LWF Management Units – The Strength That Lies Within

LWF has long used “5 Management Units” as a tool to keep in touch with its membership. Originally, unit boundaries were dictated by zebra hunting quotas – a convenient way to set limits in areas where wildlife utilisation was practiced. Unit boundaries were then changed to expand into areas that did not have wildlife, but included common land use characteristics – neighbourhoods with a common sense of values and shared priorities between large and small landowners.

LWF intends to maintain these five management units, namely Central, Western, Northern, Eastern and Ewaso Nyiro Unit. Each unit is led by a voluntary Unit Director selected from the residents of each geography, and approved by the Membership. Each Unit Director also serves on the LWF Board of Directors. The typical duration of any Unit Director is 2-4 years.

Each unit is also supported by at least one, if not 2 or 3 Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) whose duty is to maintain contact with members about their needs, priorities and issues, as well as LWF programs. In 2015, unit boundaries were used to focus on neighbourhoods with common land use needs and priorities.

More information about our units can be found on the Unit dedicated section on the website.

LWF Releases 2014 Financial Report And Supports Transparency

LWF’s Rivers and Wetlands Programme recorded the highest core costs and expenditure by the end of the Forum’s 2014 financial year, even though expenditure figures dropped from Kes33, 455,551 in 2013 to Kes23, 638,589 in 2014.

This drop in expenditure was predominantly due to the fact that the programme was running Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities that required less capital investment. James Mwangi, LWF’s Water Resources Management Programme Officer, emphasised that the activities implemented were of vital importance to communities within Laikipia, and marked improvement of livelihoods has been recorded. “Over 3, 000 households have gained access to improved drinking water as well as water to support income generating activities. Before this intervention most households would get water from illegal connections seriously affecting river flows. Now more households benefit through the regulation of water”, says Mwangi.

This edition of Forum Focus includes LWF’s 2014 expenditure report and will be the first time that LWF has made transparent its sources of funding and expenditure. This deliberate move is in support of LWF’s work over the last year and is a way in which the public is invited to know more about the Forum’s progress, operations and management within its units.

Lives of Laikipia

Laikipia is a land of true beauty, not just because of its undeniably unique natural resources but because it is a melting pot of communities from diverse backgrounds who add to the captivating portfolio of the entire landscape.

Lives Of Laikipia (LOL) is a new LWF project that celebrates this exact diversity, as well as demystify Laikipians to Kenyans and international audiences alike.  It looks candidly at all the different people that make conservation and sustainable natural resources management a success in Laikipia.

Working with LWF on the project was Brian L. Tan, a talented film production coordinator from Hollywood with a growing passion for photography. He recently dedicated his time to Laikipia in order to develop a documentary on fences as a key tool in mitigating Human Wildlife Conflict. He came across the LOL project and simply could not resist jumping on the bandwagon. “As a new visitor here, I wanted to use my photographic and cinemagraphic skills to help LWF and Laikipians celebrate their success and their diversity. There is so much diversity here – and it’s beautiful. There’s such a great group of people who don’t always realise they’re working towards the same goal. That’s what we want to showcase here”, says Brian.

Brian is known for his work on X-Men: First Class (2011), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and TRON: Legacy (2010).

Forum Focus will feature at least one interview from the Lives of Laikipia project every month.

LWF Strategic Planning set to begin in October 2015

For nearly 10 years now, LWF has received financial support from various donors, including the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN) and USAID. This support has been vitally important as it has allowed the Forum to carry out its various activities in support of its membership and Mission.

More recently, the Forum received a grant from USAID that will support a strategic planning exercise, scheduled to begin this October. The exercise will last for approximately 8 months. Peter Hetz, LWF’s Executive Director, hopes that this process will make clear LWF’s future and the role that the organisation plays in the conservation of Laikipia’s Natural Resources. “We will use the next 5-8 months to ask ourselves: What future do we want for Laikipia’s natural resources and its residents? What role should LWF play to realise those goals? How will LWF survive financially into the future? What role should LWF play with County Government and other Laikipian partners? All these questions, plus more will be addressed during our strategic planning”, says Hetz.

