Thriving Futures for All
Message from Board President
We are proud to share our 2021 Annual Report with you. As you read, I hope you are proud of what you helped to make possible.
Despite being well into our second year of COVID-times, Legado and the pursuit of Thriving Futures continues to have a significant impact on the communities we serve.
In Mozambique, we completed 100% community land entitlement – a major milestone because it establishes boundaries and spheres of influence, thus turning a sense of ownership into the actual ownership for the people who live on Mount Namuli. This is an essential step as the communities envision enduring legacies for their land, their biodiversity, and their people.
In Northern Kenya, we launched Yiasim e Namunyak, a Legado initiative, in partnership with the Samburu people of the Namunyak Community Conservancy and Northern Rangelands Trust. This is the first of what we and our partners envision to be many opportunities creating Thriving Futures with other conservancies in Kenya.
It’s been a big year and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for standing with us and for believing in a Thriving Future for all.
Pete Vorbrich, Chair of the Board
Message from the Founder
Since the very beginning, Legado’s approach has been centered around doing whatever it takes. Afterall, you don’t launch a 17-person biodiversity expedition with 2,000 feet of climbing rope, six native languages, two snake hooks, and three liters of ethanol with any other attitude. That was 2014. Today, whatever it takes means that we stand with indigenous peoples and local communities to make their Thriving Future, for their place, and their people — whatever that takes, on their terms.
Over the past seven years, Legado has developed a methodology to crystalize just what it means to create a Thriving Future and how to start that process with individuals so that we can make that Thriving Future accessible to all. Global experts at COP26 and beyond agree that we cannot win the race to save the planet without indigenous people and local communities in the lead. Thus, there has never been a more important time to do this urgent work.
For Legado, that means being in partnership with diverse groups from around the world to create a future where their families, communities, lands, rivers, and animals, biodiversity and more all thrive.
We created this graphic (see right) to show all of the pieces that make up a Thriving Future, and also to show that to truly make a Thriving Future you need to see and stand and create in the intersection of it all. Because it’s that intersection, that messy and beautiful and complicated place where innovation meets transformation, where increased education for girls meets forest protection, where community health care meets gender equity, it's there that change happens that matters and lasts.
If nothing else, life over the past two years during a global pandemic has taught us all that nothing is static. The reality is that, of course, nothing ever was. Which is why at the heart of Legado’s work is a process our partners can use to meet any priority or challenge that comes their way as they build that future, and as that future ever evolves. We’re here to make those futures happen, whatever it takes.
Founder & Executive Director
Combating Climate Change
With Thriving Futures
Climate change is the greatest threat of our time
But how we’re talking
about solutions is wrong
A THRIVING FUTURE SOLUTION
needs a locally-led approach
For too long solutions have taken a siloed approach, marginalized local people, and left out their voices.
As a result, solutions have often failed to create long-lasting change.
LEGADO OFFERS A NEW WAY FORWARD
Building Thriving Futures Together
Legado’s model draws on a decade of experience implementing its Thriving Futures approach with mountain communities in Mount Namuli, Mozambique. In 2021, we expanded outside of Mozambique for the first time to northern Kenya. We get communities to Thriving Futures by:
- Using inclusive methods so that all voices are represented and heard;
- Jumpstarting individual commitment and action within communities through a series of workshops that uncover individual legacies and put them into larger context of a shared legacy of a thriving community and landscape;
- Focusing on fulfilling priorities for a Thriving Future that are set by local communities and reached by consensus;
- Leveraging community assets and resources to create a realistic action plan;
- Providing intensive on-the-ground support to build effective collective action to ensure impact and long-term sustainability.
Raising Voice and Personal Freedom for Pastoralist Women
“My name is Julietta and my legacy is generosity. I was born in a manyatta (a customary Samburu homestead) inside the Namunyak Conservancy and have lived here my whole life. From a young age, I have sheltered and fed orphan boys and girls and helped them to attend school. I believe in education as a way to improve the lives of Samburu girls. I will continue to speak out for the recognition of women's skills and knowledge beyond the realm of their traditional roles, and for raising their voice both in their families and communities. Now I’m helping lead our village meetings to be a role model to other women and create a safer space for women to speak about their legacies and their priorities.”
Community Priorities Met in Mozambique
Highlights include: (Click on the yellow arrows to expand each section)
Improving Agriculture and Inspiring Others
Bringing a Thriving Futures Approach to Kenya
2021 was Legado’s first full year of partnership with the Namunyak Community Conservancy and Northern Rangelands Trust in Northern Kenya. The goal is to use our model to jumpstart community collaboration and action to create a path toward Thriving Futures.
