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WRUA Agency Model Kicks-off

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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A People Resilient, A People Ready for Change: EMU-SACCO MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

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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Integrating Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Water Resources Management

Kenya is classified as a ‘chronically water scarce’ country. Moreover, Kenya’s target of achieving 100% coverage of safe water supply by 2030 and 100% access to basic sanitation services by 2030 is unlikely to be met.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 makes the strongest case for the integration of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Water Resources Management (WRM). It focuses on water with the overarching goal to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. With important targets that go beyond access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene,  water quality and wastewater treatment, water scarcity and water-use efficiency, are integrated into water resources management and water-related ecosystems.

The Watershed Program in Kenya focuses on strengthening the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to advocate and lobby for the integration of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to ensure equity and social inclusion, as well as sustainable usage of water resources.  

To help in realize this program goal, the Watershed Work Package 2 (Kenya) held a meeting with its implementing partners and stakeholders from its areas of operation  in Laikipia and Kajiado County as well as at National level, to highlight on areas of intervention on WASH/WRM integration.

The workshop resulted in a common understanding on what is already being done in terms of (WASH-WRM) integration under the umbrella of Watershed Kenya, as well as with practical guidelines for advocacy with government officials regarding this theme.  Through this forum, partners were able to identify key elements on how to strengthen WRM – WASH integration. Rather than focusing on theories and definitions, participants gained important skills on how to map catchments, water uses and water constraints. Different partners shared some of their initiatives that are geared towards the integration of the two. MKEWP and the Laikipia Forum, for instance, shared with the team about the WRUA agency model that describes a financial arrangement between WRA and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services water management services rendered. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016 and is as well geared to promote Water Sanitation and Hygiene as well as Water Resources Management in the Region.

The workshop was from the 11th   to 14th of June 2019, Machakos, and had 35 participants.

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The Mugie Rangelands and Pastoralists Show 2019: It’s all about being good neighbors

Mugie Ranch held the second Annual Mugie Rangelands and Pastoralists show in June. The show focused on Kenyan livestock economies by promoting awareness of techniques and approaches in sustainable rangeland management, anti-microbial resistance awareness, animal husbandry and pastoral livelihoods in the Northern Rangelands.

This year’s show was very motivating.  Held on 8th of June 2019, the event brought together about 500 participants including exhibitors, pastoralists, and organizations and entities operating in the Northern Rangelands.

Pastoralists brought their livestock to the show, where the Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre guided them on how to select the right breeds to keep in rangelands based on the quality of meat, the quantity of milk, and the adaptability of the animals to the rangeland conditions. Champion livestock were recognized and awarded prizes.

This is the second of a fun, annual event that celebrates livestock and the diversity of culture, enabling rural pastoralists to participate in the show because of their proximity. The Rangeland and Pastoralist Show displays the possibilities of improved rangeland management and livestock husbandry and promotes quality over quantity in livestock husbandry, as well as conservation agriculture.

The Rangeland and Pastoralist Show draws from communities in Samburu, Baringo and Laikipia counties. The initiative was started with the aim of sharing new techniques in animal husbandry and rangeland management with pastoralist communities.

This was an opportunity for Laikipia Forum to interact with pastoral communities and all stakeholders. We created awareness on the control and management of invasive species for rangelands improvement, more awareness on the EMU SACCO that promotes water conservation and management within the Ewaso basin, and that bridges the gaps in water conservation financing.

Laikipia County Natural Resources Network (LAICONAR) had the opportunity to lobby for fodder production links between small holders pastoralist, and ranchers; and they interacted with service providers on future linkages. The event included cultural dances and a meat feast, and the celebration ended with participants longing for next year’s event. Many thanks to Mugie Ranch, Laikipia County Government, Kenya Market Trust, and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Foundation for  their support of the event.  


World Environmental Day 2019: Dol Dol Residents urged to take full ownership on Environmental Protection

“We are our own worst enemies; this must stop!”, the Assistant County Commissioner for Laikipia North, Mr. Eliud Waweru, lamented.

“For years we have continuously pressed the self-destruct button on matters regarding our environment to a point that we can no longer control the negative impacts”. Mr. Waweru went on, “If we do not take advantage of the 13 group ranches and use that platform to plant indigenous trees, stop the unregulated sand harvesting activities, and find a solution to the menace that is Opuntia, then we are left with nothing but bitter days ahead. Let us accept the reality that as a community we have played a major role in destroying our environment. We must all regroup, re – strategize and collectively work as one to turn the tables and restore our land as it was in the days of our forefathers.”

