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Covid, Bushmeat, and the Laikipia Landscape

According to reports from different locations in Kenya, poaching and bushmeat hunting are surging in parts of Kenya as many rural communities suffer “COVID hunger.” We know that the Mt. Kenya Trust has reported a surge in bushmeat hunting from the Mt. Kenya Forest.

This report (with graphic images) appeared recently in Britain’s The Telegraph.

What’s Been Your Experience in the Laikipia Landscape During Covid?

 

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EMU-SACCO – Two Years In. What’s New?

Peter Mwithimbu, the treasurer of EMU SACCO, shares the treasurer’s report for the year 2020 during the SACCO’S second AGM.

The 2nd EMU Sacco AGM was held on 10th September 2020. The AGM is a unique opportunity to engage with members.

This years’ EMU SACCO’s AGM focused on the way forward and sustainability for the SACCO after the end of donor support. To enhance our mandate, members are considered paramount and are therefore our key area of focus.  The challenge that the management faces is to ensure that members have the sense of ownership for the Sacco especially within the harsh environment that has escalated with the Covid 19 pandemic.

Over the last nine months, Sacco membership has grown by over 30% or to 230 members currently.

The Board seeks to increase the capital base of the Sacco through interests accrued from loans to members. Emu Sacco has various loan products that include:

  • the water loan (0.8% reducing balance);
  • development loans (1% reducing balance);
  • emergency loans (1.5% reducing balance);
  • school fees loans (1% reducing balance) and more.

The product that makes the Sacco unique is the water loan. This loan is designed to help members become water secure. Members are not only helped with the finance for water investments, they are also linked to suppliers and service providers that offer quality products and services at discounted prices. The Sacco then goes further to train the members how to use the water efficiently and add value to the economic activities of the members for improved livelihood.

EMU-SACCO has also been able to get into MOUs with several partnerships that promise benefits to its membership as highlighted below;

 

 

Afro Drip

   

Provide dam liners, drip irrigation kits and other PE products at preferential

Prices for EMU-SACCO members.

 

 

 

Sun Culture

 

Provide irrigation solar equipment at preferential prices for EMUSACCO members.

 

 

Kutoka Ardhini

 

Engages EMU-SACCO members as out-growers for their essential oil products from irrigated (e.g. geranium, tea tree, rosemary, lavender, oregano) crops.

 

Eco Fix  

Provide organic agricultural farm inputs to members of EMU- SACCO. This includes organic fertilizers, foliar sprays, vinegar and chicken feeds.

 

The Board also recognizes the integral need for deepening of partnerships with other service providers and also envisages closer collaboration with the County.

Coraid funding for the Sacco came to an end on September 30. The Board is on the lookout for fundraising opportunities from willing donors and philanthropists. The Board, with the help of MKEWP and Laikipia Forum, continues to put forth proposals seeking funds to support the Sacco’s operations and growth.

“It is my conviction that with professionalism, teamwork, creativity, innovation and commitment during implementation and adequate support from all stakeholders, our efforts lay a strong foundation towards the realization of our vision to transform our members’ livelihoods through provision of financial solutions to improve water security and sustainable economic empowerment in Ewaso Basin.”- Charles Kiara, Chairman EMU SACCO.

 

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“SCAMPS”!!? What Are They?

Sub Catchment Management Plans (SCMP) are the approved tools by which water issues are identified and managed in our rivers. They are key to the functions of Water Resource User Groups, and they dictate the amount of water that can be used from each river. They are used to establish the environmental flow of a river to ensure that there is sufficient water downstream. They also dictate the location of water offtake points in the system. They are a necessity in order to receive funding from the Water Sector Trust Fund, and they must be approved by the Water Resources Authority.

They are also affectionately referred to as SCAMPS, an abbreviation of the acronym, SCMP.

MKEWP continues to support the development of these plans. During this most recent period, we have supported Naromoru and Isiolo WRUAs to review and improve their Sub-Catchment Management Plans (SCMP). Naromoru WRUA SCMP was developed in 2009 and Isiolo WRUA in 2008. Both SCMPs were developed through earlier LWF financial support. These revisions SCMP to align the older SCMPs with the Water Act 2016.

The WRUA mandate outlined in the SCMPs cuts across the County and Government functions and requires the support of both levels of government in their implementation. They are THE Major Tool to improve water and sanitation services and water resource management.

