LWF is happy to present a strong organisation, with a returning, robust membership of close to 6, 000 individuals. Our membership renewal efforts and your support in 2015 has resulted in membership fees of more than Ksh 2.75M – more than three times the average LWF membership revenue of any previous year.
The LWF team of 30 is divided between our headquarters in Nanyuki and 5 Laikipia County management units and all address the Forum’s 8 programme areas.
The 5 strong, active Unit Directors: Anne Powys for Northern Unit; Mike Roberts for Eastern Unit; John Horsey for Central Unit; Robert Kariuki for Western Unit; Kimani Kuria for Ewaso Nyiro Unit, continue to volunteer their expertise and time to the Forum.
Sitting on the Forum’s Board is Chairman Peter Waweru, the Executive Director, and representatives from the County Government, BATUK, KWS, the Laikipia Tourism/Investors sector, and the Mpala Research Centre.
We celebrate in particular, our growing relationship with the Laikipia County Government in the following areas:
• Appointment of the County Secretary for Tourism, Trade, and Cooperative Development, Jane Putunoi to the LWF Board
• LWF’s participation in the County Task Force on the West Laikipia Fence, and at the request of the Governor, a review of the community engagement and support for the Rumuruti Forest Fence.
• Support for the nation’s first County-level bill in support of Sustainable Tourism
• Support for the nation’s first County-level Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.
• Close coordination with the County Government on the formation of a National Resource Management (NRM) secretariat to advise County Government on NRM and Climate Change
• Close work with the County Commissioner on the documentation and impacts of Human/Wildlife Conflict and Human/Human incidences of conflict over natural resources and property.
• Close collaboration on funding and capacity building necessary to support our WRUAs, water conservation, water management rules, and watershed management.
• Formation of a cross-county integrated water conservation and management partnership (Nyeri, Meru, and Laikipia Counties) that also includes the private sector and membership organisations like LWF and Mt. Kenya Trust.
• Renewable Energy Conference – sponsored by LWF and co-hosted by the German Chamber of Commerce and the Laikipia County Government, to address opportunities for renewable energy investment and technology options for Laikipia’s energy needs.
Let us also take this opportunity to acknowledge our Laikipia, Regional, National and International Partners:
First the different groups that include CFAs, WRUAS, Schools, Enterprise Groups and Fence Committees You are the stewards of our environment on which your livelihoods depend.
Second, our landowners – both private and community – you are the backbone of the Forum.
Third – we are proud to work with our County/Regional partners: Zeitz Foundation, Laiconar, KWS, KFS, WRMA, Northern Rangelands Trust and Northern Rangelands Trust – Trading (NRT/NRT-T), Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CETRAD, Mt. Kenya Trust, Space for Giants, Grevy Zebra Trust
Fourth – our national and international partners: The Nature Conservancy, African Wildlife Foundation, The International Conservation Caucus Foundation, African Conservation Centre, EcoTourism Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association and Kenya Wildlife Service
Last but no means least our Donors: United States Agency for International Development and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Water – With the generous support of USAID, the programme supported 3 WRUA’s with office operations by providing them with office equipment (desks, laptops and printers), 2 benefited from the construction of common water intakes, and 60 water metres were installed for 8 WRUAs that also benefited from capacity building. There were also forums formed for WRUAs that aimed at resolving water use conflict during the dry spell experienced in 2015.
Rangelands – Despite the closure of the Holistic Management component led by Natural Capital, the LWF Rangelands Programme continued to contribute to: the Grazing Task Force and development of a more comprehensive approach to grazing management in Laikipia (with NRT-T and Space for Giants); Rangelands Outreach Team dedicated to addressing issues of peace and security stemming from a massive incursion of people and livestock from outside the county; participation in inter-county and international forums dedicated to livestock management, pastoralism, and natural resources management (with the assistance of FAO and others); and conduct of an impact evaluation of the effectiveness of the holistic management programme in Laikipia group ranches.
Forests – the Forest Programme largely focused on law enforcement and capacity building . In 2015 LWF supported 7 CFAs with forest scouts uniforms, 2 CFAs were trained on start-up of ecotourism enterprises and 1 CFA was assisted to renew their forest management plan. Plans are still afoot to identify and develop a cost-effective forest guard training programme that can be replicated at county levels.
