The 2018 Arjiju elephant fencing initiative has indeed been a blessing to the Arjiju community. Supported by the Disney Conservation Fund, and supervised by the Laikipia Forum with the help of ILMAMUSI Forest Association, the fence protects 45 acres of land used by community members living alongside the Mukogodo Forest.
Residents of Arjiju confirm better harvests, increased farm produce, and also highlight reduction of Human Wildlife Conflicts within the area thus creating a safe environment for families.
Arjiju holds around 200 households and is predominantly a pastoralist community. Over the years it has embraced farming as well. Mr. Nicholas Kodei, the chair of Nasela self-help group, confirms. Having practiced farming for years, it was a nuisance when the elephants kept invading farms and destroying crops. He adds that the problem escalated in 2016/2017, leading to two elephants losing their lives as a result of the conflicts.
Laikipia Forum’s intervention with the help of Disney/Wildlife Conservation Society(WCS) and Borana Conservancy, however, made the difference and brought security to the community. Mr. Kodei mentions that the fencing has enhanced peace and tranquility, and as a result, has inspired him to start up the Tuan Fodder Cooperative to help address food supply for pastoralist livestock in the area.
The Cooperative will benefit the community, educating them on how to plant and harvest grass for hay. Mr. Kodei envisions a scenario where ‘grass is following livestock and not the reverse’. He believes this will go a long way in promoting sustainable pastoralism and as well as protecting the adjacent conservancies and ranches.