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Cross-county efforts to spur economic development in region

AMAYA TRIANGLE

A member contributes during the regional workshop in Rumuruti

Everyone knows the National Disaster Emergency Agency (NDMA) as the organization leading the Government’s commitment to ending drought emergencies in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya. They are responsible for the monthly monitoring of conditions and early warning signs of drought in the Country. They guide drought preparedness and emergency relief.

The AMAYA Triangle Initiative (ATI) is the result of the collective intentions of 4 Counties and their Governors to bring peace, stability and economic development to the four corners of Baringo, Laikipia, Isiolo and Samburu Counties.

In a welcome partnership, the NDMA and ATI are leading this 4-county initiative.  At a regional workshop in Rumuruti at the beginning of October, representatives and partners from Baringo (Amaya ward), Laikipia (Sosian ward), Samburu (Seguta Marmar ward), and Isiolo (Ol Donyiro ward), completed the preliminary designs of development activities designed to turn these areas into a livestock enterprise zone – a tool in efforts to stabilize and bring economic development to this region.

We can expect project designs to be supported through the NDMA/European Union and procurement activities to begin early in 2018. Early activities for the ATI include water and livestock development, infrastructure, and more cross-county talks aimed at enhancing collaboration and cooperation.

The Forum is supporting design efforts alongside the County NMDA and County Steering Group.

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Good Neighbours

Communities have been meeting to improve relations and develop local partnerships that have mutual benefits for involved parties

The communities to the North and East of Ole Naishu have been working with a membership organization (Oramat Lenaboisho) in the Laikipia east landscape to bring about better communication and more regular collaboration in the neighbourhood.

Working with the support of the FORUM and Borana Conservancy, Oramat has been leading the formation of community groups to discuss issues of grazing, security, employment and reconciliation of past grievances.

Two community groups (committees) have been appointed (one from Makurian and one from Chumvi) to serve as the interface between Ole Naishu and its neighbours.

These efforts are designed to bring about improved relations and to develop local partnerships that have mutual benefits for the Ranch and its neighbours.

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Electric Fence Brings Hope To Health Centre In Arjiju, Mukogodo Forest

Mr Stephen Njoroge is the Health Officer in charge of Arjiju Health Center in Mukogodo, that has been fenced as part of Disney Project in Mukogodo Landscape.

My name is Stephen Njoroge, I am the doctor in charge of the Arjiju Community Health Centre. I came to Makurian Group Ranch, about five years ago.

When I first got here, this facility was experiencing a lot of challenges. Insecurity, human-wildlife conflict, lack of a maternity ward and there was an acute lack of water in the hospital.

There was a great challenge of insecurity because of free-roaming wild animals and especially the elephants. In fact, community members could not visit the health centre at night for fear of attack by wild animals.

Water was also an issue, a big one! This health centre was a hotspot because it had water tanks and made it a prime spot for the conflicts.

Despite the fact that we had a seasonal water pan in the community and a water storage unit in the hospital, elephants would come and drink the water. Herds trooped about the health centre at night and drank all the water from our tanks.  We would end up without any water to use in the hospital. Imagine a maternity ward without water!

About two years ago, the committee at Arjiju met to discuss how we were going to curb this challenge.  It was decided that we would put up a barbed-wire fence around the dispensary. This was done. But after a couple of weeks, the elephants came back and destroyed the fence and as usual went for the water tanks.

We had to find a solution, and I am glad that the committee was determined and ready to find solutions to this. When the chairman of Makurian Group Ranch mentioned that Disney Project would bring a new electric fence that would include the health centre, I was excited.

These past few months, seeing the poles up and finally, the electric wires being installed ,has our community very excited. That committee made a good call to include this health centre in the boundaries of the fence project.

With the electric fences now erected around the dispensary, we plan to pull down the old barbed-wired fences.

This year our water tanks will be full! I won’t have to worry about water when I get an emergency at the maternity ward at night.”

#Ends

The newly constructed solar-powered fence in Arjiju Village covers 45 hectares and is part of the Disney Conservation Fund implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum at the larger Mukogodo landscape.

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More Crop for Each Drop

SNV farmer's field day

Farmers’ Field Day expose farmersto modern irrigation technology, profitable crops and maximizing water productivity on small parcels of lands.

‘Increasing water productivity’’ was the theme of the October’s Farmers’ Field Day held in Kiahuko Area, Naro Moru WRUA, Nyeri County.

The event organized by the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) in partnership with SNV. It attracted 230 farmers from 19 Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) from Nyeri, Meru and Laikipia Counties.

The farmers were trained on irrigation technologies, water harvesting and storage, water abstraction, access to finance, as well as market-based approach in agriculture. The ultimate goal being  to maximize farm production with minimum water use.

A small-scale farmer, Mr Ephraim Kahenya and his wife, hosted the field day at their model farm in Nyeri County.  The family is a pioneer in water harvesting technology and they are great examples of how to harvest water and use it efficiently.

