An Assessment of Causes of Conflicts Over Common Pool Resources Among Residents of Lower River Nyando Floodplains, Kisumu County, Kenya

Paul Okello Atieno, Samson Wokabi Mwangi, Kibet Ngetich


Common pool resources like forests, wetlands, water, and rangelands are a major source of livelihood to the rural poor and less fortunate members of the community, and denial of access to such resources always cause conflicts. Several studies have been done on such conflicts between different communities on one hand, and between states and particular communities on the other hand. Conflicts have occurred among different user groups among the residents of Lower River Nyando floodplains, an area occupied by a homogeneous community fighting over land, water, papyrus and fishing. However, no research has been carried out on common pool resource conflicts among residents of Lower River Nyando floodplains. This study focused on causes of conflicts over common pool resources among residents of Lower Nyando River floodplains, Kisumu County, Kenya. The objectives of the study were to assess the causes of conflict over water, land, fish, and papyrus.  Descriptive research design was adopted, and interview schedules were used to interview purposively selected 138 respondents. The instruments were pilot tested and Cronbach’s coefficient alpha yielded a reliability coefficient of 0.76 which was acceptable. Chi- Square at p=0.05 was used to analyse data gathered from the field. Statistically significant relationships were found between access to fishing (χ2=15.473), papyrus (χ2=15.563), and land (χ2=18.67), and conflict among the residents of lower River Nyando floodplains. However, no relationship was found to exist between access to water (χ2=3.958) and conflict. It was concluded that common pool resources like land (for cultivation), water (competition between fishermen, farmers, and livestock keepers over water), fishing (theft of fishing gears and caught fish) and exploitation of papyrus are the main causes of conflict in this study area.

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