NYADEC was started in 2000 and was registered as a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 2006. The organization aims to prevent, rehabilitate and reclaim gullies in order to allow agriculture to persist as a way of life for the farmers of the Nyando River Basin in Kenya. NYADEC works to encourage, enable, and facilitate community involvement in finding and implementing solutions to gully erosion and other environmental issues. Currently there are over twenty major gullies in the Nyando River Basin, where on average gully erosion is accountable for half an acre of land loss and an additional half an acre of land degradation for each farmer affected. All members of the organization belong to the community being directly affected by gully erosion; most members have lost land that they depend on for farming and fuelwood to the gullies. Since its establishment, the organization has received support from over ten thousand members and continues to expand its influence throughout the entire population of the Nyando River Basin.
NYADEC’s program of sustainable land management encompasses gully rehabilitation, water conservation, forest conservation, restoration of degraded lands, adaptation to drought and flooding, and income generation. Recognizing the complex linkages between all these factors, NYADEC aims to better understand those linkages as they strive for better natural resource management. Challenges faced by the organization include eutrophication of Lake Victoria and sand harvesting, which increases the rate at which erosion occurs, raising concerns about enhancing the level of poverty. Approximately 63% of families in the Nyando district live below the poverty line. The result of this high poverty level is that many people are pressured to carry out the hard labor of sand harvesting while receiving very low compensation because they cannot find other work. Increasing environmental degradation and poverty threaten the community and cause challenges for environmental conservation efforts. NYADEC therefore takes factors like the socioeconomic context into consideration when organizing strategies for conservation management.