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Oil Exploration in Kenya: Success Requires Consultation – Assessment of Community Perceptions of Oil Exploration in Turkana County, Kenya

Oil exploration is referred to as a potential ‘game changer’ bringing in much-needed revenues for delivery of basic services. At the same time, oil exploration has generated anxieties among local communities due to increased competition over (grazing) land and water, distribution of jobs and resources, and a high risk of speculation and corruption.

It is important to emphasize that the findings in this report reflect local community perceptions. The social, economic and environmental impacts described and attributed to oil exploration are not scientifically proven. Nevertheless, such perceptions are reality for local communities, or at least they are how local communities see the world around them. The report’s research indicates that the perceptions of local communities in Turkana County are shaped by (unrealistically) high expectations, lack of information and false information, and bad experiences with various stakeholders in the past (e.g. broken promises), as well as frustration over not being engaged properly.

The report is organized into five sections:

1) introduction and methodology;

2) legal and policy framework of oil development in Kenya;

3) oil exploration in Turkana County;

4) main findings of the assessment; and

5) recommendations.


On the basis of the assessment’s main findings, the report concludes with important thematic and key stakeholder recommendations clustered around four topics:

1. Improve participation of communities in decision-making over extractives projects.

2. Manage expectations and be more transparent about employment, business opportunities, compensation and social investment related to oil exploration.

3. Make local communities feel safe and secure again.

4. Reduce tensions and build trust by investing in (wellprepared) multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Uploaded on: Jul 20, 2016
Year Published: 2015
Author: Gabriel Ekunoit Naspaan

Resource Tags

Resource Type: Practitioner Resources Issues: Environmental Justice Tool Type: Reports / Research Method: Research Languages: English Regions: Kenya