The SCMPs include activities that contribute to sustainable water service delivery, and soil and water conservations. These two aspects of water management contribute directly to the County requirements. There is urgent need for County financial support to WRUA SCMP implementation if we are to realize their benefits.

This process is supported by

 

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Nanyuki@100

This year, Nanyuki celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The County Government is keen to link this celebration to a string of events over the next four months. Here are some of them!

  1. World Tourism Day will be celebrated in Nanyuki, the weekend of September 26 and 27th, with a marketing and advertising campaign led by the County and the Standard Media Group.

They will feature the marketing line, “Twende Nanyuki – Mwisho Wa Reli”, and #Destination Laikipia.

This is a good chance to advertise and market LTA services and activities for the public.

Destination Laikipia is again being (re)launched, and this time led by the Laikipia County Development Authority. Stay tuned for the release of the revised website produced in concert with the Laikipia Tourism Authority, and featuring all things great within the County  and its surrounds.

  1. 100for100 – Greening Nanyuki. A Task Force of County, LCDA, the Forum, and MKEWP have been working hard these last two months to identify at least 100 acres of green public areas to preserve in the face of Nanyuki’s growth. We are hoping to have at least 1 acre of green preserved for each year of the town’s age.

 

The Task Force identified more than the 100 acres of greens space that include riparian walkways and picnic/public grounds.  The proposals now sit with the County Government for support and action. We expect the next steps to be public engagement in the location and confirmation of the sites/walkways

  1. Nanyuki@100

The town will celebrate the build-up to the Anniversary birthday party expected on or close to Jamhuri Day (December 12). Stay tuned for the program of events expected out from County Government soon.

And expect more news and contributions from our citizens, banks and businesses in support of the event!

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Man on A Mission: EMU-SACCO Membership Recruitment

Antony Muriungi, the EMU-SACCO Marketing Officer, heading out on another recruitment mission

Two years ago, water users  in our Basin came together. We were able to set up a financial the Ewaso Maji Users  (EMU) Sacco to meet our financial and agricultural needs.

Farmer’s attitudes have since changed from looking at subsistence agriculture as the only source of livelihood to become better water managers and more dynamic entrepreneurs on an individual level.

One man who has been on the wheels of this change is Mr. Antony Muriungi, the Ewaso Maji Users Marketing Officer.

Since joining EMU-SACCO, Anthony has been able to fast track membership growth from 134 members to 202 members in just two months. Antony attributes this steady growth to close collaborations and support in the recruitment process from Water Resources Users Associations, Community Water Projects and the SACCO management team.

“Our members needed loan facilities without providing collateral or security as is a requirement by the main Banks. They believed that such loans could only be provided efficiently and urgently by an in-house Sacco.”

“We must understand that the members are the backbone of Ewaso Maji Users Sacco, and the reason we exist. As part of our mission to transform our member’s livelihoods through provision of financial solutions to improve water security and sustainable economic empowerment in Ewaso Basin, we focus on working with each member personally to better understand their financial goals and offer attainable solutions that really make a difference, ”says Anthony.

He adds that the SACCO is fully aware that as a cooperative, profits are returned to members, in the form of improved services, lower interest rates, and higher deposit rates.

“We know we are delivering on these promises as our members have been extremely active in all areas of our offerings, including telling us where we are doing great and where we can improve. We are willing to go all the way and introduce more products which shall be much affordable to our Members.”

Emu Sacco provides a number of financial products,  the main one being the water loan dubbed, Maji Chap Chap, with an interest rate of 0.8% on a reducing balance. Through this loan members are linked to service providers and acquire water infrastructure/technology at discounted prices.

