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County Government engages Laikipia Tourism Association over formation of a tourism board

Catherine Waruguru

Laikipia Women Representative Catherine Waruguru addresses the forum that brought together County Government of Laikipia and the private sector in tourism

The County Government of Laikipia hosted an engagement and consultative meeting with the private sector in Nanyuki to mark the first steps to developing a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for tourism.

On 6th July, the Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) joined the County Government in consultations on how best to promote sustainable tourism and to discuss the formation of a Laikipia Tourism Board. The eventual Board will be interfaces between the Public and the Private Sectors in Laikipia. Its formation however, is dependent on the passage of the Laikipia County Tourism Bill, which is yet to be tabled in the County Assembly.

The LTA, through its Executive Committee urged the County Executive to expedite the passage of the bill which will form the basis of strategies for investment, growth and sustainability in the tourism sector.

In a rejoinder, Finance County Executive Committee Member (CECM) Mr. Murungi, who represented Laikipia Governor, Ndiritu Muriithi, gave an assurance of accelerated passage of the Bill by the County Assembly.

Once this Bill is passed, the tourism board will be involved in county policies and programs related to sustainable tourism sector development. Its success will see Laikipia provide leadership as the first of the 47 counties to develop and test the effectiveness of a PPP in county tourism development.

The County promised a subsidized levy to service providers who will submit waiver request through the Association a move that Laikipia Women Representative Catherine Waruguru, said would strengthen membership of the association.

This comes as great news for Laikipia tourism service providers who are interested in joining the Association as members. The Association is currently on a membership drive to bring together more than 100 Laikipia tourism service providers.

The Association is keen to make Laikipia a model county for sustainable tourism – their focus is on sustainable tourism growth, employment, environmental responsibility, recycling and sustainable energy technology and equitable benefit sharing.

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Solar-Powered Fence Takes Shape in Arjiju Village

Disney Project

Margarate Wambua LWF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Wilfred Mejooli, Makuarian Rangelands Coordinator and Senteu Ole Kimiri ILMAMUSI CFA Manager take a walk along the pole line erected around the settlement area in Arjiju Village.

Community members residing in Arjiju Village, Mukogodo, have lived in harmony with elephants for decades. But changes in land use over the years, food security and population growth, Maasai communities have started practising small-scale agriculture.

Yet, Arjiju Village has not enjoyed a full maize crop because of elephants raids on their farms. With the village located at the periphery of Mukogodo forest, humans, livestock and wildlife share common resources such as water and pasture. Owing to competition for these resources, persistent Human-Elephant Conflicts (HEC) have been witnessed

A solar-powered fence on the Mukogodo landscape seeks to reduce the occurrence and frequency of Human-Elephant Conflict.

Construction of the fence is part of Disney Conservation Project is part of activities recommended by ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association during the initial consultative meetings.

ILMAMUSI

The community in Mukogodo previously used a barbed-wired fence to protect their crops

This fence is a trial effort and replaces a barbed-wire fence in an effort to protect farms produce and support livelihoods.

The poles are up and the electric wires will be installed in the next few weeks, as the project makes progress in Mukogodo. Almost 45 acres and the Village dispensary are enclosed by the Fence.

Community members in Arjiju met Laikipia County Governor, Mr. Ndiritu Murithi, where they held discussions on Human Wildlife Conflicts and how the solar-powered fencing can be used to benefit the community.

To learn more about the Arjiju Solar Fence or to learn more about the Disney supported Mukogodo Project, please contact:

Margaret Wambua

margaret.wambua@laikipia.org

+254 726 500 260

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Illegal Water Abstraction Impacts Mount Kenya

 

Mt Kenya Water Abstraction

Mount Kenya’s moorlands is now littered with pipes used for illegal water intakes

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) joined the Mount Kenya Trust to survey water abstraction in the northern moorlands of Mt. Kenya.

The survey was conducted to look at compliance and how water abstraction is affecting the mountain.

