Empowered through the Lamu Conservation Trust the local communities of the area are securing their future by protecting their biological diversity, safeguarding their culture and traditions and sustainably managing their natural resources on land and sea.
The Lamu people are a fusion of local communities including the Bajuni, the Orma, the Boni and the Sanye.
The Bajuni, are the largest indigenous group in Lamu District with a population of approximately forty thousand. They are seafarers, fishermen, boat builders, farmers and craftsmen. Their way of life in Lamu has changed very little in the last thousand years.
The Orma are remnants of the Galla people who once ruled Ethiopia and northern Kenya; they now have a population of approximately eight thousand in Lamu District. They are semi-nomadic people and pastoralists by tradition, surviving in the modern world by raising cattle, goats and sheep. Their original religion included a belief in a creator associated with the sky and the existence of spirits within nature; these beliefs are now entwined with their Islamic religion.
The Boni people are forest dwellers and hunter-gatherers. They depend on the natural resources of the area, collecting fruits, honey, plants and building materials. They number approximately eight thousand within Lamu District and are almost exclusively Muslim but maintain their beliefs in the natural spirit world.
The Sanye have the longest history in Lamu District with the second smallest sub-group in Kenya – a population of just five hundred. By tradition they are hunter-gatherers relying on the natural world to provide for them. Their mother tongue is an ancient click language similar to those of Southern Africa.