Forum Focus will keep all members updated on this process.

Membership Categories

There are various categories to choose from including: Corporate memberships – Kifaru, Ndovu, Simba and Chui as well as memberships for individuals, families, schools, community based organisations and forest associations. All members receive a special sign up package, which differ across categories.

For more information contact LWF’s membership on 0726 500 260 or at membership@laikipia.org.

The Forum’s quorum grows after membership drive

LWF’s membership grew noticeably in 2015 after concerted efforts were made towards increasing the number of organisations as well as individuals to the Forum.  During the month of August 2015, LWF embarked on its first membership drive, raising over Kes 2 million in subscription fees. These will go towards supporting activities and services delivered by the Forum within its 5 units. Membership fees also leverage donor funding!

“The Forum Needs Quorum” campaign begun on the first week of August, and was generously supported by members – those renewing and those joining for the first time. LWF has over 6,000 registered members and that number is growing, due to the increasing number of individuals, families, community members and organisations that believe strongly in the need for the development and implementation of sustainable natural resource management in their neighbourhoods.

Quorum translates to a stronger voice! This means that conservation issues have a greater chance of being heard. Our members are passionate about the management of Laikipia’s natural resources. They use the Forum to learn more about how they can be a part of conservation, as well as get information around the Forum’s 8 thematic programme areas”, says Grace Wanjiku, LWF’s Membership Coordinator.

Communications Makeover – A Whole New Look For LWF

The vitality of any membership organisation lies within its members. Communication channels therefore, should be open and easily accessible, as well as relevant and reliable. It is for this reason that LWF recently redefined its communications strategy that included taking strides to increase the Forum’s online presence, as well as overall brand development.

The new website, www.laikpia.org, now publishes regular, up-to-date information for members. Also featuring on the site is a section dedicated to “Unit Management”. Each unit section includes a profile with important information such as the names and contact details of key local and national government positions, as well as of information on CLOs and each of the Forum’s Unit Directors.

In addition, the installation of a new membership system provides for on-line payment for membership using M-Pesa and Pesapal. The system also facilitates in the distribution of targeted information to the various categories of members. We can now send SMS alerts to more than 6, 000 individual members of LWF, as well as send out information to the different membership categories.

Rangelands, Peace and Security – top agenda at LWF’s 2015 AGM

LWF held its 24th Annual General Meeting on the 10th of October 2015 with over 170 registered members attending the function that was held at the Nanyuki Sports Club. This year’s AGM focused on 2 overwhelming issues currently affecting Laikipia County and its residents – that of rangelands and the conflicts that arise over access to grass by people and livestock, and water conservation and management.

Members were invited to listen and ask questions about efforts driven by LWF to address rangelands and holistic management as a tool in rangelands management, and, eventual peace and security. A summary of these efforts were presented by LWF’s Rangelands Outreach Team during the AGM proceedings, while a poster exhibition during the Forum’s open day summarised 2015 achievements in each Unit.

LWF has more than 7 years experience in holistic management as a tool in rangelands management. Because of the key role that Laikipia plays in the greater Ewaso landscape livestock production system, it was important to review achievements and lessons learned. (download the full presentation here).

Forum Focus – LWF’s New Monthly Publication For Members

Welcome to the first edition of Forum Focus, LWF’s official Newsletter for registered members. This publication will keep you informed about the various activities being implemented by the Forum. It’s all about improving communications with our membership and the public.

This online version of Forum Focus also goes out in hard copy. We distribute 8, 000 copies of the newsletter each month in partnership with the County Times. 3, 000 copies go out as an insert in the newspaper, while the remaining 5,000 copies are distributed through CLOs to LWF’s membership.  This new partnership with County Times allows LWF to reach more people than we did with the previous Newsletter, and at more frequent intervals. It also supports local readers and businesses. Content is developed in collaboration with LWF staff, local reporters and partners, and is circulated within Laikipia and neighbouring Counties.

We encourage feedback, so please send any comments or questions about this publication to: joan.wandegi@laikipia.org.