Wildlife – While procurement delays within County Government meant little progress was made on the Rumuruti and West Laikpia Elephant Fence projects, the Wildlife Programme made headway on policy, legislation, and law enforcement components of its portfolio. LWF contributed to many discussions and drafts of the 23 WCMA regulations and orders that interpret the act. Our analysis of the effectiveness of community managed electric fences in Laikipia (apart from the West Laikipia Fence) illustrates the general failure of community managed electric fences to control human wildlife conflict or illegal encroachment by livestock.
Conservation Enterprise – this year we closed Desert Edge Bio-Trading Ltd. The Company failed to make any money, was a financial burden to LWF, and after five years was unable to demonstrate a successful business venture. Desert Edge assets were sold to recover losses, and the company moved to formal closure. Conservation Enterprise groups continued to receive training in product production and marketing until the end of September 2015. All efforts are focused on helping enterprise group’s transition to more sustainable products and better markets. In 2015 the program worked with 12 community enterprise groups.
Environmental Education – the Programme continued to provide school excursions for primary and secondary schools in Laikipia to local conservancies. In 2015, 79 schools were assisted, with a total of 1, 744 pupils that included 1, 100 boys and 644 girls. Moreover, the Programme developed and offered tailored guide training for the Forum’s conservancies and ranches with guiding/educational programmes. This was the first time local talent was harnessed in favour of this important service. A total of 17 local guides from Laikipia conservancies were trained on current methods of disseminating environmental education content.
The environmental education programme is addressing the long-term sustainability of its outreach support to local schools and other stakeholders. Expect major new programming to commence in 2016.
Tourism – The Tourism programme underwent a significant transition this year, as it focused less on tourism promotion and marketing for Laikipia facilities, and more on the development of an enabling environment for tourism business with County Government. Our two biggest achievements were the joint development of the nation’s first county tourism bill and the nation’s first county-focused tourism master plan. Both efforts help to focus the County as a centre of sustainable tourism with appropriate incentives, governance, branding and marketing. Eco Tourism Kenya and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Standards provided guidance. The Laikipia County Sustainable Tourism Bill will be enacted early in 2016.
Peace and Security – All our efforts in 2015 were focused on issues related to human-wildlife conflicts, and human-livestock conflicts. Our staff and CLOs provided advice, conflict mitigation and management support, reporting, and watch-dog/advocacy efforts to identify and manage natural resource access and use conflicts throughout the landscape. Most efforts were focused on rangelands and grass access on private lands, but other efforts include work with WRUAs to ensure downstream water access, wildlife compensation sensitization, and support to the newly formed County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees.
Other – There are three other noteworthy items to report for 2015:
1. LWF is a Board Member of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association – a membership organisation supporting the conservancy movement in Kenya. In that capacity, LWF joined KWCA and others to petition Government on a host of issues impacting community lands and land tenure legislation in Kenya. The results of these efforts are pending.
2. NRT and LWF formed a working relationship on matters related to water conservation and management, Mukugodo Forest, rangelands, and the conservancy movement in Laikipia. We can expect many more joint efforts related to these themes and others in 2016.
3. LWF launches the Laikipia Unity Landscape. With the support of key LWF members, LWF has launched an effort for conservation at a landscape level in Laikipia. A majority of landowners have agreed to design and subscribe to a compact that will govern land use and management into the future and in keeping with revenue generation, employment, food production and conservation goals.
Strategic, Long Term, Sustainability
With the support of a USAID grant, we will use the period of January-June 2016 to analyse, discuss and deliberate our future as an organisation.
LWF will ensure that teams visit each of the LWF units, meet with landowners both large and small, and engage them in the development of LWF’s future. Other meetings will include other stakeholder groups in our landscape.
We will also address key programming areas like wildlife, rangelands, water, peace and security in an effort to determine our future role in this landscape.
Our new Membership Management System and Communications Department will generate information and SMS communication to keep you engaged in the process. Stay tuned for updates and a calendar of events through our website and Forum Focus.
By the closure of 2016, we can expect to have an LWF that is even more responsible and more capable of achieving its Mission:
To conserve Laikipia’s Wildlife and Ecosystem integrity and to improve the lives of its people.