The Kenya Coastal Development Project (KCDP) is a multi-sectoral development initiative financed by the World Bank and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and hosted by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).
The initiative based in Mombasa County seeks to promote environmentally sustainable management of Kenya’s coastal and marine resources by strengthening the capacity of existing relevant government agencies and by enhancing the capacity of rural micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in coastal communities.
Target beneficiaries are the coastal communities living within the six coastal counties, namely: Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa, TaitaTaveta, and Tana River.
The seven government agencies implementing KCDP are the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), State Department of Fisheries (SDF), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Coast Development Authority (CDA), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the State Department of Physical Planning (DPP).
Communities living in the coastal area are among the poorest in the country. Migration from inland areas to the coast and cross the international border between Somalia and Tanzania; growing populations and a weak policy and regulatory environment, lead to unsustainable use of natural resources with important impacts on the broader coastal environment. The resulting deterioration of the natural resource base further aggravates the vicious cycle of poverty and decline in environmental quality.
Long-term neglect, resource overuse, and poor management and planning have an inevitable negative impact on the coastal environment. Lack of protection of fragile coral reefs by local residents and tourists, excessive fishing pressure particularly in the inshore areas, inappropriate land use, and poor spatial planning have over time severely degraded the coastal ecosystem and its resources.
Poor sewage and solid waste management generated by the increasing populations including tourists affect the natural resources upon which the coastal economy is based. Plans for significant infrastructure expansion in sensitive marine habitats on the island of Lamu, famous for its mangroves, may further affect the resource base.
The lack of proper management also means that the benefits of the coast’s valuable natural resources do not fully accrue to coastal residents or the national economy. Little domestic fishing occurs beyond the near-shore waters – most fishing is limited to low-tech artisanal methods along the fringing coral reefs. Deeper ocean waters that are home to higher value species such as tuna are almost entirely the purview of foreign fishing vessels to whom Kenya provides licenses. There is a high prevalence of illegal fishing due to inadequate Government capacity to monitor and control fishing. The offshore fleets have almost no connection to Kenya, as they do not operate from Kenya’s ports and do not generate local revenues nor employment, with the exception of license fees to the Government of Kenya.
KCDP has addressed these challenges through the provision of investments, capacity building interventions and community driven development broadly clustered around three components that deal with the sustainable management of fisheries resources, sound management of natural resources and building coastal capacity for sustainable natural resource use and management.
One of the key activities of KCDP is the establishment and operations of a community development fund (Known in Kiswahbili as Hazina ya Maendeleo ya Pwani, HMP) which is implemented by KMFRI. HMP provides grant support to community-led projects.
The project, which is in its sixth year of implementation, has registered notable progress and had impressive impact on the local community livelihoods. Given the innovative nature and the proven-results on the ground, KCDP produced a documentary to illustrate the impact of the project and its success in improving the management of Kenya’s coastal and marine resources, enhancing the livelihoods and generating revenue in the fisheries sector. The purpose is to scale up the approach and inspire others in the country and in the Africa region.
The documentary captures the lessons, achievements and changes in livelihoods as a result of the activities supported under the KCDP. It also showcases the main challenges including those posed by climate change, which need to be addressed in order to successfully scale up the activities.