Namunyak is home to the Samburu, an indigenous, semi-nomadic tribe, as well as to the Mathews Range, a biodiverse Sky Island and one of the region's last remaining tracts of forest. Namunyak’s expansive rangelands are critical to the Samburu’s pastoralist way of life and the forest provides essential ecological services to its 32,000 residents and tens of thousands more people in the surrounding landscape. Namunyak is also home to some of East Africa’s most iconic wildlife.
Members of Ngilai discuss their Thriving Future Priorities. (Photo: Roshni Lodhia/Legado).
During our first year of partnership we worked together to understand the local context and challenges that Namunyak’s communities and environment are facing. We laid the groundwork for effective collective action by assembling a diverse group of community representatives then launched our legacy trainings to motivate individuals and bring communities together around a common vision and agenda for action. Specifics include:
We assembled a core team made up of community representatives and members of Namunyak Community Conservancies staff. Legado will work closely with these 15 leaders over the next three years for the launch and implementation of the Legado:Namunyak program. After a series of legacy trainings and knowledge exchange workshops with this team, the Legado:Namunyak team hosted our first of three community workshops.
Initial Thriving Futures Priorities Identified
A key result from our Ngilai workshop was the initial identification of Ngilai’s top Thriving Future priorities for their communities, which include:
- Improving governance and sustainable livelihoods to support a healthy Mathews Forest and surrounding rangelands.
- Improving access to community health workers and to a broader range of health services.
- Increasing support for gender equity among individuals, communities, and local leaders.
- Increasing access to primary and secondary education, as part of a broader effort to ensure all children attend school.
Creating A Thriving Futures Groundswell
The final months of 2021 were spent with our growing Kenya team hosting a series of meetings in each village, or hub of villages, throughout the Ngilai Unit. Called Village-to-Village Legacy Sharing meetings, these are opportunities for workshop graduates to share back and validate the priorities they set with their larger communities. In 2021, we completed six of our 11 Legacy Sharing meetings. Once finished in early 2022, the next step will be to formalize and implement a community-wide Thriving Future plan based on prioritized actions.
Kenya Legacy Expedition: Oct. 29- Nov. 7, 2022
Join us for a journey of adventure, discovery and legacy building.
Join us on a journey of adventure and creation that combines working with the Samburu people of Namunyak Community Conservancy to create their legacies for a Thriving Future alongside adventures like hiking and safari game drives in the land of rhinos and elephants.
The capstone of our time together is hosting Legado’s Community Legacy Workshop. Our last workshop in Namunyak in November 2021, brought together over 95 Samburu leaders with Legado’s team and champions from across the US. Together we created personal and community legacies centered around stronger livelihoods and healthy forests, equal access to education, gender equity in governance, and more—Thriving Futures for all.
Reflections on the Legacy Expedition
In November 2021, Charlie Harrison, whose family is a long-time supporter of Legado, joined the Legado team in Kenya for ten days of connection, creativity and adventure on our most recent Legacy Expedition. Alongside other friends of Legado, Charlie assisted the team during Legado’s signature three-day Legacy Workshop with leaders from the Samburu communities.
“I helped the Legado team with a round-table discussion. The task was to identify the assets and challenges at play in the local systems of governance. At our table was a broad group of people, some of whom had never met. I saw very clearly how the Legado team's careful framing of such conversations puts a unique spin on community problem solving that leads to consensus and forward thinking. I believe that Legado is on to something—this model could be replicated anywhere for just about any group of people, and benefits will ensue.”
Read the full blog about Charlie’s experience here.
SUB TOTAL: $703,428
ADDITIONAL PROGRAM EXPENSES PAID BY
IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS: $226,390
Total Legado Programs Budget: $929,818
Legado maintained a strong financial position in 2021 and ended the year with 523,488 in net assets, an increase of $108,596 from 2020.
Building our Global Team
Sonya Kahlenberg, PhD, Senior Director, Strategy & Operations | USA
Sonya is a great ape biologist and comes to Legado with two decades of experience leading community-based wildlife conservation initiatives in Africa and Southeast Asia. Her past work in the nonprofit sector has ranged from organizational leadership to program management and implementation, including anti-poaching, conservation education, behavior change, and capacity building efforts.
"My past work has given me a deep appreciation for the complexity of conservation issues and has forged my commitment to using holistic approaches that prioritize both human well-being and conservation outcomes while putting local people at the heart of decision making. Legado is on the right path, and I'm excited to be part of this effort."