These were his remarks at the World Environmental Day held at the Dol Dol Stadium on the 5th of June 2019. Where over 300 residents, and about 50 visitors and officials attended.
Dol Dol town, the sub-county headquarters of Laikipia North, is currently faced with extensive environmental challenges ranging from deforestation, to soil erosion, waste disposal, to the high influx of the invasive species, the Opuntia Stricta. The cactus is proving to be a menace in the region.

Hosting the 2019 World Environmental Day commemorations in Dol Dol was an indicator of the commitment from both the County Government and stakeholders on their efforts to work together with the community to solve these challenges.

Ms. Leah Sakui, the Assistant Chief of Dol Dol, confirmed that over the years, the area has experienced stiff environmental challenges and that the administration’s efforts to help curb the situation have been futile due to the low response from the community. She was specific about issues of deforestation and soil erosion, which are aggravated by excessive sand harvesting taking place in the region. She emphasized the need for the community to take the initiative and work together to save their own environment.

Her sentiments were largely echoed by stakeholders from National Government, County Government of Laikipia, NEMA, Laikipia Forum, World Vision, IMPACT, and HM Clause. They all highlighted the need to work together in fighting against environmental degradation.
Mr. John Letai, the Deputy Director for Water, Environment and Natural Resources in Laikipia County, acknowledged Laikipia Forum in particular for working closely with the County Government to curb the spread of the invasive species, Opuntia stricta, adding that as a County, they have set aside 2 million Ksh for green houses to breed the cochineal insects as a biological control measure for the cactus.

He added that the Forum had also supported pre-event activities that involved school debates on the invasive species between Dol Dol Boys and St. Francis Girls, as well as between Lentile Primary School and Dol Dol Primary School.
Community members and all stakeholders took part in a clean-up in Dol Dol Town, and a tree planting ceremony at St. Francis Girls, in an effort to drive the environmental management message home. This event was organized by the County Government and NEMA in partnership with World Vision, the Laikipia Forum and IMPACT.

The Laikipia Forum’s participation in this activity was assisted by the USAID/SERVIR Project that supports Laikipia County Government to control and manage the invasive cactus species, Opuntia Stricta.


Partnerships and Cohesion: LAICONAR partners for a new era in the Laikipia Forum

Laikipia County Natural Resource Network (LAICONAR) was formed in February 2012, as a result of a series of consultations on environment and natural resource issues affecting Laikipia and neighboring counties. The network has 50 organizational members, most addressing agriculture and forestry in the County.

Close scrutiny of these issues identified gaps concerning management, governance and advocacy on natural resources management in Laikipia County. The Network was born to advocate, promote, enhance, and encourage activities and reforms that enhance productive and profitable natural resource markets in sustainable landscapes.

LAICONAR is a membership driven, non-profit organization with its roots in landscape issues of agriculture, livelihoods and climate change. Building partnerships and cohesion in the landscape have been key objectives of the Network. Since 2019, we have agreed to partner with the Laikipia Forum
Our goal is to conserve water and share it better, and give it a value in the context of climate change. For us to succeed, we need to integrate our activities and programs with others. The Forum gives us this opportunity.
Other partners include: Cropnuts, a soil testing firm, ACRE Africa, an agriculture insurance advisory firm in the region, Kenya Meteorological Department, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Program, and the Laikipia Farmers Association 2014.

LAICONAR undertakes transparent, collaborative and accountable approaches that avoid repeating past mistakes, and we ensure that we respect the rights of all stakeholders, and the integrity and functionality of our ecosystems (especially wetlands). We work with others that advocate and legislate at county, national, and international levels. Yes, and as the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”.

The Network currently champions the conservation and protection of the Ewaso Narok Wetland and advocates the wise use of natural resources along the entire Ewaso Nyiro North Catchments, to reduce climate-related and natural resource conflicts in the landscape.

