KWCA – LWF Partnership to strengthen sustainable land use

The Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) is the premiere body for advocacy and lobbying on behalf of conservancies at the national level. A conservancy is private or community land registered and managed for purposes of sustainable wildlife management and compatible land uses for better livelihoods.

Conservancies are a recognized land use under the Kenyan Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, making them an attractive option for communities and landowners. They offer improved land and resource rights but in order to receive the benefits from these rights, landowners would have to be registered as a conservancy with KWS, which unfortunately is not yet open. There are 12 regional associations of conservancies that form the basis for KWCA membership. Laikipia is one of these regional associations and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum represents all conservancies in Laikipia to the KWCA.


Under an agreement with KWCA, LWF will pay the KWCA conservancy membership fees each year as part of the fees paid for membership by LWF. This should make it easier for all conservancies in Laikipia, as there will be only one payment each year for membership in LWF and KWCA. KWCA and LWF continue to work closely on issues related to policy, legislation, and regulations impacting conservancies. This strengthens the lobbying group that includes: NRT, Tusk Trust, Amboseli, Mara, and Taita Taveta clusters of conservancies, and others. The total number of conservancies in Kenya amounts to more than 140 in these 12 regional associations. County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees (CWCCCs) will soon play a more significant role in the support and oversight of conservancies in each county. We will be keeping you informed through regular updates on the Laikipia CWCCC and our work with KWCA.

A New Water Partnership Forged for Mt. Kenya and the Upper Ewaso Ngiro Basin

What’s in a Partnership?

The three counties of Meru, Laikipia and Nyeri have joined with the Mt. Kenya sub-basin water actors to solve water problems shared by its citizens. Flower farmers, green growers, WRUAs, researchers, and other water actors are coming together to identify, discuss and take action on common water problems in this area.

The driver for this partnership has been the increasing water insecurity being faced by all water users within the upper basin. Within the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin, water resources are under extreme pressure due to small-holder and commercial irrigation activities. Although commercial growers have diversified water sources from rivers to rainwater storage and groundwater, the dry season river flows continue to trend downwards despite concerted efforts by WRMA, WRUAs and the commercial growers. Failure to manage the shared resources puts existing businesses, livelihoods and the environment at risk. In addition to water being a basic human right in our Constitution, we are constraining any future, sustainable, economic development.

These water user actors within the region have agreed to form a public-private partnership named the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP). This is an important platform for all stakeholders within the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Basin to engage constructively in water resource use and management. It provides a mechanism by which water access, use, management and conservation is addressed collectively in the basin.

Water partnership

Governance of the MKEWP

Membership of the MKEWP is drawn from water stakeholders that include: County governments, Water Resources Management Authority, Nonprofi t Institutions, Private Sector water resource users, Water Resources Users Associations, parastatals, private land owners, water services and sanitation service providers, research organisations, fi nancial institutions and non-voting members. The actions and activities of the Partnership are governed by 15 Council members drawn from the constituent members. This council is lead by a Chairperson and a vice chairperson who are elected by the Council.

The council is served by a secretariat to help it in carrying out its mandate. LWF has been selected to serve as the Partnership secretariat for the next three years.

Growing the Partnership Momentum

Since the inception meeting held on 9th December 2016 at Lions Court Inn, Nanyuki, the partnership has held 5 meetings to develop the idea. A 10-member committee was formed to develop the Partnership Charter and Terms of Reference. This document defines the goals, purpose, principles and modalities of the partnership. It was adopted in June 2016 by its members.

Already the first Council meeting has been conducted in July, with members unanimously electing Eng. J. Maina, Director for Water Services, Laikipia County as the Chairman. The Vice Chair will be appointed by the Private Sector. The Council has already formed the following committees: Fundraising, Launch, and Project Management. These committees will work with the Secretariat to:

a) Secure funding for the Partnership in the next 3 years. The Kenya Water Resources Group 2030 has indicated their support for the Partnership and the secretariat functions.

b) Launch of the Partnership, which is planned for October 2016.

c) Oversee the implementation of Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) Project. This is a climate adaptation project funded by NCF that would benefit WRUAs and Water Service Providers. It will be administered through the MKEWP.

The Secretariat of the MKEWP will be housed within the LWF compound and includes the same set of services extended to similar associations and membership stakeholders in Laikipia under its new strategic plan. The next 6 months are crucial for the Partnership as it embarks on securing funding for its core activities, prepares for the Launch, and begins to identify and prioritise key water projects within the Basin for funding.

