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Laikipia County Shines Yet Again at the 14th Edition of the Eco Warrior Awards

The manager, Ekorian’s Mugie, John King’ori (left) receives Mugie’s award for Tourism and Green Jobs,  from the CS Tourism and Wildlife, Hon Najib Balala (right) and the principal, Kenya Utalii College, Hashim Mohamed (centre).     The award was sponsored by Kenya Utalii College

Over the last four years, Laikipia County has continued to demonstrate its exemplary contribution to ecotourism, not only in the County, but in the country at large. Our success is attested to by the numerous awards nominated and won by the conservancies and tourism operators/destinations from Laikipia County at the prestigious Eco Warrior Awards, led by Ecotourism Kenya.

History of Eco warrior award winners from Laikipia


Tourism and Green Jobs Eco Warrior: Mugie Conservancy

Social Impact Eco Warrior: Il Ngwesi Eco Lodge – 2nd Runner-

Laikipia LTA partner – UniGlobe Let’s Go Travel for Green Tourism Champion Tour Operator

Rhino Porini Camp – Gamewatchers

Ngarae Ndare Forest Trust – for Social Impact


Laikipia LTA partner – Uni Globe Let’s Go Travel for Tour Operator


Two awards to Ol Pejeta Conservancy for their performance on (SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, SDG 15: Life on Land

El Karama for their performance on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Laikipia LTA Partner – Uni Globe Let’s Go Travel – for SDG 4 – Quality Education


The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille Conservancy – for community conservancy

Ol Pejeta Conservancy – for overall Conservancy (private)

Borana Conservancy – runner up

Ol Jogi Conservancy – runner up

Gamewatchers Porini – winner for their tented camps

These awards recognize efforts, innovations and exceptional achievements among our community for promoting responsible tourism and enhancing tourism sustainability. These businesses and organization are directly concerned with the natural environment and are all linked to local communities through mutually beneficial partnerships. Nature conservation and community development through responsible tourism are the essence of ecotourism.

The Laikipia Tourism Association continues to serve as the umbrella body promoting our eco warrior award winners, and the principles and practices behind sustainable tourism.



Double Win for Community and Wildlife as Loontana Spring Protection nears Completion


Ms. Julia Moiyare approaches the newly constructed water tank to fetch water alongside her counterparts

Ms.  Julia Moiyare, a member of Nadung’oro community barely hid her joy as she fetched water for the first time from the just constructed water tank at Nadung’oro plains, Sieku location. Julia was among the many participants in the handover ceremony of the new water project to Lekurruki Conservancy management.

The tank has been constructed with the support of the Disney Conservation Fund under the Rangeland Rehabilitation and Spring Protection to Reduce Human Wildlife Conflict in Mukogodo Forest Project. The project is sponsored by WCS/Disney and is being implemented by ILMAMUSI CFA with technical assistance from Laikipia Wildlife Forum.

The community water tank is the final phase of the Disney Project’s spring protection. The much-improved spring provides water to livestock and wildlife, and the community members are now served from a storage tank about 1km from the spring site.

Initially water was obtained from one source which meant people, livestock and wildlife shared one point to access water. Through Disney project, a wildlife/cattle trough has since been constructed and a separate tank for community to fetch water. Ms. Julia further added, “We have encountered elephants drinking at the spring site and we had to go back home, or wait for a long time for them to leave the spring site, so that we could fetch water. Most of the time the water would be muddy and we would spend most of our time waiting for the spring to fill up. The separation of our water access points makes all the difference to our lives. Having this water tank this close to our homesteads is indeed more than a blessing and we cannot thank our partners enough for hearing our plea.”

