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National Drought Management Authority Releases the Long Rains Assessment National Report

We suspect that most of you won’t read this report, but for those with interest, the GOK/Kenya Food Security Steering Group has released a report illustrating the continuation of the dire situation in northern Kenya.

Interested readers will want to turn their attention to the section where Laikipia appears in section 2.3 – on page 34. We’re lumped with Kajiado, Narok, Baringo, and West Pokot – in the agro-pastoralist belt. 

There are a host of factors in Laikipia and outside Laikipia that impact us, our land use, and our food security. 

Others will be interested in the statistics, such as the population estimate for Laikipia in 2016 – about 506,000 people, of which as many as 76,000 are considered chronically food insecure during October – December. 

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Kenya Government Overhauls the County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees

The Government of Kenya, through the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, has overhauled the Community Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees (CWCCC) after determining that they are not functional or sustainable. New Community Wildlife Conservation Committees have been appointed by an amendment to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act. 

As of August 1, 2019, a new country-focused committee will be chaired by the County Commissioner with membership from four arms of government – wildlife, agriculture, livestock, & medical, and four “community” members. 

This nine person committee will have responsibility for:

1. Approving compensation that has been confirmed

2. Mobilizing citizens to conserve

3. Contributing to Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation and management. 

But how will an impoverished government realize the functions of these committees? The gazette notice says nothing about how these committees will be funded and mobilized.

We submit that this overhaul of county conservation committees still doesn’t address the key matters affecting wildlife conservation in the country:

1. There is no prioritization of wildlife areas – instead, every county is treated equally, irrespective of their wildlife agenda/challenges. 

2. These appointments fail to take into account the full set of recommendations offered by the Wildlife Compensation Task Force appointed earlier this year. This report has yet to be published.

3. There is no sense of how these committees will coordinate and cooperate on matters related to cross-county wildlife corridors, dispersal areas, and human wildlife conflict. 

We’ve highlighted the counties and their new Committee membership affecting the Greater Laikipia Landscape, in the recent gazette announcement <here>. The good news is that many of the Committee members are also members of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, where relevant. 

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Get To Know Your WRUAs: Ngare Ndare WRUA

Ngare Ndare WRUA is one of the larger sub-catchments in the Upper Ewaso Basin, only second to the Ewaso Narok. The WRUA covers just over 1000 square kilometres impacting Meru, Laikipia and Isiolo counties. 

The water in this sub-catchment is critical to commercial farmers, ranchers/conservancies, small holders and downstream pastoralists. The WRUA membership includes Uhuru Flowers, Timaflor, Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Borana and Lewa conservancies, Il Ngwesi and Lekkuruki conservancies. 

Much of the water of Ngare Ndare disappears into the sand downstream. In these areas, community wells used to be dug, but they proved treacherous for humans, livestock and wildlife. Sand dams are the preferred technology now, and several sand dams have been built downstream. 

The Disney Conservation Project is working with the Laikipia Forum to sponsor construction of the latest sand dam in Lekkuruki Conservancy. The effort will supply water for wildlife, livestock and Tassia Lodge. This is another effort as well, to mitigate Human Elephant Conflict.

The WRUA forms part of the critical corridor for wildlife passage between Mt. Kenya and the greater Laikipia Landscape. There are plans for the Ngare Ndare Forest and Lewa/Borana Conservancies will be added to the UNESCO Man and Biosphere international program. 

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Elephant Fencing – A Blessing to the Arjiju Community

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.

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Using Community Led Solutions to Solve Community Problems

 

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MKEWP enters into a new Partnership with CORDAID

MKEWP adds a new partner in the Ewaso Basin.

In the beginning of the New Year, MKEWP entered into a new Partnership with CORDAID, the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid, as a local implementing partner for the Partners for Resilience (PfR) program. The PfR program is an alliance of the Netherlands Red Cross (lead agency), CARE Netherlands, Cordaid, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, and Wetlands International.

PFR

Ms Zeituna Roba, Cordaid Program Manager and Partners for Resilience Country Coordinator briefing partcipants at a familiarization meeting among Cordaid, MKEWP and Ngare Ndare, Ngare Nything and Isiolo WRUAs at Kisima Centre, Meru County

An initial one year contract between CORDAID and MKEWP will see the partnership support the operationalization of the newly established EMU SACCO and implement the WRUA agency model.

WRUA Agency – “Commercializing WRUA Services”

Within the basin, WRUAs serve as a critical bridge between the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and water users at sub catchment level who are critical to improved water resource management.

Most WRUAs (Water Resource User Associations) 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, especially when asked to provide value-added practices in support of water management.

MKEWP will pilot a WRUA agency model to address these shortcomings. The WRUA agency model is an arrangement between the WRA and a WRUA, in which the WRA pays the WRUA for specific services rendered. This role is envisaged in the Water Act 2016. WRUAs will provide services valuable to WRA and WRUA members. In return, WRA and WRUA members will pay WRUAs to finance their operations and professional/technical support. The WRA can do this because increased WRUA efficiency results in the more effective collection of water use fees and payments.

Cordaid will support MKEWP to build awareness on this model, build the capacity of WRUAs, lobby at County and National government for adoption, and provide the necessary support for implementation of the model in two (2) WRUAs.

UPDATE!!

