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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.

 

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MKEWP Joins Partners, Reports 2017 Outputs during Watershed Workshop

Watershed Kenya

Watershed Partners go through the 2017 outputs. L-R: Lilian Nyaega-Wetlands International, Tabitha Gerrets-AKVO, Wesley Kipng’enoh- LWF/MKEWP, Stanely Kirimi- MKEWP Coordinator, Jacob Baraza- Cespad and Titus Wamae-Wetlands International

Laikipia Wildlife Forum and the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) participated in the Watershed Outcomes Interpretation Workshop held in Machakos on the 7th and 8th May.

The purpose of the two-day workshop was to analyse the 2017 results of the Watershed Partners and their impact in creating social change.

The workshop brought together the Global Watershed team and partners – MKEWP, the Centre for Social Planning and Administrative Development (CESPAD), Neighbours Initiative Alliance (NIA), Kenya Water & Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET), Wetlands International, and Kenya Water for Health Organisation (KWAHO) – This team is working on a national Watershed strategy and implementation plan in Kenya.

The partners discussed their annual results and gave their interpretation of how these were contributing to the overall outcomes expected on this Program.

Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) went through its four major Watershed results in 2017. These outputs were driven by the Partnership’s charter which describes three thematic areas: Water allocation and use management; water resource infrastructure development; and institutional strengthening.

The key actions and outputs of the MKEWP included:

  • Development of Water Sector Plans: By providing financial support, MKEWP facilitated meetings to bring together key players (WRUAs, WRA, County Ministry of Water) in the Nyeri, Laikipia and Meru Counties to discuss ten and five-year Water Plans for their future. The Water Sector Plans were incorporated in their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs).
  • MKEWP produced a simplified guide to the Water Act 2016 and disseminated the guide to water actors in the Upper Ewaso Basin. The Simplified Guide was approved by the former Minister of Water Hon Eugene Wamalwa and Governing Council of 2030 Water Resources Group.
  • The Partnership sourced financial resources from Wetlands International to develop a Water Allocation Plan for the Teleswani River. Through meetings facilitated by MKEWP, the Water Resource Authority (WRA) and citizens discussed and agreed on equitable allocation of water for their River.
  • Water Rationing Plan: MKEWP financed meetings for 20 Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) to discuss their new roles in Water Rationing Plan and co-financed the manpower needed for scouting and actual rationing. This was done in December 2017 in anticipation of the drought period. Thanks to this the WRUAs now manage their water resources independently during the dry season (without WRAs notices).

These results reported at the Watershed workshop are in line with MKEWP’s goal of ensuring that water resources are managed for sustainable, equitable, social and economic development in the Ewaso Basin.

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Laikipia Tourism Association to Launch Membership Drive

 

Laikipia Tourism Industry’s growth and vibrance will be enhanced in one voice through the membership  Photo:Courtesy

The Laikipia Tourism Industry is currently undergoing a significant reestablishment to regain its brand and competitiveness in the country and internationally. These efforts are led by the partnership between the Kenya Tourism Board, the County Government of Laikipia, and the Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA).

The LTA was formed last year to represent the interests of the private sector tourism stakeholders, work with County and National governments, and to lead sustainable tourism models in the nation.

The Association has been keen on advocacy on matters affecting tourism in the landscape, lobbying for incentives from county and national government, as well as from industry regulators.

In its dedication to ensure an all-embracing platform, the Laikipia Tourism Association is launching a membership drive in May.

Membership is expected to yield a more inclusive tourism private sector with the ability to establish a common tourism development agenda for the Region. The LTA is also an advocacy body that will help promote industry growth through collaborative efforts by all stakeholders.

The Association is governed by an executive committee sourced from all fields of tourism in the County. They are served by a secretariat supported and housed by the Laikipia Wildlife Forum.

LTA’s overall purpose is to bring together all tourism operators/destinations in Laikipia together for increased collaboration and to influence the direction and contributions of this sector in count, landscape and land use development and management.

All tourism players in Laikipia are invited to subscribe as members as from 7th May, 2018.

