Meaning “to scale the mountain” in the languages of the Sabaot and Ogiek indigenous communities located along the slopes of Mount Elgon in Western Kenya, the El-Koony Center is dedicated to preserving the region’s ecosystem and providing economic development opportunities for the surrounding population.
In 2003, the Mount Elgon ecosystem was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Biosphere Reserve for its outstanding plant and animal diversity, its role as a vital “water tower” for the region and for its cultural significance. However, in contrast to its numerous historic, natural, and cultural resources, Mount Elgon’s assets have not been extensively explored due to historical marginalization by previous governance structures. The ecosystem is inhabited by diverse populations of indigenous, agricultural, and entrepreneurial communities whose livelihoods revolve around its natural resources and biodiversity.
A newly sponsored organization under Ecologistics, the El-Koony Center is defining a new way to address conservation by shifting away from single-step approaches towards integrated solutions that enhance the entire ecosystem. We’re one ecosystem, dedicated to enacting system-wide change across Mount Elgon through several projects combining scientific research and developmental training. Currently, we’re introducing climate-resilient agricultural practices into community farms, which will provide increased crop yields for farmers and promote conservation. Our integrated approach expands further into the ecosystem, from human-wildlife conservation to scientific and cultural development of the Mount Elgon forest ecosystem.