Diana "Tita" Alvira, PhD, Director, Thriving Futures | USA
Tita is an interdisciplinary ecologist from Colombia, South America with more than 20 years of experience working in biocultural approaches to conservation, implementing community-centered conservation for well-being programs, and participatory action research methodologies focused on social and cultural assets for conserving the cultural and biological diversity in the Andes Amazon region of South America. Tita joined Legado in 2021 after 12 years at the Chicago Field Museum’s Keller Science Action Center as a Senior Program Manager of the Andes-Amazon team.
"Legado got my attention because they were using a similar approach but on the other side of the world from the Amazon— and had found a way to activate individuals with their legacies. I am happy to now be part of this team, where we are putting people’s voices at the center and working hard to ensure that people and their natural environments thrive together."
Monicah Mbiba, PhD, Senior Program Manager | Kenya
Monicah is an ecologist, who is passionate about working at the nature-people interface to protect biodiversity and improve rural livelihoods and well-being. She has broad expertise in community development, rural livelihoods, biodiversity and conservation education, environmental assessment, and conservation consultancy. Monicah worked for more than eight years in academia as a lecturer in wildlife and rangeland management in Zimbabwe. She taught courses and supervised research in ecotourism and community-based wildlife management, among others.
"I am thrilled to work in an organization whose principles align with mine: a grassroots focus, respect for rural community values, and translating people’s visions into Thriving Futures in consultative and collaborative ways."
Sebastian Leure Lerapayo, Thriving Futures Ambassador | Kenya
Matt Munns, Coordinator, Monitoring & Evaluation | USA
Matt attended University of Wisconsin-Madison for both his undergraduate degrees in conservation biology, Latin American/Caribbean/Iberian Studies, and Spanish and his Master’s degree in environmental conservation with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. After interning with Legado during his environmental conservation program, Matt is now coordinating Legado's monitoring and evaluation program to assess impact and adaptively manage our projects.
"The holistic approach taken by Legado is very unique and the challenge of pioneering such an inclusive methodology is why I love working with Legado. I am excited and energized to be working with this organization that revolves around the people, partners, and environment they are working with, rather than one that takes a more narrow perspective and neglects the intimate connectedness of communities and the environment."
Getting the Word Out
Town Hall Events
In May and October, we hosted our first virtual Town Halls. Supporters, friends and collaborators from around the world joined us to get the latest updates from our team, ask questions, and participate in a mini Thriving Futures workshop. See our first Town Hall here and get in touch if you'd like to join us for our next.
Legado and Google X
Majka spoke at a virtual Google X event to talk about Legado’s approach with their moonshot lab. The group dove into how to create lasting changes that are locally led and designed to scale — together we fused Google X’s braintrust with Legado’s approach for an interactive and creative conversation.
Majka on the Lookfar Conservation Podcast
What if we just go bigger? We've been taught that it's scary to have mission drift. We've been taught that it's scary to get people's expectations up. We've been taught that it's scary to be human. We've been taught that conservation started with austere scientists who just want to go prove data and therefore we all have fallen in line with more of a non-human way to relate but ultimately what we're doing at Legado is relating human-to-human. Listen to Majka's conversation with the Lookfar team on Legado, Thriving Futures and how indigenous and local people are leading the way in combating climate change. Listen here.
2021 Blogs of Note
Preparing the bees to thrive in the honey season
Garnering Government Support for the Community Conservation Area in Namuli
Six months and counting of community activism for good health
Welcome to the Sweet Spot: Namuli’s Honey Processing Room
Namuli Beekeepers’ Vision of a Thriving Future
2022 will find Legado amplifying our work creating Thriving Futures:
A key focus for the Legado:Namuli team will be the creation of the Namuli Community Legacy Plan for Thriving Futures. This work begins with Thriving Future Asset Mapping and Priority Setting which will begin in 2022. The Legado:Namuli team will also continue with the groundwork for setting up the CCA and working toward community priorities in governance, human health, livelihoods, environmental health.
In Kenya, the Legado:Namunyak team will spend the majority of 2022 building legacies across all of Namunyak, replicating the work we did with the 10,000 person Nigili Unit and growing it two-fold across the full 32,000 person Namunyak conservancy.
Stay tuned for news of other program sites as Legado expands our partnerships in Africa and Latin America.
Backed by the Best
Legado’s work is made possible by the generosity of the following
foundations, corporations, and individuals.
Legado and our Program Partners are generously championed by the following groups
for specific in-country implementation: