LWF 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit us at the LWF offices located off the Nanyuki – Meru highway just after the ASK Showgrounds, along the Likii River. Onward!