Factors influencing community participation in forestry conservation projects: a case of Kithoka-Twajai forest community based organization, Meru county Kenya.
The aim of this study was to assess the factors that influence community participation in forestry conservation among the members of Kithoka/Twajai Forest Community Based Organization in Meru County, Kenya. The study is expected to inform the government in coming up with policies that guide community participation in forestry conservation and in assisting the forestry administration in reversing forest loss that has been experienced in Kenya. The study was conducted under five broad themes and sought to establish the role of community awareness, development partners, economic factors and management of the CBO in influencing participation of the members. The role of government policies and procedures was also investigated. The study used descriptive research using survey method and the main instrument of data collection was questionnaires. The data was then analysed using SPSS version 17. The study concludes that the creation of awareness among the members of the organization has contributed to the effective participation of members of the organization in implementing forest conservation projects. On the influence of development partners on community participation in forestry conservation projects, the study concluded that the partners had no significant influence on the members’ participation in conservation projects. On how economic factors influences participation of members in forestry conservation projects, the study concluded that economic factors had a significant influence on its project implementation activities. Members are satisfied that through income generating activities carried out by the CBO they are able to get an income which enables them to sustain their families. In regard to how management of the CBO influences the participation of members in forestry conservation projects, the study concluded that Management of the CBO has a significant influence on its member’s participation in project activities. The study recommended that the government should carry out media campaigns and come up with training materials so as to create more awareness on the importance of forestry conservation. It should also encourage more youth to get involved in conservation based income generating activities so as to be able to eke out a decent living. The Forestry department should encourage people living near forests to form forestry conservation CBO so as to spearhead the campaign against deforestation and land degradatio