The trip to the mountain revealed the discouraging state of affairs on water resource management in the most critical water tower in Kenya. The moorland, which falls under the supervision of Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service on Mt Kenya has witnessed increased human activity evident from numerous illegal water intakes constructed along the streams.

12 water intakes in a radius area of about 10 km were found during the survey. They sit between 3200 to 4000 metres above sea level. The highest water intake recorded during the survey was at 3987 metres above sea level – an indication that water users are going higher and higher up the mountain to abstract water.

Other key findings included construction of several water intakes too close to each other in the same stream. In one of the rivers, three intakes had been constructed within a two hundred metre stretch.  Moreover, the designs of these intakes do not allow the mandatory environmental flows downstream.

Springs and tarn are the major sources of water at the moorland. The numerous intakes are a threat to the existence of the tarns. They impact the ecosystem, the integrity of the watershed, and impact tourism and landscapes.

Furthermore, the moorlands are littered with plastic from water abstraction activities and routine maintenance.

Water abstraction , Water intakes, Mt kenya,

The intakes are also constructed too close to each other in the same stream

The intakes are connected to pipelines that snake their way down the terrain to serve the needs of users downstream in areas of Timau Sub-Catchment, and impact residents of Meru, Laikipia and Isiolo counties.

Water abstraction in the moorland puts pressure on the catchment and is not sustainable in the long run, says the MKEWP Coordinator, Stanley Kirimi.

Indeed, Mt Kenya is the most significant water tower as a source of two of six water basins in the country

The Coordinator adds, “There is need to contain the situation, rationalize the offtake of water, and to adopt common intakes for effective water resource management.

“Common intakes allow users to share the resource equitably, and allow the recommended 30% of the river to flow downstream as ‘environmental flow’.” This is a requirement of the Water laws.

All the illegal intakes fall within Meru County boundaries and are subject to the authority of the Regional Water Resource Authority in Nanyuki.

We visited the moorland and documented the water intakes in video below:

 

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MKEWP Gets a Communication Strategy!

MKEWP, LWF, Communication Strategy

MKEWP stakeholders discuss during the inception workshop for the Communication Strategy

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) is developing its first Communication Strategy.

MKEWP’s stakeholders met for an inception workshop to discuss the best way to serve the information and communication needs of its partners given their diverse nature.

The workshop was designed to develop a draft strategy to address the Partnership’s communication needs and lay the ground for a robust brand identity.

Stakeholders at the forum agreed on a strategy that will drive “effective communication to promote a sense of ownership and trust between MKEWP stakeholders.”

The workshop furthermore, presented a platform for discussions where the participants settled on structure for the strategy.

The communications strategy will complement the Strategic Plan which focuses on building stakeholder participation and coordination in its first five years. The strategy will also be key to the implementation of the Financial Sustainability Plan which gives realistic options on how the Strategic Plan can be financed.

The communication strategy provides a framework for MKEWP to address awareness, learning and knowledge management, advocacy, informed decision-making and triggering behavior change.

Stakeholders will meet to review the draft communication strategy before it’s presented to MKEWP Council in July for approval.

The secretariat’s communication department, led by LWF will play a central role in the implementation of the strategy over the next five years

The following partners joined MKEWP during the workshop:

Once complete the partnership will embark on implementation of the communication strategy to effectively address its diverse partners on outreach and mandate.

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Joint effort – A big win for Rugariga Springs!

MKEWP Water Resource Specialist James Mwangi joins the community in Teleswani for tree planting exercise to mark World Environment Day.

 On June 5th, LWF and the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) marked the World Environment Day in a tree planting exercise at Rugariga Springs.

The spring that gushes from the slopes of Mt Kenya, in Teleswani sub-catchment, was picked by the local community to undergo rehabilitation.  In recent years, the splendour of Rugariga has been threatened by deforestation.

MKEWP, together with Mount Kenya Trust, joined efforts to protect the sub-catchment. Through the Water Resources User Groups (WRUAs) and Community Forest Associations (CFAs), the Partnership mobilized over 400 community members and 100 school children who braved the morning downpour to participate in the exercise.

