Il Mamusi – A Forest Board Recommits to Mukugodo

Over the last months, the Il Mamusi Community Forest Association (CFA) has been working with the assistance of its neighbours and partners to rekindle commitment to the conservation and management of Mukugodo Forest.


The Il Mamusi Forest Board during a recent meeting held at Borana Ranch that looked into approving work plans for Mukogodo Forest for the next 6 months.

NRT, LWF, Borana Conservancy, and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy have teamed together to support the future of the Board and the future of the Forest.

With these strong partnerships in place, the Board is reviewing its governance structure, getting new commitments of participation from the four group ranches/conservancies that embrace Mukugodo – Il Ngwesi, Lekurruki, Makurian and Kurikuri. In addition, the Board has called for new staff recruitment to serve in a CFA program team that is dedicated to forest conservation and management.

Borana, NRT, Lewa and LWF all obtained Il Mamusi Board positions. Richard Karmushu is the Chairman. Borana takes the Vice Chairman position, and Lewa has been appointed treasurer. LWF and Lewa will be working together in various fundraising efforts for the Forest, while NRT will support the capacity building of Il Mamusi’s CFA and the surrounding group ranches/conservancies. Prospects of funding are good, and a new management plan to guide activities and investments will begin next year.

Speaking on behalf of NRT, Richard Kasoo – Regional Coordinator for Laikipia and Meru Counties, expressed his excitement about the boards recommitment in Mukogodo emphasising the need for capacity building, making sure that governance in general is strong and up running. NRT will also strive to promote peace and where cases of conflict arise try to find an amicable solution. The goal is to help the board develop resilient community conservancies which transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources.

There is significant interest in generating new biodiversity lists for the Mukogodo Forest. These lists will eventually constitute a resource inventory for Il Mamusi, and serve to guide management planning and zoning.

All entry to the Forest should be respected, and payment for access is expected. There is an Il Mamusi office outside the Laragai Police Post on the southern entry to the Forest from the Borana Conservancy.

For more information on Il Mamusi, access and the Mukugodo Forest, contact Samali Letai, the Acting Project Coordinator for the Il Mamusi CFA –

(Laikipia) County Times new model to enhance social impact

The County Times (previously The Laikipia County Times) has been launched to give a voice to local news, views, businesses and events. Not all news is National. Sometimes we just want to know what is going on in our local area. The County Times is here to serve that need.
Originally conceived to cover Laikipia County, the scope and range of  the paper has now grown to include 5 counties – Nyeri, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Isiolo and Meru
For the last 3 years, the paper has been published and distributed  on a monthly basis from the Nanyuki based office with the full 3,000 copies distributed throughout the 5 counties.
In a recent move to enhance the social impact of the paper and to address the pressing issue of Youth Unemployment, The County Times has formed a partnership with Laikipia Usanni Reloaded Youth Group.
The concept is simple. County Media Group will commit to producing and printing 3,000 copies of a high quality newspaper. Rather than continue to give the paper away for free, the paper will now be sold at a rate of 40/- per issue. The sales and distribution will be run by the Youth Group and they will receive half the sales price which will be shared between the individual seller and the group. So every paper that is bought will be assisting local young people to earn a living and support themselves. The reader gets high quality local news, the young people and the Group get an income and the paper can now ride on a sustainable model – a win win situation for all.
We welcome comments and contributions from all. After all, it is a LOCAL PAPER FROM AND FOR LOCAL PEOPLE.
For more information contact Maggie Hobbs on

Holistic Management – a Rangelands Solution for Laikipia or a Hole for Donor Money?

As members of LWF know, USAID and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have supported 7 and 5 years of Holistic Manangement (HM) in Laikipia respectively. The HM activities were managed by Natural Capital, a contractor to the Forum, and focused on the Group Ranch communities of northern Laikipia.cattle ranching in Laikipia
In 2013, with the assistance of the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), a baseline was established in order to help measure the impacts of the HM approach. The efforts were supported by household surveys, focus group discussions, and bio-physical transects. The results were published in the LWF Newsletter July 2013.
With the support of KMT, the baseline is being revisited to see if the last 2 years, and the last seven years, have resulted in any change. Enumerators supervised by LWF rangelands management staff and funded by KMT are visiting all 13 group ranches in Laikipia. 5 of those group ranches (Il Ngwesi, Makurian, Munishoi, Il Pole and Il Motiok) were subjects of the 2013 survey and received substantial support from Natural Capital. The other 8 group ranches are being surveyed this year for any spill-over acceptance of HM practices, and to set a new baseline.
The exercise will conclude in August, after the team joins with NRT to examine the impacts of their HM in two conservancies where it has been tried – Kalama and Westgate.
Results should be available in September, and will help guide further LWF and NRT investments in HM as land use, pasture management, conservation, and good governance tools.

Sweet Deal for Osotua Beekeeping Group

Honey – one of the world’s most favourite, versatile condiments has been used and consumed by communities around the world for centuries. Today this sweet sticky goodness is used in signature restaurants from New York to Paris as well as in ointments made by the Body Shop and local communities residing on the riverbanks of the Amazon rain forest. Raw pure honey has been used to dress and clean wounds and is highly recognised for its antioxidant prowess.

For Tom Ngotiek, a resident of Munishoi in Uaso Ngiro – Laikipia County for the past 52 years, the presence of honey always represented the marking of some sort of celebration. As a young boy he remembers elders of his community seeking flowering Euphorbia plants, certain that they would harvest good quantities of honey to be used in the preservation of meat after a cow or bull was slaughtered. In those days, it was all about livestock farming for Ngotiek and his family. After all, this was how the family survived.


Traditional log hives

Honey was restricted to household use and was never considered as a potential source of income until just over 16 years ago when bee keeping was introduced to communities in the surrounding Munishoi region. Numerous groups were formed and trained in the skill of crafting hives from wood and other natural materials which lasted longer than traditional hives that were made from mud, leaves, sticks and dung.

Ngotiek joined Osotua Bee Keeping Group in 1999, which was a consolidation of members from three group ranches: Koijaa, Ilmotiok and Tiamamut. To date, the group has an astounding 468 members managing over 6,000 hives, mostly traditional logs, others contemporary box hives. On average the group can harvest between 1000kg to 3000kg of golden un-crystallised honey. However the large quantities of honey did not automatically translate into enough money for households to sustain their daily needs. In the past, each household would only receive Kes 20 (Usd 0.22cts) per kilo of honey sold as a result of poor quality, no value added after harvesting, and poor market linkages.

LWF’s Conservation Enterprise Programme (CEP) has been supporting Osotua Bee Keeping Group for the last 6 years with the financial support of USAID. In April 2015, after searching for alternative markets, CEP found that most buyers would take Osotua honey raw at 200 Kes/kilo. Value was added by the buyers and as a consequence, so was more of the profit. With the help of CEP, Osotua bee-keepers learned how to clean and strain their honey to secure a better price, hoping to capture greater profits on the hard work of community members and their bees!!

A ground-breaking deal was realised when Ol Pejeta Conservancy ordered Osotua Honey due to its superior quality, great colour and great taste. The community group realised a premium price, and this partnership keeps production and sales local, building the brand of Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Osotua Beekeepers as all natural and all Laikipian!


Osotua Committee Members

These sorts of partnerships have benefitted local communities greatly, allowing them to expand their enterprise, and improve their livelihoods, support their children’s education and even share business knowledge with others in neighbouring communities.

Students from Ilmotiok, Naiperere and Ewaso Primary Schools recently received bee hives donated by Osotua Bee Keeping Group as well as training in bee keeping. Most, including Ngotiek’s own son, would like to use their new found skills to contribute towards their family and larger community’s welfare.



The Laikipia Highlands, in Kenya’s North Rift region, where several pastoralist tribes used to coexist peacefully, has in recent years been the theatre of cattle rustling, tribal clashes, raids and insecurity. This, coupled with the proliferation of small weapons and rampant unemployment due to lack of work opportunities, and dwindling grazing resources has made cattle rustling a way of life for Pokot and neighbouring Samburu, Turkana, Tugen and Njemps youth and a severe threat to stability in the region.

Many communities have been severely affected and displaced, homesteads burnt, thousands of livestock stolen and hundreds of people, including women and children, killed in the clashes. The most severe drought experienced over nearly two generation has exacerbated the tension, has put well over 10million people in Kenya at risk of starvation, and access to water and pasture have become an added bone of contention.

The Gallmann Memorial Foundation (GMF) ,dedicated to the coexistence of people and nature in Africa, has been involved in community services, peace and reconciliation efforts for many years. For over two months we hosted two hundred women and children refugees of the Njemps tribe displaced in the 2005 clashes, acted as a mediator at the beginning of tribal clashes between Samburu and Pokot, organising and hosting several elders meetings in 2006, hosted a week long peace meeting amongst Sudan youth in 2007, and organized several poignant healing peace seminars for victims and perpetrators of political post-election violence in 2008.

The Great Rift Valley Trust (GRVT) aims to bridge differences between world peoples by finding common denominators and pursuits such as art, music, sports and environment, at humankind’s common cradle. Both GMF and GRVT are based and operating at Laikipia Nature Conservancy- a vast wildlife sanctuary and biodiversity oasis situated on the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift valley, boundary to six warring community, on the Western Laikipia Highlands- a region severely affected by tribal conflicts.

Both the Gallmann Memorial Foundation and the Great Rift Valley Trust have been since January 2009, at the forefront of providing food relief for the peoples of Western Laikipia, East Baringo and East Pokot. An estimated 30,000 women and children and elders have been fed since, and the programme is ongoing. Sports as a means to promoting peace dates back from the times of the first Olympics and has recently been recognized by the United Nations as a powerful tool to promote reconciliation.

The Laikipia Highlands games, – born in October 2008 as joint venture of the GMF and GRVT- is a new annual sporting initiative aimed to use the fundamental values of sport in fostering good will, build relations, bridge divisions, and harness the natural competitive spirit of youth and the recognized high potential of Kenya Highlands athletes, to engage in peaceful competitions that put their fitness to test, at the same time offering unique opportunities to emerging new athletes. A Tugen boy, Jacob Kurere, and a Turkana girl, Agnes Lopeyok have been identified in fact last year by spotters from the Olympic Committee of Kenya, as potential champions and have been training in 2009 and 2010 at the Kipchoge Keino High Altitude Performance Centre in Eldoret.They will be groomed for the coming London Olympics.

The games are an unusual and exciting combination of modern athletics and colourful traditional tribal games played amongst African tribes since generations. On the 16th of September 2009, however, three days before the date set for the second edition of The Laikipia Highlands games, youth from one tribe attacked sleeping women and children at dawn in Kainampio manyatta in north Laikipia. 22 women and children were killed in their sleep; young warriors retaliated and soon dozens of people lay dead. On 17th of September the women and children were buried in a mass grave in an emotional ceremony. At the request of the community the games went ahead. A staggering 1175 entries were recorded. Thousands of people attended. Happening at this very time and opened by our nursery school children waiving flags inscribed with the Kiswahili word for peace -AMANI- and attended by all the tribes involved in the recent clashes, the 2009 edition of the Laikipia Highlands games saw the enthusiastic participation of athletes, schools children, women, elders and diverse tribal youth dressed in their traditional attire-. By giving contending tribes and communities involved in tragic disputes at the present time an opportunity to meet in neutral ground, the Games were a tremendous tribute to the healing influence of sport, and a poignant reminder of the power of the human spirit to overcome.

Paul Tergat, one of Kenya’s finest athletes and former world record holder in the 10,000 meters and marathon said “this is a very unique event that brings warring communities together through sport in the most unique setting. It is indeed the Kenya that we want. It is also a great way to tap talent amongst these communities and at the same time, encouraging them to conserve nature and protect the wildlife in that unique part of Kenya”. By combining Peace and Sport across such a tremendous array of tribes and communities currently involved in conflict, and by offering their youth the only opportunity to interact, The Laikipia Highlands Games- is crucial to the development of a peace process in the area.

Kuki Gallmann,


The Laikipia Highlands Games

The contribution of our sponsors in cash and kind: is recognized in all documentation and programmes, and their banners and advertising materials can be displayed.


Ranger Recruitment


We are carrying out a ranger recruitment an training with Andre Badenhorst from Scarab.

We are looking for candidates from further afield.

If you have anyone suitable  in mind or through your networks please send them our way.

Pre- selection will start on Monday 20th. Candidates should arrive on Sunday.

Candidates should come prepared to stay for a month if  they make the selection. They should bring their own :

Wasting utensils- bowl, spoon, cup
Warm clothes
Personal effects

For questions such as directions candidates can call Moses on:

0701 580 181

There will be another selection and training in Sept / Oct.

Thank you!