“Irrespective of being a farmer in a semi-arid zone of Nyeri County, Smart Water for Agriculture has improved my productivity and has diverted my mind away from over-reliance on rivers.” Says Mr Kahenya, adding, “Such field days are fundamental in offering farmers advice on the most suitable crops to grow with market and water conservation in mind.”

Mr Kahenya inspired other farmers with the possibility of a small-scale farmer making over a million shillings for the sale of garlic planted on 1/16 acre piece of land. “That’s how you increase water productivity: Make every drop count,” he told the farmers.

The series of farmers’ field days organized by MKEWP create awareness and build the capacity of the farmers to enable them to harness and use water resources better.

MKEWP supports activities in line with County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) for the three counties of Nyeri, Meru and Laikipia. These Plans prioritize the adoption of modern farming methods as opposed to just rain-fed agriculture.

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Ol Pejeta, Fauna and Flora International and MKEWP in Concert!

Water Act 2016

A community member of Mutara shares with WRUA Cluster during the sensitization on Water Act 2016.

58 Water Resources User Associations (WRUA) members from three sub-catchments in the Greater Laikipia landscape participated in a good governance efforts led by MKEWP in partnership with Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Fauna and Flora International.  They learned about the new policies for water, and the devolved functions of County Governments in water management.

The “Guide to the 2016 Water Act” is a MKEWP product that uses a simple guidebook of questions, answers and illustrations to inform water users on the major elements of the new water legislation.  The Guide answers a 100 practical questions that address the critical elements of the Act.

In recent months, the Partnership has been distributing the Guide and empowering communities within the Ewaso basin through the WRUA Clusters – Mutara WRUA Cluster in East Laikipia is the latest beneficiary of the sensitization exercise as part of Fauna and Flora International /OPC Project in the area.

Copies of the Guide to Water Act 2016 were also distributed to enable the WRUA management to continue sensitizing their members in the Pesi, Mutara and Surguroi WRUAs.

The Water Cluster Model is used to address common water conservation and management between river systems that share similar demographics, land use, and water governance challenges. The WRUA Cluster is used to expedite the delivery of messages, management, and technology, as well as to increase the sense of solidarity, planning and purpose across sub-catchment lines. By using this model, MKEWP is able to increase the effectiveness of its outreach and water monitoring activities, and to build comparative advantages between Clusters as a result of increased social cohesion. The Cluster also helps to increase the leverage of WRUAs on water management issues.

Laikipia Cattle, Water and Wildlife Project is funded by the Darwin Initiative through UK Government funding.

The project is implemented with partnership of FFI, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and LWF through Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP).

For these and other updates, ensure that you follow us on Facebook, Twitter: @MKEWP, or contact MKEWP’s Coordinator – Stanley Kirimi: stanley.kirimi@laikipia.org, to find out how you can join or support MKEWP.

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Smart Water for Agriculture Fund to benefit farmers in the Upper Ewaso Basin

SNV

MKEWP Water Resources Specialist James Mwangi talks to SACCO officials during the workshop in Laikipia.

Forty local SACCOs met to learn about Irrigation Acceleration Platform and how their members can access the newly launched Smart Water For Agriculture (SWA) Fund to invest in sustainable solutions in small-scale farming.

The activity, organized by Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP), had the Kenya Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives Ltd (KUSSCO) talk to the local SACCOS. KUSSCO is a umbrella for cooperatives in Kenya.

KUSSCO are the custodians of the SWA fund provided by SNV. They trained the SACCOS on business linkages, access to finances for farming and service providers. SACCOs can now access the SWA Fund and obtain loans for their members who want to use drip kits for irrigation.

SNV

The workshop was organized by MKEWP through SNV’s Smart Water For Agriculture Program

As part of SNV’s goal to link farmers to sustainable water technologies, the SACCOs were also introduced to private service providers. Members can use the Fund to access money to buy irrigation kits from these providers.

MKEWP is the implementing partner for SNV’s Irrigation Accelerated Platform (IAP) in Laikipia County. They are a link between farmers and farming technologies that not only conserve water but also improve farm productivity.

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Big step in Wildlife Monitoring for IlMAMUSI Rangers

ILMAMUSI CFA

Disney Project: The 12 rangers represent the four group ranches around Mukogodo Forest-Ilngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo and Sieku

Twelve ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association (CFA) rangers underwent a 3-day training on the use of Geographical Positioning System (GPS) for wildlife monitoring, data collection, and reporting.

The training was held at the CFA headquarters – Loragai office in Laikipia North Sub County, was organized by LWF and assisted by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The rangers were trained on the use of Wildlife-Conservancy Management Monitoring System (Wildlife-CoMMS) – a ranger-based monitoring tool for wildlife and illegal activities.

The 12 rangers represent the four group ranches around Mukogodo Forest (Ilngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo and Sieku). They are divided into four patrol groups based on their area of scouting:

  • Ilngwesi block- with 4 Locations- Lokusero A/B, Upper Sanga, Nadungoro, Olmaroroi
  • Makurian block – with 3 Locations – Arjijo, Sepeyo, Lariakorok
  • Mukogodo block- with 6 Locations – Seek, Bokish, Toirai, Sior, Olorepirepi, Kuri-kuri.
  • Sieku/Lekurruki block- with 3 Locations – Ildorot, Naimarlal, Nadungoro.