The exercise brought together members from Sirimon CFA, Teleswani community water projects, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Teleswani, Ngusishi and Timau WRUAs and pupils from Kirimira and Kiambogo primary schools.

In the end, 3500 trees donated by Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) were planted to protect the spring that supplies River Teleswani. 2500 of the trees planted were indigenous while 1000 were giant bamboo seedlings, which are planted to create a favourable habitat for spring and river protection.

Senior forester, Mr Simiyu, from Kenya Forest Service, noted that the tree planting was in line with government’s ambitious plan aimed at increasing the country’s forest cover from the current 7% to 10% by the year 2022.

World Environment Day

A Pupil from Kirimara Primary school plants a tree as community member looks on

Mr Simiyu, however, challenged the CFAs to nurture the trees. “Planting the trees here today is a mere 2% of our efforts, but taking care of them is a crucial 98%.” Addressing the incessant encroachment of the catchment, the authority requested the community to be vigilant in safeguarding the resource

As a measure to protect the young trees, Ontulili CFA Chairman, Mr Magiri, announced that grazing of cattle will longer be allowed in the catchment.

Protection of catchments in the area is crucial to the Partnership’s agenda, a reality that Water Resources Specialist, James Mwangi, says, “can be achieved through collective action and responsibility.”

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LTA Member – Il Ngwesi Lodge Takes Community Award at Sustainable Tourism Summit

Laikipia Toursim Association

Il Ngwesi’s Community Conservancy  is flanked by LTA’s secretary (Second Left) as he receives an award for their efforts in Skills Development For Economic Community Empowerment during the Green Tourism Summit.

Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) partnered with Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (STTA) in June to host the fourth annual Green Tourism Summit. STTA is a private organization that advocates for sustainability and best practices in tourism.
The summit in Nyeri brought together tourism players from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Republic of South Africa to engage and share success stories on development of sustainable tourism in Africa.
LTA shared the Association’s plans to make Laikipia a model county for sustainable tourism through efforts between the County and the private tourism sector. It shared its progressive proposal for a public private partnership in Laikipia that would drive training, financing, and support to sustainable tourism enterprise. The Laikipia Sustainable Tourism Project Proposal can be accessed here

Part of the Summit was dedicated to an examination of wildlife conservancies that were recognized for leadership in accordance to the Summit’s theme “High Impact Social Development Programs by Conservancies/Ranches “.

Laikipia Tourism Association Secretary John Kingori shares with participants the associations experience in promoting sustainable tourism Landscape

LTA flagged three of its members for awards. Mugie, Ol Pejeta and Il Ngwesi Conservancies were nominated in the category of Skills Development For Economic Community Empowerment, competing against other conservancies in the Maasai Mara.
Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy stood out, winning the overall award in this category for its efforts to impact communities in seven neighborhoods.
These awards:
1. Identify, recognize and celebrate contribution to sustainable tourism and conservation.
2. Collect data and generate information for decision making in sustainable tourism
3. Raise awareness and promote sustainable tourism and transformative conservation.

The Laikipia Tourism Association supports social development programs by tourism providers as an indicator and measure of sustainability in the industry. Want to know more?? To become a member of the LTA, benefit from its services and access to information, or to find out more about sustainable tourism, contact LTA Secretary-John Kingori on cell: 0714797931 or email: john.kingori@laikipia.org,

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LWF Partners Profiled at the Mt. Kenya ASK Show!

LAikipia wildlife Forum

LWF was joined by Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) and Kenya Water Health Organization (KWAHO) as key Watershed Partners. Other partners included the Wetlands International Watershed Program, Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA), Laiconar, Irrico International, Ngusishi WRUA, Nyahururu WRUA and Laikipia Youth group supported by KWAHO.

As Watershed Program implementers, MKEWP showcased its impact on water resource management (WRM) with communities, through Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs). The Partnership was buttressed by Ngusishi WRUA – who displayed how common intakes are used in rivers for sustainable distribution of water to 16 community water projects along the River.