LAICONAR efforts on Ewaso Narok Wetland restoration;
Lobbied for the 2019 world wetland day Kenya to be hosted in Rumuruti Laikipia County with intention of showing the damage to the wetland. This was done by the County Government of Laikipia, LAICONAR and Laikipia Wildlife Forum and National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

On the 6th December 2018 NEMA held a stakeholder meeting to fundraise and plan for the event. The meeting had a total of 10 stakeholders present comprising of Conservation Organizations and Government agencies.
Mobilized with NEMA and other stakeholder to successfully host the world wetland day led by the CS Environment. It was capped with a camel caravan along the river where the Laikipia Governor and the CS visited the fringe of the wetland. The three day event attracted over a two thousand participants.

On 2nd February 2019 the Cabinet Secretary Environment, Mr. Keriako Tobiko issued an intent gazette notice for the Ewaso Narok wetlands.
In March 2019 the technical task force for the Ewaso Narok restoration held consultative meetings with communities around the wetlands. The task force was led by NEMA, FAO, CETRAD, LAICONAR, Laikipia Forum, Water Resources Authority and the County Government. The purpose of this meeting was to get community input on the wetland.
Held a leaders meeting in Rumuruti that had a total of 30 participants. The meeting was organized by the task force to update the leaders on the highlights, status and feedback from the community regarding the restoration of the wetland.
Released a live three-day documentary with Kameme and K24 television stations highlighting the Ewaso Narok. The documentary has so far been shared with LAICONAR’S membership and in the Laikipia Forum social media platforms.

LAICONAR is working to fill the following gaps realized as a result of our multi-stake holder platforms:
• Create strong value-chain for responsible agriculture products
• Provide awareness on available financial services and link farmers to social support networks, co-operative and supervised credit
• Enhance awareness about crop insurance and access to customized and tailored products
• Develop a decision-support systems that include geo-data, yield data, agronomic risk data.
• Enhance awareness of existing data, to address climatic related and seasonal gaps
• Support water financing and promote contract farming.
• Promote the use of certified seeds, adoption of guideline on good agricultural and climate-smart practices
• Lobby for conservation of critical habitats and ecosystems, especially wetlands
Our partnership with the Laikipia Forum has helped us reach more members in the Ewaso basin. We are working closely with the MKWEP and Ewaso Maji Users SACCO, a water financing cooperative, both working under the umbrella of the Laikipia Forum.

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Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) have the responsibility to increase water conservation efforts among their member. This responsibility forms part of their mandate in the protection of water quality and quantity in their sub catchment. The WRUAs serve as a critical bridge between Water Resources Authority and water users within a sub catchment and are critical to improved water resource management.

However, most WRUAs struggle to operate and address water resource issues within their sub catchments due to lack of capacity, resources, and funds to run their operations and activities. They provide few services as a result. Simply put, without resources the WRUA model is not working.

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership is piloting the WRUA agency model in order to address these shortcomings. The WRUA agency model describes an arrangement between WRA and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016. The model is yet to be operationalized but it does provide an opportunity to redefine the WRA-WRUA relationship around specified deliverables in a way that also improves WRUA operations, financing and WRA functions.  To accelerate the operationalization of this model, WRA headquarters needs to endorse and approve this approach. Moreover, WRUA capacity needs improvement to undertake specific services contracted by the WRA.

MKEWP is leading adoption of this new model with its development partners the World Bank and CORDAID. They are also working with WRUAs to build their capacity to improve on their governance and service delivery.

There’s some important history here. Private-public partnerships within the basin have been shown to work well. For example, Ngusishi WRUA, in Timau, operates a functional service-based WRUA with support from its membership. Their membership is drawn from commercial growers, small scale farmers, and the WRA. Water fee collections actually provide the WRA with the ability to contract Ngusishi WRUA, and in turn, the WRUA is seen to provide value-added services to its members.

MKEWP will nurture similar partnership in other WRUAs to improve WRUA capacities. To kick-off this model, 7 WRUAs will be selected this year for piloting. Their success will build a case to scale the WRUA agency model within the Ewaso Ng’iro Basin and the Country.

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2019 ANNUAL KWS CONSERVATION EDUCATION WORKSHOP: Fostering Cohesion and Partnerships

Under new leadership, KWS hosted the 2019 annual KWS Conservation Education Workshop. Speaking at the Workshop, KWS Executive Director, General Brig (rtd) John Migui Waweru, endorsed the formation of the Conservation Education Forum. He gave his  full support for its objectives and areas of focus. His main concerns remains the high level of Human Wildlife Conflicts, and stated that 65% of Kenyan land is populated by humans, and the other 35% by wildlife. The proximity of people and wildlife amidst a growing human population would continue to trigger conflict among the two since all depend on the natural habitat for survival.

