 in the form of bursaries courtesy of carbon credit money earned by local conservation groups.
Over 600 households within five locations in the Laisamis constituency benefitted from relief food distribution for the 2021 revenue from the carbon credit project.
The benefit gained from the project motivated the local community to be conservation champions who were ready to conserve their environment.
The Northern Rangelands carbon credit project is one of the largest soil carbon removal projects that helps the arid region build resilience to climate change while conserving the environment.
NRT regional boss Dida Fayo said the project generates carbon credit reliant on livestock grazing practices.
This is by replacing traditionally unplanned grazing with planned rotational grazing to enable more vegetation to grow in the area and store more carbon in the soil.
He urged the pastoralist communities to take the project positively, maintaining that it would uplift the community's livelihoods.
Mohamed Shibia, a director at NRT says only 3.3 per cent of the revenue generated from the carbon credit project was retained by them to cover the operational costs of the project while the remaining amount was shared among the conservancies.
"The project works with the communities to present the benefits of coordinated and rotational grazing as a way to improve pasture," he said.
"Protecting dry forests and wildlife would prevent the emission of carbon dioxide by discouraging deforestation and degradation of the environment by the local community within the project area."
Mohamed defended the Northern Rangelands carbon project against claims of violations of indigenous people's rights by saying the project which began in 2013 benefitted the locals within the conservancies as they received more than Sh1.5 billion from the sale of the carbon credit.
Melako Conservancy Manager Simion Satim said they received Sh34,600,000 in 2022 revenue from the sale of carbon and in 2023 they received Sh38,797,625.
"Melako Conservancy works with NRT on conservation and development programmes and had robust public participation on the carbon credit project and how funds should be used," he said
He said the money from the carbon credit had transformed the community by providing water, improving school infrastructure, providing bursaries and drought response.
Merrille mixed secondary school's principal Francisca Delea commended the project for issuing bursaries to students.
She said the bursaries would go a long way in cushioning residents in school fees since the majority of them had lost their livestock to drought.
"Most of the people here are pastoralists who rely on livestock keeping. Due to the past drought, they lost thousands of animals and were unable to send their children to school. The bursaries help them to have their children keep in school," said the principal.
Delea commended the carbon credit projects for fixing solar panels in schools and improving the school's enrollment from the previous 126 to 242 students.
"Since the solar panels were fitted students can study without struggling. Access to electricity boosts access to education," she said.
Silvia Lengima, a parent at Merrille mixed school said, that without the bursaries, her form three student would have been at home since she lost everything to the drought.
Headteacher Tirgamo Primary School Jennifer Semeiton Lengoya thanked the management of the project for the renovation of a classroom in her school.