Significant progress is being made with the Mukogodo forest in Laikipia. The ILMAMUSI CFA is an organisation that has been charged with the daily management and protection of the indigenous forest. A number of key steps have been made to strengthen the CFA in recent months. The process was spearheaded by the LWF Community Liaison officer (CLO) for the Eastern Unit, in close consultation with all the other CFA partners: LWC, NRT, and BORANA.
In February 2016, four meetings were held in four locations, namely Il Ngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo (Kurikuri) and Sieku (Lekurruki). These meetings were aimed at bringing together Group ranch committee members and CBO Committee members in order to take them through the Participatory Forest Management plan (PFMP). The PRMP is the KFS and CFA signed management agreement for the Forest. They also reviewed and signed the KFS Act of 2005. This is the first time in the history of the CFA that these critical documents were discussed by these committees, and it brought a clear understanding of the contents of the documents and the structure of the ILMAMUSI CFA to both groups.
Following a thorough discussions with the Group ranches and CBO committees, it was decided that there was a serious need to train the CBO committee members. A total of 60 participants took part in the training. The aim of the training was to teach the CBOs about the requirements of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in the management of community forests. The Ilmamusi CFA agreement was signed in December of 2014. It ensured that the members understood their roles.
During the training, the CBO committees were able to fully understand and identify with the structural organization of the hierarchy of the CFA from the role of the CFA Board. The training also enabled the participants to map the forest resources found in their particular areas and also to identify the forest user-groups that exist in their respective areas.
In March and April this year, each respective CBO committee organised a community meeting in their area to pass on information about the training they received. This included information about the Forest management plan, Management agreement, and pertinent clauses of the KFS Act.
During these meetings it was apparent that a large number of community members do not fully understand how the ILMAMUSI CFA works as an organisation and have no idea of the CFA structure. These meetings enabled the majority of community members to understand the entities better.
More still needs to be done to strengthen the CFA and make its future even brighter. LWF will support a special general meeting between all the CFA partners. It will be a great opportunity for the CFA board to present important matters to its membership to allow the CFA move forward.
Awareness in the community has increased tremendously. More than ever, the majority of community members now understand the CFA structure. LWF and other Mukogodo partners want the CFA to succeed. But the CFA will increasingly need to take ownership of their own destiny and bring together the many voices and users of Mukogodo Forest under strong leadership. Mukogodo Forest is an important part of the north Laikipia neighbourhood. When this Forest is secured and conserved, all members of the neighbourhood will benefit, but a lot still needs to be done to strengthen the CFA and make it fully operational.
We remain very optimistic that if and when the Mukogodo forest’s full potential is realised, it will benefit the communities, wildlife as well as all of its the neighbours in a very big way.