The Laikipia Forum took the lead on one of the conservation education thematic groups – Public Engagement and Research. The Forum illustrated the achievements of citizen science in the greater Laikipia area, collaboration with regional conservation organizations and county governments, and the engagement of wananchi in conservation data collection.

The Annual KWS Conservation Education Workshop was held on the 21st of May, 2019, at the Kenya Wildlife Services Headquarters where the Conservation Education Forum secretariat and membership pledged to be strategic in its operations, vibrant, all inclusive and above all, promote synergy among all conservation actors in the country. This was the unanimous consensus reached by members of the forum and over 15 conservation organizations attending the workshop.

The Conservation Education Forum includes three thematic areas: Community Outreach, Public Engagement and Research, and Learning Institutions.  The workshop sort to showcase organizational strengths and come up with modalities of leveraging one another for impactful conservation education programming, as well as for the development of a single CE curriculum that could be adopted and used by all conservation education organizations in the country.

While concluding the workshop, the chair of the Conservation Education Forum, Ms. Mary Kirabui highlighted that our primary goal is to promote environmental conservation broadly. Conservation education is but one of many tools that contribute to this goal. She emphasized the need for all the players in the sector to be fully dedicated in their work and to be true ambassadors of wildlife conservation and environmental protection.

The workshop was organized by Kenya Wildlife Service, The Conservation Education Forum Secretariat with support from: WildlifeDirect, Stand Up, Shout Oust (SUSO), Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, National Museums of Kenya, and Africa Nazarene University.

For more information contact Mary Kirabui at mkirabui@kws.go.ke  (0723 594431) and Benedict Omondi at benedict.omondi@laikipia.org (0720 687 479)

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SERVIR Project Launch: Joining Hands to Curb the Opuntia Stricta Menace

KES 2 Million has been set aside by the Laikipia County Government to facilitate the mapping and control the infestation of the invasive species Opuntia Stricta, through the biological control method using cochineal produced in three new greenhouses . Prickly pear has gradually encroached parts of the County and is proving to be a menace as it continues to claim grazing land, making it difficult for both wildlife and livestock to feed.

The Laikipia Forum, in partnership with the County Government through the County Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, officially launched the SERVIR program on the 16th of May 2019, at Twala Cultural Manyatta in Il Polei group ranch, Laikipia County. SERVIR is supported by RCMRD and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

The meeting was used to brief stakeholders in Laikipia on the SERVIR project implementation. The meeting created a perfect opportunity for the stakeholders to share their progress and challenges, as well as their targets towards the control and management of the spread of the invasive species in the Northern Kenya Rangelands. It was noted that  most of the organizations are focused on eradication of opuntia stricta, using mechanical methods (uprooting), biologicalmeans  (using cochineal insect raised in green houses), and bio-enterprise methods (that included fruit collection for wine, juice and jellies).

Laikipia Forum shared the SERVIR project implementation plan and engagement mechanisms to help fast-track the training of rangers and project managers on invasive species mapping using an online application. These results of this exercise will be shared with  the County and the Community.

Some of the recommendations made by the team are as follows;

  1. Laikipia and Samburu Counties to facilitate the process of mapping and eradication of oputia stricta and acacia refeciens
  2. There was a need to bring in board all the stakeholders from the counties infested by invasive plant species that were overwhelming rangelands.
  3. County Government to support the local community by providing tools/technology to aid their efforts on invasive species eradication.
  4. Quarterly meetings to report on the progress of eradication.
  5. Train rangers and green house caretakers on data collection.
  6. Include the counties’ livestock departments for rangeland reseeding support.
  7. Develop a monitoring framework to support these activities.  Laikipia County will coordinate this.

A SERVIR Project monitoring steering committee team was formed to oversee the implementation.  They agreed to meet on the 7th of June, 2019, to develop a monitoring framework. The committee will meet at the Twala Cultural Manyatta. World Vision will assist with the logistics for the meeting.

For more information contact: Margaret Wambua (Margaret.wambua@laikipia.org  or +254 722 369387 ) and John Letai, (jletai7@gmail.com or +254 722 670503 )