Online registration will also be available. Membership is only be KSH 5000 per participating business. More than 130 registered tourism business will be encouraged to join. A benefits package will go out with the membership drive.

 

Join a SUSTAINABLY oriented movement and be part of the tourism industry leadership transformation

For more information Contact:

John kingori (LTA Secretary): john.kingori@laikipia.org or

Ruth Maingi (Deputy Chairperson of the Executive Committee): ruth@travelshoppe.co.ke

 

 

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MKEWP Presents Strategic Plan To 2030 Water Resources Group Governing Council

2030 Water Resources Group

Stakeholders pose for a group photo after 2030 Water Resources Group Council Meeting held on the 11th April 2018 in Nairobi        Photo: Courtesy/Ministry of Water and Sanitation

The Water Partnership (MKEWP) presented its 5-year Strategic Plan and Financial Sustainability Plan (FSP) to the national 2030 Water Resources Group Kenya (2030 WRG) during its governing council meeting held in Nairobi on April 11th, 2018.

The Partnership took the council through its five strategic objectives to address the long term water-related needs, challenges, and risks for basin development and management in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Water Basin.

The Partnership was commended for its efforts to deliver a Financial Sustainability Plan that provides a road map for fundraising, financial management, and income generation.

MKEWP’s partner,Rural Focus, showcased the Water Partnership as a success story that could be replicated in the other water basins of Kenya. Rural Focus had just completed a national study benchmarking water partnerships.

The success of the MKEWP was also voiced by Board’s co-chair, Cabinet Secretary for Water and Sanitation, Mr. Simon Chelugui, and BIDCO CEO, Mr. Vimal Shah. They encouraged establishment of more partnerships that use the MKEWP model.

The WRG 2030 Kenya Board represents a unique public-private-civil society collaboration that facilitates dialogue to drive action on water resources reform in water stressed countries in developing economies. The Kenya Group is one of 12 groups supported by the World Bank internationally.

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MKEWP joins Inaugural Laikipia Water Conference

Laikipia Water Conference

Momboko Women Group from Likii in Laikipia join MKEWP team at their stand during the Inagural Laikipia Water Conference on the 17th March 2018

 Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) exhibited at the Inaugural Laikipia Water Conference held on 17th and 18th May at the Nanyuki Sports Club.

Over the two-day conference, MKEWP showcased their 5-year Strategic Plan, and “Guide to the Water Act 2016”, a simplified version of the 2016 Kenya Water Act.

The Guide was created to sensitize communities on the relatively new Water Act. Over 200 copies were given out along with Partnership’s fact sheets.

At the MKEWP stand, attendees were informed about the Partnership’s collective actions with member in integrated water resource management, since its inception in 2016

The Partnership was joined by collaborators and members who showcased innovative water management and conservation solutions. Notably, these include:  SunCulture, Ngusishi Water Resource User Association, Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL Development (CETRAD) and Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Societies Network (KEWASNET).

Stanley Kirimi, the Partnership Coordinator, represented MKEWP during the conferences breakout sessions on community sensitization and water harvesting The Inaugural Laikipia Water Conference 2018 was conducted to bring together stakeholders, the private sector investors and donors to discuss issues that are currently facing the water sector. The conference also provided a platform to create awareness on the water crisis in Laikipia and discussed the mechanisms that would promote sustainability in the water sector.

In a bid to alleviate water shortages in the County, the national government also pledged to support the construction of the Ksh 15 Billion Kahurura Dam, with completion expected in 2022. This dam will serve the growing population of Nanyuki where the population is expected to reach 750,000- 1M people by 2025.

The MKEWP membership now stands at more than 100 local organizations, businesses, and representatives.

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Demarcation for the Solar-powered Fence in Mukogodo – a Step Closer to Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict

Disney Project Demarcation

Community members demarcating solar-powered fence in Arjiju village in an effort to mitigate Human-Elephant Conflicts.

Community members in Arjiju Village, in Mukogodo forest, met to discuss the fencing of a 2.75 Km2 area. They were joined by Laikipia Wildlife (LWF), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Borana Conservancy who are partners in the implementation of the ILMAMUSI Disney Conservation funded project.