The Disney Project focuses on implementing measures that reduce occurrence and frequency of Human-Wildlife Conflicts (HWC), particularly with elephants. It gives priority to three key themes:

  1. HWC mitigation and reduction through solar powered fencing and maintenance of effective community monitoring systems for elephant movements in Arjiju Village
  2. Spring protection in Sieku location. The spring will serve Lekurruki and Ilngwesi group ranches as well as elephants and other wildlife.
  3. Rangelands rehabilitation in Makurian/Oreteti group ranch, Ilngwesi group ranch and Lekurruki group ranch

Mr James Mwangi, MKEWP Water Engineer, Inspecting Lontana spring before its protection

The current chairman of the Loontana spring water project committee, Mr. Yaasoi Sakui, admitted to how the project has made a significant change to their daily routine especially for women and children. “The women and children will access water in a close location and will have reduced trips to the spring site which reduces human elephant contact.”

Water is an important shared resource between humans, livestock and wildlife in this region which increases the probability of occurrence of HEC due to un-separated access points for water. It was thus vital to protect the Loontana spring not only for the purpose of reducing HWC but also to enhance water security in the area.

The water trough designed for wildlife and livestock to drink from in the foreground, with the water pump storage in the middle, and the protected spring in the background

The selected water committee works closely with the Group Ranch Grazing Committee to ensure sustainability of the Loontana Spring project..  The community has agreed on a water tariff to ensure that the new system is maintained and managed.

The plan is for other springs in Lokusero, Ilngwesi, Makurian and Lekurruki to be protected in a subsequent phase of the project.



Government of Kenya Budget for Wildlife and Wildlife Areas in Kenya

Here’s the opening statement from the Government of Kenya Mid-Term report on the wildlife sub-sector report released earlier this month:

“The Government in recognition that wildlife is an important driver of socio-economic development and provides irreplaceable cultural and social value to the people of Kenya, has established the State Department for Wildlife for effective coordination and sector development. Wildlife resources contribute directly and indirectly to the local and national economy through revenue generation and wealth creation. The iconic wildlife and diverse conservation areas are extremely important economic assets for Kenya. Wildlife is a source of national pride, the foundation of the Tourism Industry that contributes about 10% of the national Gross Development Products (GDP) and 11% of total formal workforce. In addition to direct economic benefits, Kenya’s wildlife areas are also vital for recreation, water catchment, carbon sequestration, fresh air, crop pollination, and control of soil erosion, among others.”

This is a glowing recognition of the importance of our wildlife and wildlife areas. Yet, wildlife conservation has been consistently underfunded in Kenya relative to the value Kenya derives from wildlife conservation.

“The Wildlife sub sector was allocated Ksh. 6,443 M, Ksh. 7,265M and Ksh. 7,393M out of which Ksh. 6,436M, Ksh. 7,010M and 7,374M represent actual expenditure for the period under review.” 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2019/20

The mid-term budget for the next three years requires more than a doubling of GOK funding to this sector, yet how will Kenya fund these commitments when already struggling under such debt?

“The sub sector requires Ksh. 20,033M, Ksh. 20,305M and Ksh. 19,943M for the FYs 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 respectively up from Ksh. 9,156M in the FY 2019/20.”

“In conclusion, the sub sector will efficiently utilize the allocated budgetary resources to address the challenges and emerging issues that have negatively affected its performance. Prominence will be put to mobilize resources from development partners and private sector to complement the budgetary allocations.”

There is no indication yet from the GOK that these central government budgetary investments will be honored. It’s incumbent on us to ensure that these funding commitments are realized. Please read the full Mid-Term report on the wildlife sub-sector here.

Keep informed. Stay engaged.

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KNOW YOUR WRUAs: Ngusishi Water Resources Users Association

NGUSISHI WRUA representative is elated while receiving the Maji Performance Award for overall Best WRUA countrywide from KEWASNET CEO Mr. Samson Shivaji and Kenya’s Deputy President Hon.William Ruto.

Ngusishi WRUA has continuously demonstrated the viability of the WRUA concept, with financial, institutional, environmental and technological sustainability. The common intake approach employed by the WRUA to solve severe water conflicts in a small sub basin has clear benefits that can be attested to by its members and all stakeholders.

88% of water conflicts in Ngusishi have been resolved amicably as a result of the good governance exhibited by Ngusishi Water Resources Users Association. Due to this, the WRUA that is registered with the Registrar of Societies under section 10 of the Societies Act as an Association, has as well managed to build a common intake that has enabled all members get water equally and thus ensuring that Ngusishi River continues to flow even during the dry spells.

The Association has its foundation as a registered Self-Help Group with the Gender, Culture and Social Services in 1998 (registration No. 183/98) and registration as an Association in 2003.

The WRUA is an umbrella organization of 16 registered members that include seven community water projects and nine privately owned commercial farms. Its sub-catchment lies in the leeward side of Mount Kenya within Ewaso Ngiro North Catchment area (ENNCA) that contributes to Ewaso Ngiro River.

Ngusishi WRUA covers an average area of 104km2 and this area relies on the tiny Ngusishi River which comprises of three main springs namely: Kabeere springs, Muthuri springs and Batian springs.The springs produce an average of 69 ltrs/sec.  70% of the flow is equally shared among all the members and 30% is left for peoples, biodiversity and wild animals downstream.

The WRUA often conducts a house-to-house census and as per their most recent count, the area had a total of 831 households with a population of over 10,900 people and 15,000 livestock excluding the wildlife.

The good relationship between the community, stakeholders and the government has enabled the WRUA get facilitation for water development projects such as water pans which have been constructed at household level, using efficient method of irrigation, accessing water quality by conducting pollution survey and more surveys have been conducted for water storage dams.

The WRUA continues to work closely with Laikipia Wildlife Forum and Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership in the efforts to manage and protect the catchment. Laikipia Wildlife Forum for instance supported the review of the WRUAs’ sub-catchment management plan and has severally used the WRUA as a benchmark and a case study for good governance.

One of the reasons why the WRUA continues to be the best in the country, and in the region, is its well-structured governance and outreach policies. These give priority to the vulnerable members and Institutions within the catchment through donations e.g. in supplying the rain water harvesting equipment, dam liners, drip kits, and trainings on kitchen gardening.

The association has been providing irrigation water to its members and are currently working on designs for two dams for irrigation at a cost of 20 Million and 80Million.

These costs cannot be met by the Association and therefore they are looking for funding from either the Government or Donors. With the construction of these two dams, the association will be able to eradicate poverty among its members through improved water management, agricultural production, and conservation.

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Laikipia County on Track to Develop its Water Masterplan

Eng. Henry Ndugah, a consultant with Batch Associates, presents the second draft of the Laikipia County Water Masterplan to stakeholders during the validation meeting.

The Laikipia County Water CEC, Njenga Kahiro, has initiated a small team of water sector experts to enrich the county water masterplan and submit to the County for adoption by December of this year. This team comprises of the County Director of Water, Nanyuki and Nyahururu water companies, County Agriculture and Irrigation department, Public Health Department, the regional Water Resources Authority, the county office of the National Environment Management Authority, Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership, Laikipia County Natural Resources Network, Eng. Murage from Water Sector Trust Fund, Eng. June Kawira from Rural Focus, and the consulting firm tasked to develop the plan.

“Every single sector in the country is underpinned by water, as a result, we must develop an elaborate and comprehensive document that will reflect the true vision of the county in ensuring availability of water resources for the next 20 years and beyond.” These were the sentiments of Laikipia County Executive Committee Member, Mr. Njenga Kahiro, at the Laikipia County Water Masterplan validation meeting, on the 15th of October 2019.

The validation meeting was organized by the County Government of Laikipia and the Water Sector Trust Fund, with the objective of getting feedback and recommendations on the second draft of the plan from stakeholders. In attendance were representatives from County government, government agencies; Water Sector Trust Fund and Water Resource Authority, Private sector, Civil Society and Development partners.

After a presentation on the draft masterplan by the consultant, these are some of the key issues that were highlighted and need either to be addressed and/or incorporated in the plan.

The county water masterplan establishes h the current water and sanitation situation in the county. It examines the key driving factors, such as current water resources, future water resources incorporating climate change impacts, existing and projected future water demands, population and growth dynamics, the watershed potential of the county and its effect on the general growth of the population and sectors in the county. The Plan should assist the leadership in the County to crystalize and optimize investments in the water sector to improve quality and quantity of water available for different users and to meet the national water sector goals.

Read the draft masterplan here




Mapping of Invasive Species in Laikipia and Samburu Counties

Alex Lekalaile the Rangeland Coordinator for Westgate in Samburu County collects data on Acacia reficiens

LWF is working with NRT and conservancies with support from the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), and the World Agroforestry Center to map the current extent of Opuntia stricta and Acacia reficiens in conservancies of Laikipia and Samburu Counties. Through project is funded by USAID through SERVIR.

In Laikipia County the focus is on Lekurruki, Ilngwesi, Makurian and Kurukuri, Borana and Ngare Ndare conservancies. In Samburu County, with NRT, the mapping focus is on Westgate, Sera, Namunyak, Meibae and Kalama conservancies.

The mapping exercise involves a mobile App – smart phone application called, “Invasive Species Mapper”, which was developed by RCMRD. Working with the conservancy managers and their rangeland coordinators, the data protocol involves random sampling of vegetation plots in the different conservancies using smart phones and the App.  Information collected through the software includes: date, latitude and longitude, altitude and accuracy, the species name, the area covered by the invasive species, canopy cover, habitat, species abundance (the density of the plants in the identified area), land ownership, whether the area is accessible or inaccessible, and settlement- whether the species are in homesteads or not.

The methodology guideline is attached here

Wilfred Meejoli and Nicholas Kodei collect Opuntia stricta data in Makurian Group Ranch

This information will inform management measures to be applied for invasive species, and will also be used to develop models for future monitoring of the management measures applied. This data collection takes a period of 2 months.

This information will be supplied on an open access data platform to County Governments for their use and to guide county-led invasive species control interventions. The tool and technique is another example of citizen science.

Invasive Species Mapper Application developed by RCMRD
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Water Resource Users Association Members read through the EMU- SACCO flier at a membership drive held in Timau

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership and EMU-SACCO traversed over 300km from the plateaus of Laikipia North to the chilly mountain areas of Meru County, determined to complete the 16 meetings in a bid to sensitize the communities on the relevance and importance of on-farm water conservation and management.

“Watu wangu wacha tupendane kama mababu zetu”, said Mr. Murithi, Secretary EMU-SACCO.

“My people let us love each other as our fore fathers did.’’

This was the theme for our membership drive that kicked off on June 3rd.  The EMU-SACCO seeks to bring back the African spirit of community-based collective development and the concern for each other and the environment.

As a result, 30 diverse WRUAs across the whole of Ewaso Ngiro North Basin embraced the EMU-SACCO concept and pledged to fully support the initiative.  Sentiments from the over 2600 water users present at the meetings highlighted the real picture of the water challenges that our people face. Better still, we got to interact with resilient communities who are ready to tackle any environmental challenges that come their way.

Our agents are on the ground reaching out to communities through the Water Resource Users Associations (WRUA) s and the Community Water projects. Our membership drive seeks to bring on board at least 1000 new institutional and organizational members eager to join us in our water agenda.  To date, we have recruited over 200 new institutional members in pursuit of this target.

More than 3000 community members have been reached with the EMU-SACCO message! The places we visited are dynamic and different and there is a great need to customize our products specific to the community.

We are the change we want to see.

Come join us today and be part of this change.

 For more information on the SACCO and to become a member:

Call: Chairman: Mr. Charles Ikiara, 0722333669

Email: charleskiara1@gmail.com

Office Line: 0700014239

 Becoming a member is as easy as this:

  • Registration fee: KES 1000
  • The minimum share value that a member of the SACCO can hold is:  KES 2000
  • To help kick-start a member’s savings account and build the SACCO’s loan base the contribution is: KES 5000

KCB Paybill Number: 522522        Account Number: 1257698257

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WRUA Agency Model Kicks-off

Mr. Murithi, Chair of Ngusishi WRUA makes a presentation on the importance and relevance of the WRUA Agency Model to his WRUA compatriots and members of community water projects

In June, the Mt. Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership conducted WRUA Agency Model awareness meetings in the upper Ewaso Nyiro Basin. The meetings are part of our efforts to bring together all water stakeholders in the region in support of the model.

Water scarcity in the dry season, catchment degradation, climate change impacts, and deforestation, have been great challenges facing the upper Ewaso Nyiro Basin in the past decade. As the sun rises and sets, we must address these issues head on and bring about immediate intervention.

The Agency, through the support of World Bank and CORDAID is working with MKEWP to address the water security issues.

Water Resource Users Associations (WRUA) are destined to serve as agents of Water Resources Authority. The Authority is required to delegate tasks to the WURA for catchment protection and pay for services rendered. This is part of the Water Act 2016.


“Everybody has right to access clean water at equal measures. It our responsibility as water stakeholders to protect our rivers and water towers. Climate change is evident in our recent times and we have no option but to address it. Irrigated agriculture is inevitable and without our water towers and water storage structures, the food crisis will be there. If we don’t protect our environment, it will judge us harshly,” said James Mwangi, Mt. Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership Water Resource Specialist.

Through awareness meetings the partnership managed to get full endorsement from Water Resource Users membership and now embark on implementation of the model by lobbying a high-end support from the authority. “The model is good and it speaks the voice of majority of water users in the region. It should have come earlier but all is not lost. We will pick up and carry it on your support. We pass our kind regards and endless love to the donors for coming to Ewaso Nyiro to rescue the lost glory of our beautiful rivers” said Ephrahim Kahenya, Naromoru WRUA Chairman during the first awareness meeting.

County Government, through their agricultural officers, support the Agency Model. They know the importance of addressing water insecurity in the home and in the fields. Drip irrigation technologies and rain water harvesting are both key to addressing the water insecurity problems.

The WRUAs were advised to plant more trees along the riparian lands and to adopt better farming practices part of their WRUA Agency Model responsibilities.



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Laikipia County Ushirika Day Celebrations – A Cooperation of Cooperatives.

Nanyuki Boda Boda Sacco officials’ receive an award for exemplary service in the transport and housing scheme during the International Cooperatives day in Laikipia County

The Ewaso Maji Users SACCO is privileged to be among 62,197 registered SACCOs in Laikipia County that are slated to receive support from the County Cooperative Revolving Fund. This was established during the Ushirika Day (International Cooperatives Day) 2019 celebrations at Il Polei Twala Women’s Cultural Center, on 6th July, in Laikipia County. The theme for these year’s celebration was ‘CO-OPS 4 Decent Work’.

The celebrations was graced by the Deputy Governor, HE John Mwaniki, in the company of CEC Trade and Cooperatives, Mr. Biwot Tirop, CEC Agriculture Dr. Lucy Murugi, Area MCA, Hon. George Meshami, and nominated MCA, Hon. Zamzam Hussein.

EMU-SACCO, one of the blooming SACCOs in Laikipia, is empowering small holder farmers with water security to improve sustainability of their livelihoods; and is helping them to get away from the traditional rainfed agriculture to more efficient and well-managed irrigated agriculture. Ms. Milkah Nyaruai, the Executive officer of the SACCO, took advantage of this occasion to share on some of the benefits of being in the SACCO and rally for membership. “What we are offering is the solution to the perennial water scarcity issue in the county”, reiterated Ms. Nyaruai.

Ms. Mary Mungai, the Commissioner of Laikipia County Cooperatives, confirmed that Laikipia cooperatives had risen from 52,250 in 2015 to 62,197 in 2019. The Cooperatives movement has been the genesis of development for most developed countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. EMU-SACCO is playing its part in realizing this development by stimulating growth in water infrastructure investment for the people of Laikipia.

In the spirit of Cooperatives we shall combine our efforts with all the other cooperatives and partners in Laikipia Country, and then in the larger Ewaso Basin, to realize our goal.

The EMU-SACCO initiative has been made possible through the support of Cordaid and WorldBank

Want to be part of this great course, join us today.

