Hub East Africa

Landscape connectivity and fair management of global commons

We work to enable the coexistence of people and nature by maintaining the connectivity, functionality, and health of ecosystems and, in Madagascar, by harnessing the co-benefits of biodiversity hotspots for human wellbeing.


The greater catchment area of the Ewaso Ng’iro river in central and northern Kenya and the humid forest landscapes in northeastern Madagascar


Around 1.1 million in the Kenyan focus region, 55 million in all of Kenya, and 29 million in all of Madagascar


The semi-arid lowland plains around Mount Kenya are dominated by bushland and grassland habitats that are home to a high diversity of wildlife, including large mammals such as elephants, rhinos, and big cats. Madagascar is one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, with a large number of endemic species, especially in the last remaining large areas of humid forest on the eastern escarpment.



The dry, bushy landscapes of northern Kenya are home to a diversity of flora and fauna uniquely found outside of protected areas. The region is also home to pastoralists who move across the landscape in search of grass and water for their herds. The expansion of agricultural land, large-scale development projects, urbanization, and other changes in land use are all increasing pressure on these semi-arid landscapes, leading to fragmentation and restricting movements of people and wildlife. Although people and wildlife have lived side by side here for generations, intensified land use, the expansion of protected areas, and climate change impacts in the form of more frequent droughts have increased and intensified conflicts between them.

East Africa Region

Photo by: Peter Messerli


The immense value of Madagascar’s natural resources is threatened by deforestation. With the support of various international actors, several protected areas were created, including Masoala National Park in the northeast of the country. Highly globalized commodities such as vanilla or clove offer smallholders new opportunities within agroforestry systems that are ecologically sustainable and socially valued. However, inequalities in the villages are increasing, and food security is still mainly ensured through subsistence rice cultivation on slopes. With restricted access to land, degrading soil quality, shifting cultivation cycles are growing shorter, and people are expanding their cropland into the remaining forests.

East Africa Region

Photo by: Alexander Leuenberger

Main achievements at hub level


  • Mapping of critical natural asset data for Laikipia and Isiolo counties completed and incorporated into the spatial planning process of Laikipia county
  • Sub-catchment management plan (2022–2032) for Waso Mara sub-catchment finalized through a consultative process and approved for implementation by communities and government agencies
  • Through a partnership with Save the Elephants, eight Mama Tembos (local Samburu women) trained to collect data and raise awareness of the importance of six dual-purpose migration corridors in Samburu and Isiolo counties
  • Music album comprising twelve songs and two music videos about nature conservation and women’s empowerment launched with Samburu female musical artist Titoh Star
  • Skills and capacity of Navilla Youth Group in governance, project design, and financial management strengthened to support their leadership in the management of Il Motiok community group ranches
  • Main Hub East Africa office set up in Nanyuki and hub director, head of innovation & impact, and head of finance and operations recruited



  • Already existing regional-level stakeholder groups consolidated and shared system understanding developed to focus activities of the “Full Circle Initiative” project
  • Shared visions of sustainable development among different stakeholder groups in five villages in the Mahalevona valley co-developed
  • Five village-level visions integrated at level of overall valley landscape, including views of external actors
  • Innovations by small-scale farmers for agricultural and non-agricultural revenues supported with regional expert inputs and financial resources in one village, and progress monitored
  • Process to foster local ideas for innovation implemented in one new village in the valley
  • Accompanying research on the understanding of other past and ongoing approaches to system transformation in the solutionscape designed
  • Work continued to build trust and find new and decolonial ways of engaging in an area where local stakeholders have had primarily negative experiences with research and development initiatives; this includes bridging divides between values of stakeholders from different levels, from western or national-level researchers to practitioners and local inhabitants

Photo by: Peter Messerli


Photo by: Samira Stalder

Benson Okita

Climate change exacerbates conflicts and causes suffering

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Challenge 1

Wealthier people in healthier semi-arid landscapes

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Challenge 2

Saving wetlands to support livelihoods and wildlife

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Challenge 3

Harnessing benefits of biodiversity hotspots to improve people’s wellbeing

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