In line with the theme of the show “Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture,” the Partnership demonstrated Smart Water Agricultural through Irrico International – a company that displayed technology in agriculture.

Smart Water for Agriculture is supported by SNV through LWF and MKEWP under the Irrigated Agriculture Platform (IAP) and promotes sustainable use of water in Agriculture in Laikipia County.

Another partner, Laiconar-a policy and advocacy platform aimed at engaging public participation at the policy level showcased its community outreach programs and Green Africa. It also promoted its newest efforts aimed at the use of vertical and horizontal gardens in small-scale agriculture.

The show was also used as a membership drive for LWF, MKEWP and Laikipia Tourism Association – as the three partners met and spoke to potential members on the benefits of a shared vision using different tools and partnerships to realize a sustainable future for natural resources in the region.

The ASK Show gave different groups and partners a platform to showcase their activities and innovations, and provided a great platform for interaction.

The three-day event saw LWF stand take the second prize overall as “The Best Organization/Association In Community Service”. Our stand was one of the ten visited by the Chief Guest of the Show, Governor Nderitu Murithi, where he learned more about the effectiveness of partnerships in managing the natural resources of Laikipia.

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Laikipia Tourism Association – Registration & Membership Drive

Laikipia Tourism Association

Laikipia Tourism Association  (LTA)Secretary John Kingori speaks to attendees about LTA’s new membership during the Mt Kenya ASK Show.

The Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) is launching its membership drive in a move that will see the association bring together more than 100 tourism service providers.

Everyone’s invited – Hoteliers, tour operators and travel agents, first food outlets, coffee shops and restaurants, souvenir and gift shops, homestays and Airbnb operators, lodges, campsites, wildlife conservancies and other destinations……You are legible to join the LTA membership!

The association represents the Laikipia tourism industry at County, national and regional levels on matters impacting tourism. It’s LTA’s intention to ensure Laikipia is recognized as the most diversified, sustainable tourism destination in East Africa.

Through the membership, service providers will enjoy an array of benefits that include influencing the government to have fair and appropriate business permits, licenses, and taxation. This is consistent with LTA’s support of the “single business permit”.

Members of LTA will also have access to tools and technology that support sustainable tourism in the County/Country, and access to a skilled labour pool to enhance efficient service delivery. In addition, the association will negotiate financial benefits like insurance, inter-county rates, and destination incentives, among others benefits.

While the membership is voluntary, all tourism service providers in Laikipia and is surrounds that comply with the law and possess a valid business permit are welcome to subscribe.

The one-off registration fee is KSH 5,000 and with an annual (2018) membership fee of the same.

For registration and more details on LTA, contact John King’ori (LTA Secretary): john.kingori@laikipia.org, +254 714 797931.

Laikipia Tourism Association is supported by the secretariat of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum. The LTA is one of 7 other associations in Laikipia supported by the LWF.

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Conservation Progress in Mukogodo Forest

Disney ProjectThomas Sakui Lekurruki Rangeland Coordinator presents wet season grazing plan for Lekkuruki Conservancy to the workshop attendants from Makurian, Il Ngwesi and Lekurruki.

Conservation and the protection of life and livelihoods took steps forward over the last month.

A workshop at Loragai Community Forest Association (CFA) Offices in the beginning of May discussed the progress on the Disney funded activities.

The meeting brought together the area chief, grazing committees, group ranch representatives, and the rangeland coordinators of 3 group ranches (Makurian, Lekurruki and IL Ngwesi) All are are beneficiaries of the first phase of the Disney funded project.  The workshop showed progress in the implementation of Disney Project -and illustrates a growing capacity of Il Mamusi CFA and participating conservancies to reduce Human-Elephant Conflict and Human-Wildlife Conflict in and around Mukogodo forest

Also present were representatives from Borana Conservancy, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF).

Rangeland coordinators have spent the month organizing meetings with community members in their group ranches on grazing plans and raising awareness on Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC). As a result of the meetings, grazing committees have been revived in these three group ranches as part of grazing land management and restoration.