The ILMAMUSI Disney Conservation Fund Project, implemented through Laikipia Wildlife Forum, seeks to reduce the occurrence of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in the Mukogodo landscape.

During the meeting, KWS Officer however acknowledged cooperation from the Mukogodo community citing peaceful co-existence with wildlife despite challenges as result of competition for scarce resources.

Once the fence is up, the community will be able to farm and harvest their crops as the solar powered fence will deter the elephants from entering their crops.

The Arjiju community pledged their commitment to the completion and maintenance of the solar-powered fence and elected a 7 member fence committee which will oversee the implementation of the fence project led by a Fence Committee Chairman Mr.Nicholas Ole Kodei. Fence designs are aided by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Strengthening the grazing committees in Il Ngwesi, Lekurruki and Makurian group ranches

In April, Several community meetings were also held in Il Ngwesi and Makurian group ranches with grazing committee elections conducted at Il Ngwesi group ranch as part of the implementation of Disney Conservation Fund Project.

The grazing committees oversee the implementation of grazing plans within the group ranches to prevent overgrazing and conflicts over grazing areas.

Implementation of these targeted project activities is ongoing in the group ranches with the community members and leaders working actively with ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association (CFA) to ensure the success of the grazing plans. Grazing land management and restoration are seen as key to a healthy landscape. Healthy landscapes support better wildlife management, and can reduce the amount of conflict between people, livestock and wildlife over resources.

Northern Rangers Trust (NRT) rangeland coordinator has also been working closely with the ILMAMUSI CFA project manager to create awareness on the mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflicts and grazing land management.

All aspects of this Project are dependent on the future security of the area. Recent insecurity, cattle thefts, and intimidation continue to plague the area, making it challenging to secure livelihoods and the Mukogodo Water Tower.

The Disney Conservation Project is delivered to LWF and Il Mamusi through the Wildlife Conservation Society in Kenya.

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KWCA, Conservancies and Conservation

KWCA Logo

There are 160 conservancies now registered with KWCA in the country. They cover 11% of Kenya’s land mass or about 6.36 million acres. There are 12 conservancies registered with the KWCA in Laikipia – Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi, Loisaba, Sosian, Lewa/Borana, Ngare Ndare, Il Ngwesi, Naibunga, Lekkuruki, Mugie and Sangare.

76 of the registered communities are on community land, and 58 are on private lands. 72% of Kenya’s population of Southern White Rhinos and 45% of Kenya’s Black rhinos are found in these conservancies and 90% of the world’s population of Grevy’s Zebras.

KWCA is a vital organization – giving voice to the conservancy movement and credibility to the future of conservation outside of parks and reserves. But the conservancies are conservancies in name only. The regulation implementing conservation as a land use, and embracing it in law, is still pending. You can read the latest version of the DRAFT regulation here:

Just how many of these conservancies are ready to take on the weighty set of responsibilities enshrined in this regulation? Here’s what all land (private and community) dedicated to wildlife conservation must provide to the Government in order to register:

(1) Concept proposal made by the applicant;
(2) Size of land and land ownership;
(3) Ecological viability, currently or potential;
(4) National land-use plans and county spatial plans;
(5) Proposed governance and benefit sharing plans
(6) Socio-economic viability;
(7) Assessment and inventory of biodiversity contained therein; and
(8) contiguous land use patterns and their effect on the proposed conservation plan of the conservancy

Upon submission of your application to KWS, (accompanied by a fee) you will receive a certificate of registration. The Certificate of Registration is renewable every 10 years, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. KWS will also maintain the registry of conservancies.

Within 3 years of registration, you will be required to submit a Management Plan for the territory. You must also submit an annual progress report on core activities. This must include the number ranks and identify of wildlife scouts, incidents of human wildlife conflict, and any incidents that have a “serious” bearing on conservation.

The County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees in each County where conservancies occur (28 of them) are responsible for monitoring the conservancies in each county. Their additional tasks include mediation and arbitration of disputes, oversee the preparation of management AND implementation of management plans, and carry out other duties as assigned by the KWS.