The World Bank has again joined MKEWP with continued support to the Partnership for two years. The new Bank grant will support the expansion of the WRUA Agency Model to an additional 5 Water Resource User Associations, and assist these WRUAs along lines similar to the CORDAID work. The close collaboration between these two grants – CORDAID and World Bank, is expected to yield a model of WRUA financing and operations that can be embraced throughout the country

 

       

 

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EMU SACCO-EWASO MAJI USERS SAVINGS AND CREDIT COOPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD

THE NEW-OLD SOLUTION TO WATER SECURITY

emusacco logo

The official Emusacco logo

 

 

The Ewaso Maji Users Association (EMU SACCO), the newest innovation by MKEWP – Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership, is working to enhance water security for communities through financial solutions for Laikipia farmers

As part of MKEWP’s goal to improve water security in the Ewaso River Basin, EMU-SACCO has been developed to finance water investments at farm level. The water crisis in the Ewaso River Basin has been a never-ending challenge for our communities, too often accompanied by conflicts among the people.

Unreliable dry season river flows have led to general misuse of the already limited resource. This situation pits communities against each other, and puts a lot of them at a disadvantage.

To ease pressure on the already limited resource, MKEWP wants to increase and accelerate innovate water financing for water investment at farm level.

EMU SACCO is a community-based financier that supports farmers access to finances for household level investment in water harvesting, storage and efficient used. We encourage water users to be self-reliant and to invest in on-farm and community water conservation infrastructure.

 

Our objects are to:

  • Bridge financial gaps in water investment.
  • Provide a savings platform for water users
  • Offer a borrowing fund to help water users finance water storage and efficient use.
  • Promote water conservation within the Ewaso Basin.

WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT.

  • We offer affordable and flexible rates.
  • We provide linkages between water users and modern technology service providers.
  • We aim at economic improvement of livelihoods of water users.
  • Link farmers to markets and business opportunities.

EMU-SACCO offers a revolutionary approach to water sustainability in our communities. We use a well-known Kenya credit and savings tool to accelerate solutions and ownership to our water conservation and management challenges.

EMU-SACCO is hosted by the Mount Kenya Water Partnership (MKEWP). Our offices are located at the Laikipia Forum premises in Nanyuki.

Join us – we are 50 members strong already. Please stop by for a visit and become a member!!

 

 

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Stakeholders Meeting on Opuntia stricta Management at Twala Cultural Manyatta, Ilpolei

Opuntia Stricta – prickly pear – remains an invasive species threat in Laikipia. Laikipia County Government has been in the forefront of discussions on how to address this invasive species. On February 22, 2019, the County Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, led the third follow-up stakeholder workshop to agree a way forward on the harmonization of the efforts different stakeholders are making towards management of Opuntia stricta.

The meeting was attended by different Laikipia and national stakeholders including community members from the group ranches most severely impacted by the plant, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, ICRAF, Mpala Research Centre, World Vision, Laikipia Perma-Culture Center, Laikipia County Government, the Northern Rangelands Trust, Naibunga Conservancy, ILMAMUSI CFA, and GSD Innovation. Also in attendance at the meeting was the MCA for Mukogodo East Ward, Hon. Daniel Nyausi, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the County Assembly of Laikipia. He assured full County support to the invasive species management efforts. He also requested for a briefing paper to be presented to the County Assembly for lobbying of a County Policy on invasive species, and for the allocation of more budget for interventions in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Opuntia LWF

Meeting proceedings at Twala Cultural Manyatta

The major resolutions of the meeting included the combination of mechanical control, biological control, enterprise and policy formulation in the management of the invasive species. Laikipia County Government will continue to coordinate all the activities from the different stakeholders in the management of the invasive species. Stakeholders pledged to maintain frequent engagements and coordination in the management of the invasive species.

 

UPDATE!!

LWF is the recipient of a new grant through USAID and the Regional Center for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD). The grant will be administered by LWF and support the County’s efforts to monitor the Opuntia eradication efforts with the engagement of citizen science. The grant will commence in April 2019. Stand by for regular updates!

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Changing the Narrative on Wildlife Conservation: Kenyan Conservancies Speak Out!

Communications experts and practitioners working in Kenyan Conservancies across the country unanimously agreed to work in a coordinated manner to change the negative narrative that has for too long time engulfed the conservation space.

This collaborative action was agreed at the first Conservation Communication Forum organized by Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association on 7th March 2019, at the African Wildlife Foundation. The forum brought together communication practitioners from over 20 conservancies in the country with an aim of brain-storming ways to correct the apparent “communication disconnect in Kenyan wildlife conservation” as well as create collective action and harmony to ensure that our national conservation effort is projected to the world with an improved perspective and through various media channels.

Communication experts listen in to the KWS Ag. Director General Prof. Charles Musyoki while delivering his speech at the Conservation Communications Forum in Nairobi

The negative publicity around conservation was majorly attributed to the competitive nature of conservancies for donor funding.  As a result, success stories such as: women shattering the conservation “glass ceiling”; the downturn in poaching; the recovery of vulnerable species; and the fact that Kenyans are at the helm of conservation; these themes barely see the light of day. In addition, seldom do the individual efforts of conservancies contribute to the national and international perspectives and messaging so important to the emerging national narrative on conservancies. Read more