Turkana people ignorant about oil industry

Turkana people ignorant about oil industry

Local communities in Turkana are largely unaware of the potential impacts of oil activities on their livelihoods.

BY YVONNE MAVUNO

Turkana people ignorant about oil industry

Turkana people ignorant about oil industry

Local communities in Turkana are largely unaware of the potential impacts of oil activities on their livelihoods. This was the outcome of the first independent social baseline assessment on community perspectives of the emerging oil industry in Turkana.
Cordaid held a survey in partnership with the Turkana Natural Resource Governance Hub. Program manager Extractives Mr. Jeroen de Zeeuw led the team in Lokichar, Lodwar for a one-day meeting to share their assessment report on the Turkana Community perspective on the ongoing oil extraction.

Since 2010, oil companies such as Tullow Oil plc, Africa Oil, CEPSA, Centric Energy and BGP, have been exploring the oil and gas potentials of Turkana County, one of the most marginalized regions of Kenya.
This culminated in the discovery of commercial quantities of oil in Ngamia 1, Lokichar rift basin, which was announced by the then President Mwai Kibaki in 2012. Voices of the community

The oil finding generated waves of hope, high expectations, but also concerns across the Turkana communities (many of them pastoralists) who are living on the land where exploration activities are taking
place.
However, until recently no organization has done any thorough assessment to explore the communities’ version of this
dilemma. As one civil society representative put it, “nobody is listening to the smaller voices in Turkana”.
The main objective of the Cordaid-Turkana Natural Resource Governance baseline is to better understand local community perceptions on oil impact. This will serve as a basis for developing tailormade projects on community awareness and informed dialogue for mitigating social risks, whilst leveraging socio-economic benefits associated with oil and gas industry to communities.
To achieve this, Cordaid staff first organized two-day baseline assessment training for the members of Turkana Natural
Resource Governance (TNRG) Hub.
The assessment took place between 24 September and 10 October 2014 with 3 research teams comprising more than 15
representatives of local civil society organizations interviewing a broad range of stakeholders throughout Turkana County,
Kenya.
The assessment took place in all 5 sub-counties of Turkana, i.e. Nakukulas, Kalapata, Lokichar, Loareng”ak, Kaikor
Kerio etc. (Central, West, East, North and south). Communities in the assessment were selected on the basis of proximity
to oil fields, likelihood of impacts and emerging trend of oil related issues in the communities. Data from the assessment were gathered through focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, transect walks and community mapping as well as case studies.
The training helped the TNRH members to practically understand the scope of the baseline study and gain knowledge in community entry and relevant research tools for the assessment.
The preliminary findings of the assessment exposed the high level of community ignorance on oil activities, the fragility of the stakeholder engagement process, heightened insecurity of communities and seemingly growing conflict lines. According to one community elder: “we are like goats in the shed”.
The research team is still compiling and analysing the findings and plans to validate the draft results with key stakeholders
before releasing the final report in March this year.






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