To date, there is still not evidence of clear, substantive incentives and/or benefits for establishment of your land as a conservancy.

Are we ALL ready for this?

What does the Death of Sudan Mean for Laikipia?

Sudan, the last male Northern white rhino

Sudan with his caregiver at the Sanctuary in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia.  Photo: Courtesy/Ol Pejeta Conservancy

This March, the wildlife conservation community and the world mourned the death of 45-year-old Sudan, the last known male Northern White Rhino on earth. In his last days, he suffered a great deal due to age-related complications that had led to degenerative changes in his body.

What does his life and his subsequent death in Laikipia forebode? Is Laikipia destined to become a graveyard for rare and endangered species? Is this where the world’s “last” and “remaining” come to live out their lives?

Sudan’s death has focused the world’s attention on the plight of endangered species – and more specifically on the role that the greater Laikipia landscape plays in wildlife conservation. With 70% of Kenya’s wildlife lost over the last 30 years, and 65% of that remaining wildlife living outside of national parks and reserves, perhaps it’s time to turn our mourning into action on private lands – individual and community.

The wildlife populations in Laikipia are already legend in Kenya. Our wildlife population has largely been maintained over the last 30 years. Several species are at risk, and our biodiversity challenged, but in large part, our wildlife numbers are robust.

Let’s work to keep the greater Laikipia area the best landscape for wildlife conservation, livelihoods and productive land use in the Country.

What could be a more fitting tribute than this to the memory of Sudan?

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Disney Has a New Feature Project in the Mukogodo!

Disney Project

Makurian group ranch met and discussed the restoration of grazing plans and designation of secure grazing areas

Community members from the Makurian, Il Ngwesi and Sieku group ranches, with support from Laikipia Wildlife Forum, held independent meetings in March. The purpose of the meetings was to introduce the Disney Project funding that supports the reduction of Human-Elephant Conflict in the area of the Mukogodo Forest.

The Disney Project puts rangelands improvement, spring protection and settlement protection at the top of the list of actions.

Restoration Of Grazing Plans and Rangeland Management in three Group Rances – Markurian, Il Ngwesi and Sieku Group Ranches

Rangeland rehabilitation will include the reorganization of group ranch grazing committees; community awareness forums on Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC); improved herding practices; the formation of grazing plans in select areas, and designation of secure grazing areas.

A reward based system, in collaboration with Borana Conservancy, will be developed for the best performing group ranch (including improved access to markets and veterinary support).

The Disney Project was welcomed as an additional form of support in managing existing resources, which support livestock as the main source of livelihood for communities living in the group ranch.

The Chairman for grazing management committee at Il Ngwesi, Mr Maisulia Kiyaa, acknowledged the vibrant committee at the Il Ngwesi Conservancy that would steer the project, but noted with concern the glaring challenges where the Mukogodo forest has been invaded for cultivation.

The meeting at Sieku (Lekurruki) brought to light the challenges that hinder the effective performance of the grazing committee including the invasion of the forests by pastoralists from neighbouring counties,who are not subject to the grazing plans.

However, having successfully defended some grazing areas within the Lekurruki Conservancy with help of rangers, there was optimism that more could be achieved working under the umbrella leadership of ILMAMUSI CFA.

MKEWP Updates

Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) Council adopts its Financial Sustainability Plan (FSP)

Mount kenya Ewaso Water Partnership

The Council of Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) take a group photo after the Council Meeting on 13th March 2018

 

In a meeting held on the 13th of March 2018, the MKEWP Council unanimously agreed to pass the FSP which is key to the implementation of the Partnership’s strategic plan over the next five years.

The adoption of the Financial Sustainability Plan will:

  • Allow MKEWP to start membership recruitment
  • Implement additional fundraising and resource mobilization.
  • Provide a mechanism for implementation of the 5-year MKEWP Strategy.

In the meeting, the Council also nominated a five Member Executive Committee that includes:

The Chair of The Council, Mr Maina , Mr Timothy Mutie from Water Resource Authority; Mr Mike Thomas- Rural Focus; Ms Eddah Adero, from CETRAD, and Mr Murithi Muthuri the Chairman of  Ngusishi WRUA.