Call: 0728830203-Milkah, Executive Officer EMU-SACCO

0722172287-Murithi Muthuri, Secretary EMU-SACCO



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Water Resource Users Associations Embrace the Agency Model with a Pinch of Salt

Mr. Anthony Kingori, Nyahururu Chairperson, shares his sentiments on the WRUA Agency Model

 “The WRUA Agency model seems to be a very promising initiative towards improving WRUA governance and financing. As members of Nyahururu WRUA, we fully welcome the piloting of this model in our catchment. However we must remain honest to ourselves that this model is still very new to us and as a result must be cautious of the challenges that may arise during its implementation.”

This are the sentiments of Mr. Anthony Kingori, the chair of Nyahururu WRUA, who believes that they are a strong candidate for the WRUA Agency model piloting project. He was keen to note however that much the financing of the WRUAs is becoming the focal point of discussion. Instead the fundamental and most important issue that needs addressing should be governance among the WRUAs and capacity building in Community Water Projects on members’ roles and mandates.

Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) are organizations that were formalized in 2002 after passage of the Water Act 2002. Their main mandate was to ensure sustainable water resource management. This entails:

  1. Water resource conflict resolution
  2. Increasing awareness on water conservation measures among its members
  3. Water resource and catchment protection

WRUAs are registered under the Registrar of Societies and are governed by a Constitution and by-laws. WRUA operations costs are designed to be covered by members (community water projects) contribution.


However, members’ contribution are only a fraction of what the WRUAs require to undertake their mandates. As a result, they end up turning to donors and well-wishers for financing. This threatens the sustainability of the WRUAs. Any WRUA committee efforts, such as catchment protection, i.e. riparian rehabilitation where they grow indigenous trees along the riparian areas, are a financial strain.

Ms. Joy Makena, the manager of Teleswani WRUA understands that the WRUA Agency Model must have the concurrence of the Water Resource Authority (WRA) to be successful. Only when the WRA delegates responsibilities to the WRUAs for catchment protection and compensates WRUAs for their services will the model be successful.


“With the funds realized from this, WRUAs capacity will be improved, financial sustainability will be guaranteed, WRUAs operations and financing will be upgraded, and governance and service delivery by the WRUAs will be enhanced, “explains Ms. Makena, with signs of hope emanating from her eyes. “Previously we’d talked about how we would like WRUAs to be self-reliant, but there was no clear explanation on how this would be achieved. But now one thing is clear, with the introduction of the WRUA Agency Model, WRUAs sustainability will be guaranteed in the long run.


Her sentiments, and those of Mr. Kingori. Are echoed by Burguret’s WRUA chair, Mr. Steve Mbao. “I cannot sit here and act like it is an all rosy affair within the WRUAs and Community Water Projects. There are more than enough cases of lack of trust amongst ourselves in terms of accountability and transparency and to be fair at times this lack of trust  is very much justifiable due to the absence of proper Governance structures and lack of capacity within the WRUA management systems.”


Mr. Mbao confirms that indeed the initiative has come of age but suggests that all stakeholders involved must make governance the number one priority. Any finances issued must be issued to entities that can demonstrate great leadership structures, are accountable and fully transparent to their membership. “Financing must be based on merit, everyone must be able to report on how they intend to use the finances given, where they intend to use it and for who’s benefit,” insists Mr. Mbao.


Ngusishi WRUA chair and a board member of the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership

Mr. Peter Murithi, has been at the forefront advocating for the adoption of the model. He has at all times insisted that WRUAs must work towards being self-reliant.  He believes the Model can only be achieved through strong governance structures and operations within the laws and by laws of the Water Resources Users Association.  These are all stipulated within the Water Act 2016. MKEWP, the drivers of this agenda in return need to enhance and strengthen the governance and capacity of the pilot WRUAs to achieve full potential of the model.


The WRUA Agency Model initiative has been made possible through the support of Cordaid and WorldBank


Currently MKEWP is on a lobbying and Advocacy mission to ensure that the relevant stakeholders from National and County Governments are fully involved and aware of the WRUA agency model project in a bid to get their full support and endorsement before the piloting process begins.