Sustainable Tourism must be the by-word for Destination Laikipia

The group of talented Kenyan photographers, videographers, film makers and bloggers are joined by John Kin’gori (LTA – extreme right) and Paul Kimirilaiyanta (Laikipia County’s Tourism Officer 2nd in right) (through ProKraft Africa)

Laikipia’s Governor, H.E Nderitu Muriithi is going full steam ahead to craft Destination Laikipia. According to his manifesto, the Governor commits to making Laikipia a leading wildlife tourism destination, preferred choice for establishing holiday homes, preferred weekend rest and relaxation destination, and preferred conferencing destination.

The CEC of Trade, Tourism and Cooperative Development – Nicholas Biwott Tirop, is working closely with the Laikipia Tourism Association (established by LWF’s Membership) in order to support this commitment.

The Laikipia Challenge

We have already started to witness the dedication from the County in support of Laikipia’s tourism sector through events such as the Laikipia Challenge being spear- headed by #SemaLaikipia – a subsidiary of the Destination Laikipia brand. Scheduled to take place on 25th November, the Laikipia Challenge represents the first of many events aimed at inviting tourists back into the county. The Laikipia Challenge is unique in that it has cleverly intertwined community engagement with an amateur off road challenge from Nanyuki through to Luonyiek. Participants will be visiting local communities along the way with the aim of experiencing Laikipia like they have never experienced it before.

For many Tourism operators in Laikipia, the latter part of 2016 and most of 2017 has been punishing on businesses. Local communities too have felt the brunt of the tourism slow-down as many businesses cannot engage communities with no visitors walking through their doors. Insecurity and skewed perceptions have seen dwindling numbers of tourists (mostly international) into the county, largely affecting ecotourism proprietors, as well as the County’s economy.

The LTA

To help tackle this, the Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) and Destination Laikipia are currently leading a group of talented Kenyan photographers, videographers, film makers and bloggers (through ProKraft Africa) across the Laikipian landscape, with the objective of collating content that will support the marketing and branding of DL. These same platforms will make it much easier for travellers and investors in planning their Laikipia experience. But all this will be extremely hard to actualise without the dedicated engagement of private and public stakeholders. To plan way forward, the LTA and DL through the Laikipia County Government have organised a Laikipia Tourism Engagement Forum scheduled to take place on 24th November at Sportsmans Arms from 9am.

County Sustainable Tourism Legislation and Development

We are still very hopeful that Kenya’s first county Tourism Bill, prepared by a County Task Force, and recommended by the County Executive Committee, will be reviewed in order to ratify the Bill. The Bill provides the framework for sustainable tourism development in the County, and calls for an inter-departmental body to coordinate tourism development among County Government departments. It also makes provision for a Public-Private County Tourism Board and adoption of the 10- Year Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

It is now almost 3 years since we started this process in support of sustainable tourism development in Laikipia County. With a new County team in place and renewed energy from the sector, this is bound to happen in the near future.

To apply for membership into the LTA or enquiries on the work being carried out by the Association, please contact John Kin’gori (Secretary) or Wangari Wachira (Chair) on: tourismlaikipia@laikipia.org

Kenyans Get a Guide To The Water Act

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP), with support from the IFC and WRG 2030, have officially released a simplified version of the new Water Act 2016.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Water through the Cabinet Secretary, Eugene Wamalwa, the Guide To The Water Act will strengthen the engagement between counties, WRUA members and surrounding communities in the daily management of the available water resources.

The new law calls for local level participation in water management to ensure sustainable and equitable water use for all citizens. This GUIDE takes the legislation and focuses on the 100 most important aspects of the law that every Kenyan citizen should know.

The Guide To The Water Act is an innovation. It empowers all water users in guiding them as to their rights as well as their corresponding responsibilities towards ensuring the rights of others.”     Eugene Wamalwa

Launched on 15th November during the Kenya 2030WRG 5th Governing Board Meeting, the GUIDE was welcomed by numerous stakeholders, most operating outside MKEWP’s boundaries but all united through a vision to bring about sustainable solutions surrounding water access, use and management.

Vimal Shah, Chairman of Bidco Africa Ltd, and who co-chairs the WRG2030 Board with Mr. Wamalwa, further emphasised the importance of MKEWP’s initiative saying, “We must now stop blaming each other about the management of our water resources and instead work together in finding solutions. What the Partnership (MKEWP) has accomplished is fantastic and we must start looking at strengthening our relationships with platforms such as these. We should be able to replicate the MKEWP model across the country!”.

Laikipia Wildlife Forum (Secretariat to the MKEWP) supports the partnership in these efforts and supervised production of the GUIDE. The Partnership will distribute the GUIDE to members in January 2018 during the MKEWP 2018 Membership drive.

For more information about how you can join and work with the MKEWP, please contact Stanley Kirimi (MKEWP’s Coordinator) on stanley.kirimi@laikipia.org

0726 500260.

 

#MajiYetuJukumuLetu

 

The LRVC Update

John Gitonga (in a black hat) from LWF, leads a team of volunteers in marking centres as well public announcements about the ongoing vaccination campaign.

The Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign (LRVC) 2017 has now been on the road for three weeks and we cannot be grateful enough to all the volunteers and support from stakeholders and participating County Governments for making the campaign successful thus far. Launched at the Mpala Research Centre earlier this month by Laikipia’s CEC of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr. Lucy Murugi, and Director (of the same Ministry) Dr. Thuo Mathenge, the LRVC 2017 set out to vaccinate 10, 000 dogs and cats across Laikipia with a primary focus of vaccinating animals from pastoralist communities.