The key roles of the executive committee will be to work with the MKEWP secretariat and provide oversight and support of its activities.

Finally, Stanley Kirimi, MKEWP Coordinator, was appointed to Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) board as a representative of the MKWP Council. The new Laikipia Wildlife Forum Board is expected to form later this year and will represent at least 8 different organizations in the Greater Laikipia Landscape, including MKEWP.

MKEWP’s Water Field Trip challenges farmers

MKEWP water Field Trip

The Water Field Trip brought together the Mount Kenya Trust, MKEWP and farmers who are also members of Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) and Self Help Groups in Laikipia and Meru Counties. It showcased best water management practices by innovators in the Mt. Kenya area.

Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) organised a Water Field Trip on the 9th March as part of the ten-day programme of the Mount Kenya Trust Festival.

The trip showcased best water management practices by innovators in the Mt. Kenya area.

It brought together the Mount Kenya Trust, MKEWP and farmers who are also members of Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) and Self Help Groups in Laikipia and Meru Counties.

The farmers had a chance to visit MOOF Africa Farm, where they taught about organic farming and alternative high-value crops that require little water. For example, they were encouraged to grow Geranium, a commercial herb cultivated for essential oils that utilize small amounts of water as compared to other crops grown in Laikipia.

The second visit of the day was to the Lolomarik Farm in Timau, where the group learned about collaboration between a big commercial farm and a local WRUA (Ngusishi).  They were also taken through the proper use of harvested water on rose farming and alternative water sources that could minimize abstraction from rivers.

Lolomarik Farm has taken advantage of its greenhouses, harvesting rainwater, which is channelled to water reservoirs. The farm has also drilled boreholes to diversify its sources of water.

The group was also taken through process of recycling used water using wetlands to produce water for farming.

The last visit of the day was to a small-scale farmer- Mr and Mrs. Patrick Maina, in Nturukuma, where the group learned about water harvesting and efficient water use. Mr and Mrs. Maina, who is recognized as a water champion, has perfected water harvesting and collects rainwater from his home in a 1.8 million litre water reservoir.

He uses modern water technology like drip and moist irrigation to minimise water use.

The Water Field Trip was a big success as MKEWPs coordinator challenged farmers to adopt simple but effective water conservation and management methods in their households and in their user groups, especially in regards to water collection and storage.

Special Commendation to Conservation Heroes

On the final day of the Mount Kenya Trust Festival, two women from Nanyuki were recognized for their efforts in water management and conservation.

The partnership gave Mary Mukami of Nanyuki WRUA special commendation for her role in water conservation; while Charity Wamaitha Maina of Likii WRUA was recognized as a Water Conservation Hero.

Likii Wrua in River Clean Up

River Likii Laikipia

Locals take part in Likii River clean-up exercise organised by Likii WRUA on the 8th of March 2018

On the 8th of March 2018, the Mount Kenya Ewaso Partnership (MKEWP) participated in clean-up exercise of Likii River organised by Likii Water Resource User Group (WRUA).

The partnership together with Water Resource Authority (WRA), Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), joined the efforts of residents living along the river.

The effort cleaned up a 3 km stretch of the River between the bridge on the main road to the confluence with the Nanyuki River.

Fauna and Flora International eager for more partnerships

This March, Fauna and Flora International (FFI) met with stakeholders in Laikipia County in its eagerness to consolidate partnerships in the implementation of its project in Mutara and Suguroi.

In the meeting, FFI took the stakeholders through baseline survey results that will be used to enhance resilience in Laikipia County. This was an outcome of household surveys held in December 2017 to establish current water accessibility and demand by WRUA members.

Together with the partners, FFI met with WRUAS at Mutara and Sugoi ,where they held discussions on how to sustain river flows in the area during dry seasons.

This is part of FFI’s strategy of ensuring that natural resources across the Laikipia Plateau are conserved and used sustainably.

Laikipia Cattle,Water and Wildlife Project is funded by the Darwin Initiative through UK Government funding.

The project is implemented with partnership of FFI, LWF and Ol Pejeta Conservancy.