Here are some important testimonials from EMU Sacco members

I have been a member of the Sacco for one year and during my time as a member, I have nothing but love for everyone who works and support this society. I believe that the Sacco will grow to be a big Sacco and have great impact on the lives of farmers. I am so proud to be a member!- bona fide member                  Isaac Magiri

Since I Joined Emu Sacco, I have benefitted from linkages to service providers like, Sun Culture. I was able to get a solar pump at very low price and this pump has helped boost my farming.  Even during hard times like this of the Covid pandemic, Emu Sacco has always communicated to us as members in time to help us understand situations which makes it even better for us as members. Asante Emu Sacco!                 Mr. Japhet Kariithi

What I can testify is that there has been a steadfast growth in the Sacco over the last months and we are aiming to greater heights for growth. I am working to ensure EMU SACCO becomes a leading financial institution offering superior financial access along the Ewaso and Mount Kenya region.    Anthony Muriungi

 

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Making Sense of the New Mukogodo

Kenya Forest Service Board Chairman, Mr. Peter Kinyua, addresses members of the Ilmamusi Mukogodo Community Forest Association and surrounding community stakeholders in August

A series of three meetings have worked to re-establish the representation and compliance of ILMAMUSI CFA with the laws governing national forests and resources in the Country.

There are three major and important results coming out of these meetings.

  1. KFS has been importantly engaged in the re-establishment of the CFA and is committed to its success. The engagement of the Chairman of the Board is an indication of their more serious support for the Forest. This KFS engagement has been missing for the last 13 years.
  2. The Forest now has an official register of members allowed entry and use of the Forest’s resources. They are drawn from the communities living within 5 km of the Forest edge. This is the first time ever ILMAMUSI CFA has its own membership register; previously the CFA had relied on Group Ranch registers from Ilngwesi, Makurian, Kurikuri and Lekurruki Group Ranches. A total of 2,296 have now populated the CFA register. Membership registration will be an annual activity; it is the foundation upon which community involvement in co-management of forest resources in Kenya is established.
  3. Six forest user groups have been formed in each Conservancy to manage specific elements of the Forest’s future. These groups are responsible for the access, use, and sustainable management of these 6 resources. They include honey harvesting, herbal medicine collection, pasture and water, ecotourism, tree nurseries establishment, and fuel wood collection. 6 representatives have been selected from these 24 community members selected to represent each of these Forest uses.

This is a significant departure from the past CFA Management formation in which Community Based Organizations (CBOs) Chairpersons were appointed to the Board to represent the interests of forest user groups.

These 6 forest user group representatives are added to the full management committee of ILMAMUSI.

This process is being supported by FAO through the GEF-6 Restoration of Arid and Semi-arid Lands of Kenya through Bio-enterprise Development and Other Incentives

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Wildlife – How Much Longer?

Coexistence is the key to survival of the Serengeti, Okavango Delta and Kalahari regions, some of the world’s most prolific wildlife ecosystems that are surrounded by fast-growing human communities. It’s no different in Laikipia.

Rural livelihoods depend on these forests, fisheries and rangelands, so effective and lasting conservation strategies must find ways not only to protect wildlife and the environment but also to deliver economic opportunities at local and national scales. In Kenya, for example, up to 65% of all wildlife is found on community and private lands, outside government parks and reserves, and wildlife tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry . . .

But both the economic drivers of wildlife conservation – TOURISM, (confounded by the Covid Pandemic), and the belief that WILDLIFE MUST PAY ITS WAY are compromised by a confused and emotional public.

This is the role of the Laikipia Forum – to harness collective action and economic innovation in service to the conservation and management of our natural resources.

Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program in the 1980s, helped pioneer the idea of generating community-level incentives for wildlife conservation through sustainable and locally managed use. But CONSERVATION is littered with projects that promised to make conservation profitable and beneficial to local communities but struggled to deliver. This includes Kenya, and Laikipia where LWF had its origins in consumptive wildlife use between 1994 and 2004.

But since, our East Africa region has been a source of fertile innovation for conservation efforts.

Two important trends are emerging in Kenya – KWCA as the voice of the new generation of conservancy movements and the Task Force Report on Consumptive Wildlife Use that calls for a new approach to our definition of wildlife, consumption and biodiversity conservation.

Today, it’s clear that it can be done: A “conservation economy” can create jobs and attract investment while protecting and sustaining the ecological wealth that peoples’ livelihoods depend on. A rising generation of African conservation entrepreneurs . . . is reframing conservation as a growth sector.”

This rising generation is celebrated in this story  in the Stanford Social Innovation review.

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Locust Invasion In Kenya On the Decrease?

The desert locust infestation could be coming under control now. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation , Kenya has beaten the locust upsurge, at least for now.

FAO, however, warns that more people in Kenya and the region will be food insecure due to the damage caused by the locusts on food, as well as pastures for livestock. The re -emergence of swarms in Samburu County give additional cause for concern.