We now stand at: Over 3, 800 dogs and cats have been vaccinated and over 30 communities around Laikipia’s vast lands have been visited. We still have 2 more weekends to go and we are optimistic that we will reach our goal with your continued support.

MPESA:

Select the MPESA service On Your Phone

Select Lipa Na MPESA

Select Pay Bill

Enter Business Number: 991503

When asked for Account Name: Please Type In Your Full Name

Donate

For bank transfers, please use:

Bank: Stanbic Bank

Account Number: 0100004071926

Swift Code:

Account Name: Laikipia Wildlife Forum

For more information, please contact John Gitonga on John.Gitonga@laikipia.org

Laikipia Wildlife Forum will be working with the LRVC, led by Mpala Research Centre, and will keep you up to date on this very important initiative.

Rabies is an almost invariably fatal disease for both humans and animals. Vaccination of domestic animals is a critical step that we should all participate in for the protection of domestic animals, our already fragile wildlife population and most importantly, public health.

LWF celebrates 25 years and Adopts a New Strategic Plan

LWF Staff, old and new, as well as members of the board blow out candles during LWF’s 25th Anniversary

The LWF Board of Directors and members at the Annual General Meeting unanimously approved the New Strategic Plan for the organisation on November 18, 2017. The mission of LWF includes a greater focus on the interconnectivity of counties in the greater Laikipia landscape, and encourages us to look at natural resources conservation and management challenges at scale.

Changes to LWF include:

  • A new Board of Directors: A broader and more representative participation from Laikipia organisations and associations to the BOARD of LWF from the greater Laikipia Landscape.
  • Appointment of an Advisory Council: A group of influential and supportive patrons who are capable of providing guidance, access to funding, and advocacy for issues that impact the greater Laikipia landscape.
  • Redefinition of our articles of incorporation and even, perhaps, a name change.
  • The existing Board of Directors will oversee the transition to the new governance structure during the first quarter of 2018. This will be addressed by the new Board of Directors in the first quarter of 2018.

The framework of the Strategic Plan can be found here: LWF Strategic Plan

Happy Anniversary LWF!

LWF also celebrated 25 years of operations, and remains the only forum of many established in the 90s. With some 10,000 active members as part of LWF, the Forum remains a vital part of the bigger Laikipia landscape, and is an important tool to address our common concerns over natural resources management in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro basin system – with wildlife, water, rangelands and land use paramount among these.

LWF was created in response to an initiative by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to engage landowners and land users in the conservation and management of wildlife in non-protected areas. Since its inception in 1992 there has been a significant expansion of localised conservation effort and expertise in relation to wild animals. Whilst wildlife remains central to the conservation effort, LWF has taken an increasingly holistic approach with emphasis on cross-cutting environmental issues that affect larger sections of the population.

The AGM took the opportunity to remember some of the key individuals and employees over the years who helped to make the Forum a success. 

You can walk with us down memory lane through our social media platforms following the conversation: #LWFat25

 

 

In Plane Sight – The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count Takes Off!

On November 20th, approximately 15 aircraft took to the skies marking the beginning of the 9-day Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count. Pilots, observers, conservationists, county and national government representatives attended the opening ceremony presided by Judy Wakhungu – Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, and acting Director General of KWS, Julius Kimani.

This very important census will systematically survey the counties of Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, and parts of Meru county from the air. The collated information will then be compared to past aerial survey counts of wildlife, livestock, land use, and human settlements. Comparing the information helps us to evaluate the success of our landscape and species conservation efforts and will provide us with information on where we might concentrate future conservation resources.

During the flagging-off of airplanes at Shaba National Reserve, the CS called for stronger collaboration between county governments when looking to implement action driven agendas in support of our natural resources that include rangelands and wildlife. “Our wildlife and the management of our natural resources know no boundaries. We must all work together in protecting our Kenyan heritage. It is very encouraging to see such an effort being made”, said CS Wakhungu.

The start of the survey also represented a great opportunity for those of us in conservation to share accomplishments as well as engage with colleagues from neighbouring counties. We would like to thank the following organisations for participating in the exhibition.

  1. Born Free Kenya
  2. Ewaso Lions
  3. Giraffe Conservation Foundation
  4. Grevy’s Zebra Trust
  5. Laikipia Wildlife Forum
  6. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
  7. Marsabit County
  8. Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership
  9. Mount Kenya Trust
  10. NRT
  11. NRTT
  12. The Great Grevy’s Rally 2018
  13. Save the Elephants
  14. Space for Giants

KWS, DRSRS and volunteer pilots with their planes, as well as observers, will be working tirelessly over the next 9 days to complete the exercise. This KWS led initiative is supported by the US Government through USAID, and will see a total count of elephants, buffaloes, Grevy’s Zebras and Reticulated Giraffe in the greater northern landscape of Kenya.

This year’s count will focus on these four charismatic and endangered species in an effort to establish their total numbers. The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count includes an area of more than 65,516.96 sq. kilometres and will take 9 full days (at a minimum) to cover by aircraft.

Northern Kenya is singularly one of Kenya’s great wildlife conservation areas. Wildlife survives here because of the support of its residents, including land use that encourages or tolerates wildlife.

For more information, please contact Dr. Shadrack Ngene at SNgene@kws.go.ke

LWF will be keep you updated on the results of the count. Stay tuned.