Kendi Borona, Ph.D.


Lecturer in Human Dimensions of Conservation


Ph.D. in Forest Resources Management
University of British Columbia (Canada)

MSc in Business Administration and Strategic Management
University of Nairobi (Kenya)

BSc in Environmental Studies (Community Development)
Kenyatta University (Kenya)


SFS 3071 Human Dimensions of Conservation
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

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Faculty Profile

Dr. Borona is a conservation professional with over 10 years of experience in diverse landscapes across Africa. Her interest in environmental issues is informed by a combination of personal and professional experiences. She was born and brought up near a forest in the Kenyan highlands. It was because of the waters flowing from this forest that she did not have to walk for long distances to fetch water – a task expected of girls in her community. This forest and its critical watersheds was and is protected by elders through the application of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, providing water for community needs downstream. She is a firm believer in the application of Indigenous Knowledge in the furtherance of just conservation regimes and sustainable community livelihoods. Over the course of her career, she has worked towards the integration of natural and cultural heritage into a concrete whole, and to locate communities firmly in their landscapes. She has had the privilege of working with and learning from the following communities:

• The Turkana, Abagusii, Agikuyu, Iteso, and Abasuba peoples in Kenya;
• The Warangi in Tanzania;
• The Iteso in Uganda;
• The Chewa in Malawi;
• The San in South Africa;
• First Nations in Canada; and
• Aboriginal Australians.

Their individual and collective philosophies have influenced her thinking on the practice and application of conservation. Prior to joining SFS, Dr. Borona pursued her doctoral programme at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry. Her research focused on understanding people-forest relationships through the lens of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Kenya’s Nyandarwa [Aberdare] forest ecosystem. Her teaching philosophy is anchored on the belief that education should be transformational, and that it should help us create a just society for all beings. She looks forward to teaching, co-learning and co-creation of knowledge on conservation and environmental governance with students, communities and other stakeholders. Her research interests are in the areas of community-driven conservation, the fusion between natural and cultural heritage in dynamic landscapes, and African liberation struggles as situated in different environmental settings.

Academics & Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Community-based conservation
  • Forest resources governance
  • African cultural heritage management
  • Indigenous research methodologies

Professional Affiliations

  • Member & Senior representative for the East and Southern African Region (World Archaeological Congress) [2009-present]
  • Member, Nature Kenya (2013 – present)
  • Appointment (Indigenous Communities Conservation Areas) [2017-present]


Forthcoming: Borona, G.K. & Lyall, A. Indigenous people-forest relationships: A case study of Kenya and Canada. Canadian Journal of Native Education.
Borona, G.K. (2014). Exploring the link between traditional custodianship and community livelihoods. The Case of Nyambene forest in Kenya. Forestry Chronicle, 90(5), 586-591.
Borona, G.K. & Ndiema, E.K. (2014). Merging conservation with community engagement. Perspectives from TARA’s rock art community projects in Kenya. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management &Sustainable Development, 4(2), 184-195.
Little, T. & Borona, G.K. (2014). Can rock art in Africa reduce poverty? Public Archaeology, 13, 178-186.

Books/Book Chapters/Content

Forthcoming: Reclaiming Indigenous Knowledge Systems – Towards Sustainable people-forest relationships in Kenya. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Borona, G.K. & Nyasuna, G. (2009). Managing community projects: TARA and the Abasuba community peace museum. Nairobi. TARA.
Trust for African Rock art & Department of Museums and Monuments (2014). Nyero and other rock art sites in Uganda. Nairobi. TARA.
Trust for African Rock Art and Department of Antiquities Tanzania (2014). Rock Art of Kondoa Irangi and other attractions. Nairobi. TARA.
Trust for African Rock Art (2013). Discover Kakapel and the Iteso culture: Where nature and culture meet. Nairobi. TARA.
Trust for African Rock Art & Department of Antiquities in Malawi (2012). Chongoni World Heritage Site. Nairobi. TARA.
Borona, G. K. (2011). Abasuba Community Peace Museum. Community Museums and Sustainable Development. Pages 323-329 in Sustainable Museums: Strategies for the 21st Century. Museums etc: Edinburgh, UK.

Conferences (Selected)

October 2017: Awakening the spirit: Featured in this film about revitalization of Indigenous Knowledge in Canada. Gave a presentation on ‘Experiencing indigeneity in Canada’
May 2017: Canadian Anthropological Society Conference in Ottawa, Canada. Presented a paper ‘Forests as sites of anti-colonial struggles in Kenya’
December 2016: Forests and Livelihoods Conference in Scotland, United Kingdom. Co-presented a paper on ‘People-Forest relationships: A case study of Kenya and Canada’
September 2016: Forests as sites of anti-colonial struggles: Presentation made at the University of British Columbia.
August 2016: World Archaeological Congress in Kyoto, Japan. Presented a paper on ‘Community engaged conservation in Mt. Elgon, Kenya’
July 2016: Re-chiselling the three-legged African stool: Presentation made at the Global Environmental Summer Academy in Bern, Switzerland
November 2015: UNESCO World Heritage List Nomination Training Course; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Presentation on ‘Community-driven heritage management in Africa’
August 2014: Cultural values of forests and community livelihoods: Presentation for a Massive Open Access Course at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry
August 2014: Panel discussion on expanding the idea of indigeneity: Presentation made at the African Indigenous Knowledge in the 21st Century Symposium. University of British Columbia