The Lake Turkana Basin is located in the arid North-West of Kenya. Lake Turkana itself is bordering Ethiopia and three counties in Kenya: Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu. It is one of the most saline lakes in East Africa and the largest desert lake in the world. The main inflow to the lake comes from the Omo-Gibe Basin in Ethiopia. Developments in the upper catchments impact lake levels and fishing stocks. The lake is crucial for the fishing industry, tourism and biodiversity. Because of the salinity of the lake, livelihoods in this extremely arid part of Kenya depend mainly on groundwater and the very few rivers.

Rapid development, driven by oil exploration, infrastructure projects, dams and a growing fishing industry affect water resources. Furthermore the area has seen an influx of people from Ethiopia, South Sudan and other parts of Kenya, who compete with the local population for the already scarce water resources. These developments take place in a context of high fragility with a history of local intercommunal conflicts. Due to its remote location from central governments, the basin faces institutional, logistical and capacity constraints. The diverse communities living in the region rely on livelihoods like pastoralism, that heavily depend on ecosystem services and are thus vulnerable to changes in water and ecosystems.

A lady fish wholesaler addressing the meeting
A fish wholesaler addressing a paticipants of a dialogue session organized by WPS (Source: WPS)

WPS involvement 

In Kenya, WPS operates in Turkana County (Northern and Central Turkana), focusing on the Lake Turkana Basin area. We collaborate with various partners, including the National Government, county government, communities in pastoralist regions, civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations, and our local implementing partner, Turkana Pastoralist for Development (TUPADO). WPS partners International Alert, Wetlands International and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education implement the project in Kenya.

WPS works at the local level with communities to foster dialogue and cooperation in resolving water-related conflicts. This includes facilitating dialogue among communities in conflict over water sources and ecosystems around the lake to find lasting solutions. The project also provides training to communities on conflict sensitivity and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

At the county level, the project utilizes data/knowledge tools by engaging with technical teams at the county level through water mapping, conflict mapping, and developing a dashboard for planning and policymaking process. Additionally, the project facilitates awareness-raising and capacity-building through water and peace sector forums.

At the national level, we engage in strategic partnerships and raise awareness of the water-conflict nexus with the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) and Members of Parliament.

Community meeting Turkana
Community meeting in Kakwanyang village in Turkana Central. Quote of a participant: “Water quantities in the heavens have reduced. It does not rain anymore, it is only dripping” (Source: Rolien Sasse, 2021)

Next steps 

WPS aims to deepen our work across the three levels ( local, county and national) by collaborating with all the stakeholders. At the local level, our goal is to identify local champions and enhance sustainable dialogue approaches. At the county level, we aim to influence decision-makers to utilize the data/tools and knowledge generated to set up and put into action a comprehensive and collaborative framework that involves multiple sectors by managing water resources effectively.  


Learning event held in June 2023
Learning event held in June 2023 bringing together stakeholders in the water and Peace sector and the second photo was training for stakeholders on Hydrological modelling, water mapping, and PowerBI led by IHE in November 2023 (Source: WPS)



Daisy Kosgei
Senior Project Officer Kenya | International Alert
Jessica Hartog
Head of Natural Resource Management and Climate Change | International Alert