The rangeland coordinators gave an update on the progress of individual group ranches:

Makurian Group Ranch

Community members in Makurian Group ranch have selected farms that will be fenced using a solar-powered electric fence to enable them to practice subsistence agriculture during the rainy season. The fence is designed to protect agriculture and people from elephants in particular.

The tendering process to procure a qualified fencing company was also completed, and Wisdom Agritechnic was awarded the tender based on criteria developed by members of the Disney Grant project steering committee.

The fencing work on the ground is expected to start in June and will take a period of 1 month. Labour will be provided by community members and an elected fencing committee will manage and monitor fence installation and management.

Lekurruki

In a meeting held in March, Lekurruki proposed to develop and protect Lontana spring to ensure that it continues to provide clean water to the community, livestock and wildlife.  In preparation, a spring protection survey was undertaken with support from Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) and Geodev Solutions. They carried out a feasibility study to develop the engineering designs, and bill of quantity for the proposed works.

Water samples were collected during field survey to determine the water quality and to advise on measures to improve it for better health.

The spring is an important water resource for communities living in Anandunguru plains, Mukogodo Forest, as it supplies domestic and livestock water.

The survey report is expected in early June 2018 and will serve to launch the set of construction activities in the Forest.

Il Ngwesi

Several community awareness meetings have been held in Il Ngwesi since February 2018. The meetings have led to successful revival of grazing committees and grazing plans during dry and rainy season.

The group ranches have pledged their full support to the Disney Funded project activities to ensure the success of the project.

In the next few weeks, IL MAMUSI CFA rangers will undergo wildlife monitoring training facilitated by LWF and NRT. The training will help them to collect elephant monitoring data to determine the results of these activities on human-elephant movements and conflict.

The Disney Conservation Project is administered by LWF and delivered by IL MAMUSI with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Kenya.

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The Opuntia Cactus Meets Its Match

Opuntia Workshop

John Kingori the director of environment Laikipia County addresses the workshop participants on the importance of collaborative efforts towards eradication of Opuntia

Opuntia species have been present in Laikipia for over 50 years. These species were initially introduced for ornamental and live fencing purposes. However, over the past 15 years, some of these species have spread and become aggressively invasive, covering hundreds of acres of land.

This spread has included invasion of conservation areas, rangelands and cultivation areas where it is responsible for a range of negative impacts that have not been systematically quantified.

A greater percentage of Opuntia stricta species presence within Laikipia County is recorded in Laikipia North particularly areas around Il Polei, Makurian, Morupusi Group Ranches, and Dol-Dol town.

To control the plant species, the Laikipia County government mobilized stakeholders to begin addressing this menace.

At a meeting on May 22, 2018 at Twala Cultural Manyatta, representatives from 10 group ranches in Naibunga, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Groots Kenya, Borana Conservancy, ICRAF, Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia Perma-Culture, Regional Centre for Mapping and Remote Sensing, Laikipia County Government, Northern Rangerlands Trust and Ol Jogi Conservancy met to discuss effective ways of controlling the spread of the invasive species.

The County Government brought these key stakeholders together following their previous involvement in control and eradication of Opuntia. These stakeholders were urged to develop a roadmap for tackling the menace.

Suggestions were tabled on how the species can be controlled:

  • Form an umbrella body that will focus on controlling invasive species
  • Map the species in the landscape
  • Sensitize schools in the affected areas
  • Have a biogas equipment within the group ranches that could use the plant as fuel.
  • Ask households to collect the plant and sell them for biogas production.

Following previous experiences by different stakeholders, the forum agreed that the nine stakeholders organizations present and chairperson of group ranches in Naibunga will form the steering committee to oversee the next steps and future engagement of the forum, including fundraising. The steering committee will consist of a “mechanical sub-committee” that will oversee the manual removal of Opuntia and “biological sub-committee” that will oversee biological control of the species.

The Steering Committee meeting is expected to hold its first meeting in June.

The meeting was supported financially by the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Groots Kenya, Mpala Research Centre and the Northern Rangerlands Trust.