Wild Class: Conservation Education Update

The Laikipian landscape protects wildlife because people build land-use models that are multi-dimensional. They include ranching, tourism, real-estate, farming, forestry, horticulture, water and energy management. This makes Laikipia the most ideal place to learn how all these pieces fi t together and accommodate wildlife! Wild Class is all about supporting business models implemented by Conservation Education (CE) destinations that have chosen CE as a wise land use. Its about celebrating the fact that conservation really is cool in Laikipia because in this county, wildlife conservation is the result of people either intentionally managing land for wildlife, or people tolerating wildlife, because the benefi ts outweigh the challenges.


CE is another form of land use for Laikipia. Like so many of the other creative ways to use land and conserve wildlife, CE is another tool that enhances the value of the land. By presenting it as conservation education “tourism”, Wild Class has found another way to bring value to the land, wildlife and the people who live in Laikipia. Currently, Wild Class has 10 destinations namely: Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Mpala Research Centre, Ol Jogi Conservancy, Loisaba Conservancy, Mt. Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, Mt. Kenya Trust, Ol Lentille Conservancy, Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Segera Conservancy and Lewa Conservancy, who each play a leading role in mega-fauna conservation, cultural conservation and conservation of really important endangered species such as rhino, elephant, cheetah, Grevy’s zebras and wild dogs. Wild Class will soon be launching 10 promotional video clips celebrating these conservation education destinations that have joined forces to market Laikipia as a conservation education destination and learning environment for school students from a radius of 200-250 km of Laikipia. Another market segment will target tertiary education institutions at home and abroad.

“Each one of these Conservation Education destinations also has something unique in its off ering and off ers visiting school groups structured learning in safe environments and an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Wild Class is also about Kenyan school kids supporting Kenyan school kids! Imagine a system where for every shilling spent on a Wild Class organised excursion, 50% of the revenue goes into supporting local learning opportunities. And so as each CE destination develops their CE off ering as an enterprise – an
income-generating platform for conservancies where profi ts drive conservation education and learning for local Laikpians, so is this Laikipian dream realised.

LWF, together with its membership, is emerging as a Conservation Education enterprise leader and “incubator”, providing each destination with advisory services on developing their conservancies as a Wild Class destination, and helping them to develop and plan and secure fi nancing to serve this model. LWF joins business skills with leading conservation education programming, experiential learning, and green facilities design and operations – showing how sustainable living and wildlife conservation can be combined. In addition to being a conservation education incubator, LWF will also serve as a clearinghouse for interested schools. Need a tailored curriculum based on a Wild Class off ering? We can help! Need us to help make bookings? We can help! Need a concerted marketing and promotion campaign?

Well, each of the Wild Class CE destinations is a living “Wild Class-room” accommodating a set of learning that is unique to that destination. Much like lodges are developed to host tourists, each one seeking to be more unique than the other, Wild Class destinations will host learning in creative and novel ways, meeting the demand of Kenyan schools to complement curricula with hands-on learning. This model is designed to be self-sustaining and presents an opportunity to look at conservation education as a
legitimate enterprise where experiential learning is paramount, and where profi ts immediately and directly benefi t others in the great Laikipia landscape.

Stay tuned for more updates on WILD CLASS on line at www., with a new Wild Class website coming soon!

Should you need to engage with us directly, please send an e-mail to

Bringing Back “Forumness”: The Making of the New Laikipia Wildlife Forum


Bringing back Forum-ness


A productive and robust Ewaso landscape that supports dynamic, sustainable livelihoods and healthy populations of wildlife.

To nurture and reinforce stakeholder institutions that can support wildlife conservation and sustainable natural resources management in Laikipia and among its immediate neighbours.

To help make LWF representative of these stakeholder groups, and to form a more inclusive and equitable FORUM, we propose:

  • Ewaso Landscape Council
    This is the mechanism through which county government, donors and regional programs can help us address the landscape issues of water, wildlife and rangelands outside of Laikipia. Members of the LWF Board would participate in this Council.
  • The LWF Board
    The revised Board of Directors of LWF would be selected from among the seven different stakeholder groups. At least two members of these groups would be elected to the Board and represent the different stakeholder issues and priorities. The FORUM is thus used as the tool to address issues between these groups, across the landscape.
  • The LWF/FORUM Secretariat
    The LWF Secretariat would change from an implementer of projects to a more supportive role to
    members. We would advocate and lobby for membership issues. We would catalyse and coordinate. We would provide technical guidance, and form a much more comprehensive clearing house of information for our landscape priorities. The Secretariat would provide a technical programme officer for each of these stakeholder groups, while also providing supporting services (admin and financial management) to each stakeholder group. Funds would be raised from members and donors to support these groups and their projects and programmes. The Secretariat would also provide monitoring, reporting, and accountability for donors and to membership. We would become a strong centre for conservation and sustainability.

