Community empowerment and sustainability of forest conservation projects in Kenya
This study investigated the inf luence of community empowerment on the sustainability of forest conservation projects in Kenya. It has been observed that many forest conservation projects cease as soon as financial support ends hence the need to investigate the phenomenon. This study was undertaken in the South-Eastern part of Kenya within Taita-Taveta County. Cross sectional survey design was used in the study. The study hypothesized that “There was no statistically significant relationship between community empowerment activities and sustainability of forest conservation projects.” It targeted 4138 household heads in five administrative locations considered as clusters in this study. Mixed research methods were used in the collection and analysis of data. A total of 365 quantitative data respondents were selected systematically, while qualitative data respondents were selected purposively. The study ascertained that at least 44.1% of respondents at least agreed that forest projects were sustainable, while 3.9% disagreed. Approximately 52% of respondents neither agreed nor disagreed that forest conservation projects were sustainable. Regression analysis showed F-ratio values of F (4,360) = 66.438; p < 0.05. The null hypothesis was therefore rejected. The study also ascertained that community empowerment influenced the sustainability of forest conservation projects. The researcher recommended that community empowerment activities be factored into future projects during the design stage to bolster sustainability.
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