Since 2008 I have been suffering from a strange disease of the blood and bone marrow called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). I have struggled with this illness which doctors confirm is rare and has no known cause, since 2008 when my blood cell counts began dropping. Though I have managed to stay on my feet up to May 2014, since then I have had to undergo regular blood transfusion to keep me going. I am now transfusion dependent and on average I need external blood every 7 days. In other words I survive on other people’s blood.
Having had both extensive and intensive medical checks with specialists in Uganda, South Africa, India, Kenya and back in Uganda again without finding a cause, the focus now is to find the proper treatment before I deteriorate further. The treatment is in 2 phases, phase 1 is to get me off regular blood transfusion. This will last 6 months from June 2015, costing USD 35,000 for 6 months. The 2nd phase which has to be undertaken abroad is the bone marrow transplant estimated to cost a minimum of USD 120,000 USD in medical bills and another about USD 50,000 for travel and extended stay abroad of up to 6 months after the procedure.
Am now facing a medical finance challenge in addition to the illness itself owing to the long standing nature (8 years) of the problem that has seen me in and out of hospitals quite often especially in the last 1 year (May 2014 – May 2015). This is the reason a group of friends have made some contributions and in addition appealed to the public in Uganda through the media to help me.

The purpose of this note is to confirm that:

  1. I am in dire need of financial assistance to cover my medical costs as outlined above;
  2. I have authorized friends of mine to help fund-raise for my medical costs using ethically acceptable means through their networks;
  3. Make a personal appeal to well-wishers and anybody or any institution that may be willing to help me financially or otherwise. I attach a summary of who I am and highlights of my contributions to my country Uganda and beyond. At 49, I believe once treated (doctors have assured me I have a 98% chance of complete cure with the bone marrow transplant) I can still serve my country and the global conservation fraternity.

Thank you.

Yours Faithfully,

Moses Wafula Mapesa Please donate via the Fundraiser

LULI Study

This posting includes a summary of an important piece of work conducted on the problematic “abandoned” lands of Laikipia. While conducted in 2012/2013, much of the report has taken on greater validity and importance.
Since the publication of this report, Zeitz Foundation, with the assistance of AWF, has been conducting some pioneering work.
Contact us for more information, or a complete copy of the report.

A Super Bug for the Invasive Prickly Pear in Laikipia

The prickly pear, or Opuntia, is a plant surrounded by Mexican mystery and legend and has been an iconic ingredient in various South American dishes and ceremonies for centuries. DSCN6100Its reputation is one filled with health and prosperity.

Brought into Kenya’s Northern Laikipia territory over 40 years ago to be used as a live fence on ranches, the prickly pear was functional in keeping out trespassers

Today the prickly pear is demonstrating its natural aggressiveness and occupies vast stretches of land, displacing pasture and challenging indigenous plants. The fruits produced by the cacti attract livestock and humans alike with their sweet flesh and this is part of the reason why the plant has spread like wildfire in such a short period of time.

When local communities in Northern Laikipia, many of whom are pastoralists, heard that there was a super bug that would finally get rid of the plant that has been a scourge for decades, there was much to celebrate.

The Cochineal – aka super bug – originates from South America and Mexico and is known mostly for supplying the fashion designers “dream dye” – carmine. The stunning red colour which is harvested from the Cochineal after feeding on the sap from prickly pear leaves and fruits, was also used in pre-Hispanic rituals, and is still widely used in Central America.

When introduced to an area, the super bug – which is a host specific parasite – heavily infests the prickly pear leaves, destroying the plant gradually until it finally dies. The female inserts a tube into the pad to obtain nourishment, and secretes a white, web-like, wax-based material over the area for camouflage and to prevent quick desiccation.

In April 2015, John Weller from Ol Jogi Conservancy, together with Dr. Arne Witt from the Centre For Agriculture And Biosciences (CABI); Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu, Director General of NEMA, local government and community group representatives officially launched the first public release of the Cochneal after 2 years of intense trials.

When addressing those in attendance during the 24th April function, Dr. Arne Witt from CABI emphasised the important role those local communities will play in the success of the project, encouraging those in attendance to communicate any changes as a result of the introduction of the bug in their respective areas.

Invasive species is an international problem, and quite rightly so, as it is estimated that the damage caused worldwide by these species now stands at a warping USD$1 trillion.

LWF plans to include invasive species management and eradication as part of its future rangelands management programming in Laikipia.