LWF is changing: Proposed Strategic Plan 2016 – 2030

LWF StrategyLWF has been forced to rethink its role as a membership organisation as a result of strategic planning and the end of present donor funding. For the last eight months, LWF has conducted more than 40 meetings with members and stakeholders in and around Laikipia to learn more about the issues they face, the services they receive from LWF, and the future they want to see.

These stakeholders included: Laikipia ranchers/ land users, conservancies, CBOs and community groups, conservation partners, donors, and County Governments. Their feedback on LWF is summarised here.


  • LWF is viewed as a respected, important organisation that for many years has brought diverse parties and neighbours together. We call it “FORUMNESS”; a “forum” where all voices are welcomed, common interests identified, and solutions crafted.
  • A trusted advocate for land use between different stakeholders and communities.
  • Plays an especially important role in devolution and with the National Government.
  • Capable of bringing external resources and attention to the region, so communities and members receive far more than they pay in membership dues.


  • LWF has become too much of an NGO – an implementer of projects rather than a membership organisation.
  • In general, smallholder members believe LWF’s priorities are skewed toward large private ranchers (toward wildlife over people)
  • Many private ranches feel that LWF donor funding is going to smallholders without benefits to them.
  • The word “wildlife” has become highly negative in local communities who see few associated benefits.
  • Not enough energy and effort put into programme and project planning with stakeholders, particularly communities.
  • Our system of voluntary unit directors and community liaison officers is not working well.
  • Our board needs to include more diverse and representative members.


  • Forging of stronger County ties – Devolution highlights the need for a local institution to influence and advocate for government funds and to shape priorities.
  • There is a strong interest by some key ranchers to model new approaches for maximising public benefits from private lands.
  • Conservation Education Enterprise model as a income generator and land use
  • We need to capitalise on our strong programming pillars of water, wildlife conservation and rangelands. These are critically linked for the future of Laikipia.


  • Extremely diverse LWF membership means that all voices are not equal nor equally heard.
  • Increasing large scale threats from incoming people, livestock and infrastructure.
  • Not enough close ties with County government planning, budgeting, and expenditure.
  • Tendency to protect lands using tools that cut off wildlife movement.
  • Failure to address interconnected natural resources conservation and management across county lines and at landscape levels.

Thus, LWF’s new Strategic Plan proposal will focus on landscape level issues of water, rangelands and wildlife in the Upper Ewaso Basin.

LWF will become primarily a “service “ organisation supporting at least seven distinct associations of Laikipians. These seven groups are not all equal, but they are all important to address the priority issues for Laikipia. They are also key to the programming and management of issues across individual, group and county lines.

The Forum will eventually grow to serve as a secretariat that supports the administrative and management costs of these seven focal associations. They will identify and implement future projects, with LWF assistance.

The Mt. Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership, The Laikipia Unity Initiative, and WILD CLASS are set to receive support and funding; while the other partnerships are seeking funds from local, national and international sources.

Approval of the new LWF Strategic Plan (20162030) will result in:

  • Possible Name change – many people want to see a name that reflects our environmental, conservation or natural resources focus. Wildlife is too narrow.
  • Possible change in registration as a TRUST. This is based on the best legal advice
  • Changes to our articles of association to accommodate a new, more representative Board drawn from at least 7 stakeholder associations
  • The introduction of an Ewaso Landscape Council that will encourage and support dialog and actions across the landscape.
  • Appointment of LWF staff to spearhead new roles in the secretariat, providing leadership and technical support to each stakeholder group equally.
  • Development of LWF as a strong advocacy and lobbying centre, an information clearing house, and communications hub on relevant topics in support of all types of LWF membership.

We welcome your continued feedback. Please send comments to: or or visit us at the LWF offices located off the Nanyuki – Meru highway just after the ASK Showgrounds, along the Likii River. Onward!

What we’ve learned from strategic planning

For more than 8 months, the LWF Secretariat has been listening hard to what people want, and what people need from LWF. More than 40 meetings have informed our assessment of LWF’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The results are positive and illuminating! Here is what emerged:

Different members have very different needs. It’s hard to imagine one organisation meeting all these needs.

  • Acknowledge these differences and give the most important stakeholders in our Mission and Vision a voice, and a platform to express their needs with more equal voices.
  • Help develop institutions that can represent members more equitably. One size does not fit all.
  • Focus on overlapping concerns between stakeholders. These are grass/ rangelands, wildlife, and water.
  • Improve our ability to advocate for productive land uses that support and result in all aspects of nature being conserved.
  • There are strong ‘neighbourhoods’ in Laikipia. These should be nurtured and supported.
  • We need more and stronger County Government engagement in our planning and programs.
  • Strengthen our local partnerships so that we don’t replicate activities and duplicate resources. This confuses members.