The scouts will monitor and report on wildlife observations, wildlife carcasses, human-wildlife conflict cases, and illegal activities within the Mukogodo landscape.

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ILMAMUSI Chairman presents GPS gadgets to the Rangers after the training

“The introduction of GPS and monitoring system (Wildlife-CoMMS) is a big step in efforts to conserve the Mukogodo forest,” says ILMAMUSI CFA Coordinator, Samali Letai. He adds that these tools contribute to better understanding of wildlife movements, and can help to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts, as we will be able to report more accurately.”

The training exercise is part of the Disney Conservation Fund project activities funded through the Wildlife Conservation Society, through the Laikipia Wildlife Forum to mitigate Human-Elephant Conflicts with the support of  the ILMAMUSI CFA.

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More Crop for a Drop of Water!

Farmers day,SNV

MKEWP: Farmers listen to an extension officer next to a water  pan during the Smart Water For Agriculture Field Day

“More Produce, Less Water” was the theme of September’s Farmers Field Day held in Nkando area, Laikipia County.

“Managing the scarce water resources: That’s what Smart Water For Agriculture is all about – farmers learning about how they can reap more crop for a drop of water.” SNVs Local Capacity Builder, Joyce Karimi, said.

The 5th edition of the Farmer’s Day was organized by the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) and brought together over 25 exhibitors and 250 farmers from 15 Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) in the counties of Meru, Nyeri and Laikipia.

The event was hosted at a model farm owned by a small-scale farmer, Mr. Patrick Maina and his wife. They are water champions, who have really adopted best water practices.  Their farm provides experiential learning for farmers and is a success story in the Upper Ewaso basin.

Smart Water For Agriculture

Mr Maina engages with farmers on water conservation in small-scale farming

“If ¾ of us here today can adopt a roof harvesting system, we will take the pressure off our rivers. Users downstream will have something to drink,” says Mr. Maina, whose water pan collects over 2 million Cubic litres of rainwater.

Traversing through the farm, engaging with exhibitors, and talking with County Government extension officers, the farmers were trained on water harvesting and storage, drip irrigation technology, fish farming, poultry farming, dairy farming, conservation agriculture, and the application of green energy. .

The next Farmers Field day will be held on the 9th October 2018 in Naro Moru, Nyeri County.

Want to join MKEWP in its activities? Want to be a part of the next Farmers Field Day? Please contact MKEWP Water Resources Specialist, James Mwangi.

Email:  James.Mwangi@laikipia.org

Tel:  +254 746 607 181

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Farming in Pastoralist Communities: “The fence is a game-changer”

Human Wildlife Conflict, Disney project

Top: Grace Korosian, a resident of Arjiju Village in North laikipia says they have adopted farming in their community.  Below: A tractor ploughs a section of the 44-hectare land protected by the new solar-powered fence implemented by Laikipia Wildlife Forum

 

“My name is Grace Korosian, I was born and raised here in Arjiju Village, Makurian Group Ranch.

A few years ago, we were just pastoralists keeping only livestock, like most Maasai Communities.  But we were introduced to crop farming by agricultural extension officers who visited our village. In our first harvest, we felt the joy of harvesting our own produce without buying as we would always do. We had been enlightened!

Back then, women like myself grew “sukuma wiki” on sacks behind our Manyattas and we would water them. This was the alternative source of food. But then, our farming practices attracted unwarranted visitors to our doorsteps. We had “someone else” harvesting our sukuma wiki – the Elephants!

Thinking about it now, it was expected. I mean, we live at the periphery of Mukogodo forest, with a big population of elephants.

ILMAMUSI CFA

The solar-powered fence in Arjiju is part of Disney Project Implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum

Having experienced this conflict, the community decided to dedicate one area of our village just for crop farming.  For a few seasons, we’ve been able to harvest from it, but it has also been a field day for the elephants. It’s a hassle  for us, chasing them away with fire, and sometimes having to harvest beans early so that we can salvage something for our families.

Early this year, when this idea of a solar-powered electric fence was discussed by our committee in Makurian, we were very excited. This was a new idea here and we knew what it would change things in the village.

And now seeing the fence complete around both the communal farm and the clinic, it is a source of hope for us. I mean, our villagers have been smiling since the poles were first delivered here, and seeing it shaping up into a fence is unbelievable.

I’m sure you have seen a tractor plough the land here today. The next time you visit, we will have grown some maize, some beans, potatoes and grass for our cattle.

We now know that farming is important. Those families that have been assigned a plot, can now comfortably grow something. Those without will at least have a place closer to home to buy food from.

We are hopeful that we are likely to harvest something sizeable from this farm.”

#ENDS

The newly constructed solar-powered fence in Arjiju Village covers 45 hectares and is part of the Disney Project implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum at the larger Mukogodo landscape.