FAO noted that significant progress has been made in fighting the desert locusts in the region, with Kenya standing out among the countries that have posted major milestones.

The number of counties infested by locusts has gone down to two from 29 – more than half of the country, at the beginning of this year.

“In Kenya, only two of the 29 counties that were infested in February have desert locusts today,” FAO said.

The Organization noted that having locusts under control was due to efforts by FAO, its partners, and East African governments in building capacity to fight the locusts. The desert locusts’ invasion has resulted in major threat to food security across East Africa as well as parts of Asia and Middle East.

New technologies have been deployed in the fight to control the spread and location of locust swarms, including transmitters attached to locusts (picture above)  and the use of drones.

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ORAMAT LENABOISHO Cooperative Society Set to Grow

The Kenya’s livestock sector is primed to grow exponentially over the next three decades. This growth is huge and is expected to anchor Kenya’s food security amid a rapid rise in the human population.

The livestock sector will have choice but to respond through reform. Oramat Lenaboisho  Cooperative intends to be part and parcel of this transformation of the sector.   But how?

In the recent years,  the over-dependence on rains that never rain, combined with poor livestock and rangelands management, and a lack of access to markets have hindered productivity. In addition, falling yields, degraded lands, cash constraints and inefficient links between small holders and consumers have contributed to food deficits, limiting livelihood opportunities and forcing much of the population to rely on food aid.  Laikipia North was particularly hard-hit during the Covid crisis.

The growing food demand, the adoption of improved livestock technologies, formation of cooperatives and more efficient markets offer opportunities to enhance livestock production, food security and resilience amongst the pastoralists of Laikipia North.

Oramat has been championing for change in the sector since the formation of the Cooperative. It continues to source funds through partnerships with the County Government and is presently working on a loan through the KCB bank that is aimed at accelerating the recovery from Covid 19.

Oramat is making all these efforts to ensure that it remains relevant and viable and can live up to its dream of revitalizing our rangelands with benefits to the sector and individual households.

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Who Gets to Use the Resources of Mukogodo Forest?

ERROR – We apologize for the omission of Northern Rangeland Trust in our partnership round-up. 

As Laikipia Forum, we strongly believe in the values of partnerships as a pillar in our all programs. Partnership has the real value to influence change and improve livelihoods for the communities and people that we serve across this landscape.

Ilmamusi Forest Association is a membership organization bringing together the local Maasai community living adjacent to Mukogodo Forest. Since its inception in 2008, the Community Forest Association has depended on group ranch registers of residents from Ilngwesi, Makurian, Kurikuri and Lekurruki to define its membership.

As part of the constitutional reform of the CFA, we have embarked on a new registry to define the members who have access and use rights in the Forest. As a starting point, every individual on the register must belong to a USER GROUP, the USER GROUP must be registered with the CFA, and everyone must live within 5 km of the Forest boundary.

So far, a total of 2069 people have been registered. 1009 are male and 1060 are female. Ilngwesi location has 512 members, Makurian location has 698 members, Mukogodo location has 579 members and Sieku location has 280 members.

ILMAMUSI has made notable strides in streamlining forest user groups. We held meetings with representatives drawn from CFA Board. We agreed on resource use rights in the Forest. These would be restricted to harvesting of honey, collection of medicinal herbs, grazing and water access, ecotourism, tree nurseries and tree planting, and fuel wood collection.

User groups are the foundation on which the CFA stands; therefore these groups will be re-organized to reflect the user rights defined above. The next big step in our development will be to build the capacity of these USER GROUPS to organize and manage their operations in support of these six thematic uses of the Forest.

All Forest USER GROUPS must be duly registered. They must provide the list of members to the CFA and share reports on their functions on a regular basis. This register will also inform the authorities of who is a legal user of the Forest, and who is not.

ILMAMUSI will develop a database of all these USER GROUPS. This documentation is imperative as the CFA prepares for a review and revision of its Participatory Forest Management Plan, and Forest Management with the Kenya Forest Service.

Special thanks to our Partners for their support, and to LWF for their leadership, in helping us organize this important step in our growth as a CFA.

This process is being supported by FAO through the GEF-6 Restoration of Arid and Semi-arid Lands of Kenya through Bio-enterprise Development and Other Incentives

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