As a result of these meetings, many members have suggested a change of name for LWF. This comes from feelings that wildlife is not the focus of our efforts, but that wildlife conservation is the result of our efforts. For many members, there is still a weak connection between wildlife, wildlife conservation, and benefits.

Some have suggested calling LWF just the Laikipia Forum. Others have suggested the Laikipia Mazingira Forum, as this is a more representative name for our interests, mission, and vision. That name change is up to the membership.

LWF’s Achievements in the Upper Ewaso Landscape

In order to keep Members and Donors informed, Laikipia Wildlife Forum has always reported on a set of measurements that record the impact of donor funds on key programme themes each year. These reports form the basis of LWF’s monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Between 2011 to mid 2016, LWF reported to donors on 8 thematic areas: Wildlife Conservation, Forest Management, Water Resources Management, Peace and Security, Tourism, Conservation Enterprise, Environmental Education, and Rangelands Management. The following is the measure of success from these programmes between 2010 and 2016.

Area under Conservation Management This is a big indicator of LWF’s overall programme success. The land under conservation management is the area secured for biodiversity conservation.

These are areas that were newly secured, specifically for conservation purposes such as: conservancies, community conservation areas, community forest areas and community wetlands and, for which there is a formal agreement. These areas have been demarcated and mapped and have management plans that are being implemented. It also means that a management structure exists. As a result of our efforts the area under conservation management has increased by 6.9% from 2011 to 2016 in Laikipia.

Support to Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs), Holistic Management/Rangelands and Community Forest Associations (CFAs) all contributed to the achievement of this result.

The WRUAs have Sub Catchment Management Plans (SCMPs) which guide them on management of water resources within the sub-catchment areas.

Ewaso NyiroWater Programme contributions

  • 29 Number of LWF-supported WRUAs across the Ewaso landscape.
  • 7 Common water intakes (Catchment 711, KithaeneMwenda Andu, Koija Akorino, Ontulili, Embaringo, Pesi, and Galilee) have been built, completed and commissioned.
  • 15 Rivers that have benefitted from significant reduction of cultivation along river banks as a result of pegging and demarcation of riparian areas along the river.
  • 15 Springs (Kiambogo, Gathimindire, Squatter, Lariak, Kangumo, Lorangai, Ole Murijo) have been protected.

Range landForest Programme contributions

  • 14 Capacity building was carried out in 14 communities on tree nurseries, tree seedlings propagation, reforestation and alternative fuel forms and types.
  • 150,000 LWF coordinated the planting of 150,000 seedlings across Laikipia in schools and communities.

Rangeland Programme contributions

RangelandLWF has worked with 14 Community Forest Associations (CFAs) across the Ewaso Landscape. All were supported to create either new or to update existing Participatory Forest Management Plans (PFMP) and sign Forest Management Agreements (FMA) with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).

  • 12 Grazing committees were formed and are implementing grazing resource management plans.
  • 4 Holistic management committees formed and trained.
  • 66% Percentage by which cattle increased between 2012 and 2016.
  • 44% Percentage increase of sheep and goats over the same period.

LWF Rangelands Programme was implemented by Natural Capital, East Africa. As a contractor, Natural Capital used a Maa speaking team to implement Holistic Management practices pioneered first in Zimbabwe

Number of Officially Recorded Incidents of Conflict Mitigated and Managed

Number of elephants poached in the Ewaso landscape has decreased significantly. The decrease can be attributed to much improved conservation of elephant populations on private lands, better anti-poaching efforts, and the better protection of elephant corridors. Other activities that have contributed to this decrease include:

  • LWF and other stakeholders, such as Space of Giants, private ranches and community fence committees have supported the maintenance of key kilometers of electric elephant fence. Six fence management committees have been formed and are operational.
  • Conflicts over natural resources in the Ewaso Landscape have been increasing in frequency and severity. This includes water (4 deaths), Human-elephant (14 deaths), Human-Human over pasture (92 deaths). The intensity in natural resource conflicts reached an all time high during the severe dry period of 2015, when 52 deaths were recorded and can be attributed to human-human conflicts and human wildlife conflicts.

Livestock numbers during this same reporting period increased significantly. These statistics highlight how increased resource demands partly contribute to this increase in conflicts.

Range lnd

Policy and Strategic Planning Contributing to More Effective Conservation Management

During this same period, we also developed Laikipia County Strategies for:

  • Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Laikipia County 2012 – 2030
  • Forest Conservation and Management Strategy 2013 – 2030
  • Water Conservation Strategy for Laikipia County 2014 – 2018
  • Contributions of a Rural Economy to Laikipia County – September 2013

LWF also played an integral role in the development of the DRAFT Laikipia Tourism Master Plan 2016 – 2025.